On June 10 we ran a stall as part of the ‘Village’ at Neil Young’s performance in Leeds. Neil Young’s tour is exploring environmental themes.
Malcolm Jack wrote in his Guardian review of June 6, “GM foods, corporate greed and America’s busted rural economy are clearly on Young’s mind at the moment” while acknowledging Neil Young’s track record: “The 70-year-old Canadian folk, country and rock icon was writing about the embattled natural world long before most people had even heard of their carbon footprint.”
Davin O’Dwyer made similar points in his review in the Irish Times on 8th June “Before Neil Young takes the stage for this sprawling performance, two ‘farmers’ sprinkle seeds across the stage, a bucolic scene that harkens back to a simpler era. And then Young appears at a piano and launches into the immortal opening notes of After the Gold Rush. ‘Look at Mother Nature on the run, in the 21st Century,’ he sings, reminding us how long he has been warning us about environmental degradation.
It’s clear the 70-year-old hasn’t lost any of that eco-warrior fervour – this Rebel Content tour is in support of last year’s anti-agribusiness concept album The Monsanto Years, and his recent ecologically-themed live release Earth.”
In keeping with this message, Neil Young’s team invited groups involved in campaigning and raising awareness on biodiversity, organic food, genetic modification and climate change to run stalls and engage with the public as they entered the arena.
We ran a stall that included Friends of the Earth materials on fracking (including the People’s Declaration Against Fracking), Campaign Against Climate Change fliers on ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ and the Government’s backtracking on climate, War on Want materials on the TTIP and CETA trade deals as well as Biofuelwatch fliers about Drax power station’s burning of coal and biomass. There was a lot of interest from the public – who were particularly keen to sign the petition against fracking- and we had many thought-provoking conversations over a two hour period.
Then we entered the auditorium and enjoyed a great gig!
Thank you to Neil Young’s team for inviting us to get involved. It was great to be associated with Neil Young who, in recent years, has joined protests against Tar Sands, supported the LEAP manifesto and performed the ‘Honor the Treaties’ tour to help the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s legal defence fund in their battle with governments and oil companies regarding the tar sands projects and oil exploration.
“Our grandchildren will be trying so hard to dig themselves out of the hole that we’re digging right now just to make a few bucks over the last few years of the fossil fuel age. We need to end the fossil fuel age and move into something better.” Neil Young