Following the success of the previous TUC rallies in Hyde Park, I was asked by the organisation’s events team to arrange three artists to perform on their stage near Marble Arch this afternoon during their latest major central London event. This was to be the climax to a march in which thousands of people walked from Embankment to the Park demanding the government establish a ‘New deal for working people.’
The Musicians’ Union had invited members to join its contingent in the march at ‘Zone 12’ near Temple Place, where Campaigns & Social Media Official Maddy Radcliff and Online Communications Officer Autumn Sharkey, would set off around midday.
The march was scheduled to pass through the West End to the rally in the Park, where speakers – including Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn – and bands sponsored by the MU, would be on stage after 1pm.
I had booked Janette Mason’s Red Alert, ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock and soul/gospel vocalist Melissa James to represent the Union and to entertain the crowd in-between the impassioned series of speakers.
Having arrived at the Park mid-morning, and having accounted for parking and instrument delivery issues, I joined the acts as they sound checked with the excellent stage team and sound engineers, before awaiting the arrival of the marchers.
The downside of the day was the disappointing weather, as the earlier blue skies turned to grey and rain fell steadily for much of the afternoon. Whilst making conditions less enjoyable, it didn’t dampened the spirits of all involved and great credit should go to the marchers who, once all in the Park, cheered and encouraged all the stage performers from start to finish.
It was great to meet up with numerous familiar faces in the backstage area, including Labour Party workers Marsha Jane Thompson and the TUC’s Matt Dykes. Also on hand and offering support throughout the day, were Mark Batchelor, our official snapper Ben Broomfield, plus my nephew Stephen and his daughter Rebecca, an apprentice photographer.
My thanks go to the TUC events team, the helpful security staff and everyone on site who worked to make the day a truly memorable experience.