Anyone who remember the infamous ‘Reclaim The Street’ protest/parties around Sydney in the late 90′s will know exactly what ‘Reclaim The Lanes’ is all about, for the poor people who missed the magic, here is an idea of what to expect;
Blocked streets, picnics on the sidewalk, children playing, push-bikes, skateboards & roller-skates, DJ’s, MC’s & live performers playing everything from Dub, Hip Hop, Funk to Psy-Trance. Best of all… colourful people interact and dancing on reclaimed public spaces in the name of …
So spread the luv & spread the word because this ones about the people!!
More info at the Facebook Event
Reclaim The Lanes, Free Street Festival In Newtown Sat Feb 13th
Anyone who remember the infamous ‘Reclaim The Street’ protest/parties around Sydney in the late 90′s will know exactly what ‘Reclaim The Lanes’ is all about, for the other poor people who missed the magic, here is an idea of what to expect;
Blocked streets, picnics on the sidewalk, children playing, pushbikes,skateboards & roller-skates, DJ’s, MC’s & live performers playing everything from Dub, Hip Hop, Funk to Psy Trance. & best of all colourful people interact and dancing on reclaimed public space.
Here is some clips to give you an idea of some of the magic.
Spread the luv & spread the word because this ones about the people!!
More info at the Facebook Event
More about ‘Recilaim The Streets’ movement:
Reclaim The Streets SPONTANEOUS STREET BANDE
What do we need more of in our towns? Why street music of course. All agreed then… but where is it?
This lot didn’t wait to be asked. Listen to this on the spot recording of an Italian style wind ‘Bande’ at Sydney’s first RECLAIM THE STREETS Street Party held on the first of November 1997 at Newtown, Sydney. This is a political projection of do-it-yourself.
In a historic display of people-power, thousands of local residents blockaded Enmore Rd. in Newtown to traffic with three huge bamboo tripods, erected a bizarre art-installation sound tower with a dj pumping out psychedelic dance music, built a permaculture garden in the middle of the road and had an all-day street party – dancing, playing street cricket, reading the weekend papers, and generally hanging out in a safe, tree friendly and car-free environment.
“Reclaim The Streets!”
Street music has been around since there has been anything approximating a street. There seem to be three main criteria for playing ‘music for masses, of the masses and by the masses’ on the streets.
1. Celebrate absolutely anything and get completely wrecked. e.g. all that Brazilian stuff.
2. Demonstrate alternative political and social values and get completely wrecked. e.g. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (especially earlier editions)
3. Confirm the status quo of the powerful and get completely wrecked. e.g. The Berlin Love Parade whereby 2 million young kids march around to loud techno music sponsored by McDonalds, Coca Cola and the German Government.
Just before the wind band got going with the music selected on this page, there was a wonderful display of spontaneous ‘clapping’ music at this demo in Sydney. Along with bashing stones together, this kind of activity must go back, in the mists of time, to the earliest notions of what we call music. The street bande is the acoustic expression of the generally poor and unpowerful against the rich and powerful – it’s that simple most of the time.
This is an internet extract from a country that really knows about street bande. Yes indeed, home to the biggest anarchist rallies ever seen, it’s Italy.
(enjoy the crazy automatic digital translation!)
‘The Band Complex “To Toscanini ” is been born in March of 1981 to Settecamini, in the Common one of Rome, a quarter situated on the way Tiburtina. And from the before moving apparition in public, happened in the night of Been born them of 1981, of road of it has been made. From the first successes obtained to the band gatherings in Rome, from S.Pietro Public square for the closing of extraordinary Saint Year (1988).
Between the episodes more meant you that they will remain impressi in the young history of the Band and in the heart of the strumentisti, it is from remembering the encounter with the President of the Italian Republic Sandro Pertini (Quirinale 7 February 1984), the audience that S.s. Pope John Paul II has granted to the Band, in knows it Nerves in Vatican, 20 January 1990, and finally the ” received Prize Sympathy ” in knows it of the Protomoteca in Campidoglio to Rome, to the presence of F.Rutelli Mayor, in the june 1999 and May 2000.
