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The spirit of Joe Strummer rocks Glasto!

09 July 2004

This year, we were invited to bring something very special to Glastonbury - a whole night of live music, on the Left Field stage, dedicated to Joe Strummer and his legacy, courtesy of some of his friends, Clash bandmates and contemporaries.

VF brings you Strummerville @ Left field

Please click on a photo to enlarge it...

Glastonbury's Left Field ethos is to provide a platform for others to speak out on issues that they feel passionately about. Typically this might be the fight against fascism, the championing of workers' rights or tackling global injustice. But perhaps Left Field's biggest weapon is the way that it embraces music as a means of attracting new audiences to its debates, and so when Virtual Festivals were invited to host the stage for an evening it was only natural that the cause that we chose to fly the flag for was not an overtly political one, but Strummerville - The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music.

Joe's influence on the last thirty years of music is immense, and the respect that he generated through his down-to-earth attitudes and outspoken support of worthy causes means that his untimely death should be no obstacle to his being able to continue to contribute an enormous amount to the development of new musical talent around the world.

The vehicle for this to happen is Strummerville - the charity that has been created by Joe's family and friends to take forward his vision of supporting emerging artists who are potentially blocked from promoting their abilities through simple lack of funds. The vision of Strummerville is to set up recording and rehearsal spaces around the world, and you can help start this vision turning into reality by voting for the Concrete Castle to win the current series of Restoration on BBC1. If the castle wins then it is hoped that it will become the Trust's flagship base.

And of course Joe Strummer was always intimately linked with the underbelly of Glastonbury culture. The fact that a memorial stone is laid for him in the Green Fields is hugely appropriate, and there are many, many people who have fond memories of campfire moments spent with Joe at Glastonbury's past. Anyone who has heard of the Future Forests campaign to get musicians to sponsor tree planting programmes as a means of becoming 'carbon neutral' may well know that this was a concept championed by Joe one festival night not so long ago.

But how do you go about putting together a line-up of bands and artists that could hope to represent the Strummerville cause and celebrate Joe's life? VF scratched our collective heads for all of 30 seconds before hitting on the perfect formula... a mixture of Joe's contemporaries, classic Glastonbury favourites and some great new emerging bands was the obvious solution - so who should they be?

When you think of The Clash and play punk word association, then the names of The Sex Pistols, The Alarm and The Stranglers will leap immediately to mind. A phone call to Mike Peters, a chat with Glen Matlock and a word with Hugh Cornwell later and the evening was already looking like dream-team. When Mick Jones offered the services of Carbon-Silicon (his new band with ex-Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Generation-X front-man, Tony James) then we knew that the night would fly on silver wings!

- Click here to discuss this on the Festival Forums!
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Article by: John Bownas

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