Friday, 18 June 2010

Activism - Big Takeover

"BTO is a monthlyish happening for live independent/DIY music. All the gigs have the following in common: mixed genre bills, a minimum of four bands, entry money donated to a different benefit cause each month. No traditional venue/bar/exclusionary spaces, all ages welcome.

Started in July 2009, the idea for Big Takeover was to take all the best UK DIY bands of any style, plus the most exciting touring bands, and do something that didn’t involve arguing with a grouchy pub landlord or a patronising soundguy, on the concept that experimental music could well use a more ‘experimental’ setting.

The bands get paid well as a result of the popularity of the gigs, but only their expenses and travel costs (anything is kind of vain, this isn’t a stepping stone) and all other door money now goes towards a carousel of local (to the area that the gig happens in) charities or benefit causes. This is with the aim of reestablishing the link between DIY/independent music and the many wider social justice projects going on that people might not know about.

The science bit: Inspired by the idea of the Temporary Autonomous Zone, and witnessing that exclusionary spaces all too often create exclusionary experiences, it became clear after 4 years doing regular gigs in other towns that London is a special case, and lacks something in this department – people working towards the same ideas are divided / fractured to all hell. With genuinely mixed bills theres something for everyone and you’d make a brilliant party with all kinds of people, raising awareness of/money for various causes. It’s not a new idea at all, benefits happen all the time, but are usually limited to one style. It’s been successful so far. So far BTOs have happened in Railway Arches, disused office buildings and social centres. As it gets warmer this’ll hopefully get more adventurous!"

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