The young age of the strumentisti, the engagements of study of the same ones, the changes worked to you and of territory of the parents, the sacrifices legacies to the tests and the musical participations, the cumulus of the cultural interests and sportswomen and many others vary objective and subjective problems, involve continuous a reciprocation of the musical body and an onerous engagement for the members of the managing committee of the society, always ready to assure the continuity of this precious musical plan, that it enriches Settecamini culturally.
The Band Complex year after year is renewed; in these twenty years are pass to you, between spin of the Band, beyond 300 strumentisti, some of which have caught up professionally goals of high artistic value. Lead musically in this distance, from Masters Scafidi, Florio, Baldassarri and Graziano, for the past, and from the Artistic Director Main Eros Vasconi, coadiuvato from Masters Romaniello Michele and Liano Antonio for the present, let alone from the juvenile passion of Tawny the Antonini President in effective collaboration with the managing committee and the many parents who follow with love this interesting activity of the sons and with the fundamental support of the Parish of S.m. of the Olive tree that, accommodating from always the band body, of it has concurred the increase and still today the survival concurs some.
DIY Carnival: Reclaim the Streets Sydney Style
Posted on Sunday, November 14 @ 00:00:00 EST by Jodi Crome
by Sarah Nicholson
“Last Saturday afternoon, local collective Reclaim the Streets and a couple of thousand of their good friends blocked off traffic and hosted a techno dance party on five blocks of King Street south of Newtown railway station. The event kicked off with a traffic jamming walk from Victoria Park down the centre of Broadway and up the hill to Newtown where four stages were set up in the streets.” (Laanela 7)
“…heaps of people.. blocking off traffic.. music.. flags and banners..” “…couches, dj’s, bands, bikes, tricycles, scooters, dancing, fire twirling…” “It’s a party protest rally.”(Author interviews)
Semi-spontaneous, somewhat disorganised, Reclaim the Streets(RTS)’s celebratory uprising is street party as protest.
Evolving from the UK anti-roads movement, the first RTS collective formed in London in 1991. By May 1998, global RTS events, described as a “collision of love, rage, carnival and revolution, politics and party” (SchNEWS 168), were reported as occurring in thirty-seven cities across the world, in protest not just against car culture, but against the social and environmental costs of free market globalisation (SchNEWS 168). In Sydney RTS events began in November 1997, and from the first were firmly situated as part of a worldwide movement.
In RTS, the car is essentially used as a symbol to point to much broader oppressions. The main RTS website speaks of the development of car culture from historical and ideological perspectives. They posit that the proliferation of the automobile, originally conceived as a luxury good designed to give advantage to select individuals, has transformed urban landscapes and social spaces, with the power to bring cities to a halt. RTS proposes that the solution is not just comfortable mass transportation, but the creation of habitable cities sustained by the social fabric of the community: “…more urban leisure space… livable neighbourhoods…”(Author interviews).
In the essay “The Evolution of Reclaim the Streets”, the UK’s Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 is located as a key event which, in criminalising civil protest in the UK, was a motivational force which united the very groups, such as travellers, ravers, anti road activists and hunt saboteurs, that it sought to repress. It also worked to politicise the rave scene through locating raves in the context of public protests, with clauses of the act directed at open-air events featuring amplified music, “wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”. The organisation or attendance of such unlawful events in the UK became a punishable offence.
RTS acknowledges the historical trajectory, which connects the movement with popular festivals in the form of carnival and revolutionary uprisings. (Evolution). The carnival is community organised for its own participatory pleasure; the distinctions between observer and participant are undermined, the event taking place outside existing social institutions and happening on the street in real time. The carnival is pluralistic and diverse, accessible and excessive, exaggerating and parodying, inverting norms and challenging hierarchies.
In terms of the carnivals delight in the body, RTS does not disappoint. Seventeen RTS events, centered around a thumping sound-system, have occurred in Sydney to date. Doof, an RTS characteristic, is an onomatopoeic term describing “…the bass-driven kick drum .. of techno music.” (Strong in St John 72). The experience of Doof emphasises what Brecht termed jouissance or sensual pleasure. The event reverberates with the kinaestethic pleasures of dancing with others on the street, sparking “powerful, intense vibes” (Author interview) felt in a rush of adrenalin, joy, and empowerment. In RTS, dance acts as an embodied statement of resistance and release, a strategy of “…explicitly and deliberately [employing] feelings of unfettered pleasure in the service of an oppositional critique of global capitalism.” (Luckman in St John 207). In this sense, the jouissance generated at RTS is the epitomy of Hakim Bey’s theory of uprising as peak experience. These extra-ordinary “…moments of intensity give shape and meaning to the entirety of a life. The shaman returns — you can’t stay up on the roof forever — but things have changed, shifts and integrations have occurred — a difference is made” (Bey). These shifts, as Bey posits them, allow for fluidity and change within the social sphere, a notion which challenges Bakhtin’s seminal ideas on the carnival.
Carnival, it has been argued, is used by the prevailing order as a safety valve to regulate social pressure. The inversion of the acceptable is always bounded by a return to the acceptable. Thus carnival, as temporary release, is considered to dissipate the potential for real revolution, effectively containing the energy for change. (Stallybrass & White in Gelder & Thornton, 1997) But Bey, sees “the return” differently. Characterised as an uprising of awakening rather than conflict, Bey describes events such as RTS as Temporary Autonomous Zones: “…an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen before the State can crush it.” (Bey).
h An organiser from United System, producer of free festivals in the UK, commented that, “The whole point of festivals is that they are temporary autonomous zones… they are self organising… Nobody is told where to go or what to do, everybody just does their own bit, meaning that they are much more forceful as citizens.” (Brass & Koziell 89). This style of autonomous behaviour, described as DIY culture, emerged as part of a new aggressive environmentalism. The anti-capitalist DIY movement encompasses such issues such as land and civil rights, employment and sustainable practices. Its stated aims are to empower individual action, to engage with building community through networking, sharing of information, and gathering resources outside the usual parameters of profit orientation. (Brass & Koziell 8)
Reclaim the Streets advocacy of DIY as a tactic, reflects their “… belief in a society where people take responsibility for their own actions. It is about enabling people to unite as individuals with a common aim…Reclaim the Streets does not make demands on some one else, such as the government. We want direct action to be seen as the norm, the standard way to take action” (Moxham 8-9). RTS manifests as a loose sub-cultural inter-connected network working within broadly defined ideological boundaries, the unity of which is a resistance to the dominant order. As an event, DIY operates in practice, through participant action: “…people bring their carpet and their drums and bridge that gap between the performer and the participant… people create their own entertainment as well as be entertained”(Author interview).
Through bringing people together to celebrate and affirm an issue in a creative and positive manner, Reclaim the Streets moved away from street rallies which have the expression of anger as their primary method of expressing a desire for change. The carnivalesque DIY style of Reclaim the Streets in empowering people to act creatively and autonomously through collective non hierarchical process of creation can be seen as transmitting new modes of social and cultural production and is particularly significantly in terms of its evolution of traditional forms of protest.
Works Cited Bey, Hakim. The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Autonomedia., 1985.
Bollen, Johnathon. “Sexing the Dance at Sleaze Ball.” The Drama Review 40 (1996).
Brass, E., and Koziell, S Poklewski. “Gathering Force : DIY Culture.” The Big Issue Writers (1997).
Gelder, K., and S. Thornton, eds. The Subcultures Reader. London: Routledge, 1997.
Kershaw, B. The Politics of Performance. London; New York: Routledge, 1992.
Kirby, E. T. “The Shamanistic Origins of Popular Entertainments.” Ritual, Play and Performance. Seabury; New York: Schechner & Schumans, 1976.
Laanela, Mike. “Reclaimed- The Streets.”City Hub Sydney. 5 November 1998.
Leary, Timothy. Chaos and Cyberculture. California: Ronin Publishing, 1995.
McKay, George. DIY Culture : Party & Protest in Ninties Britain. London: Verso, 1998.
Moxham, Natalie. “Because Cars Can’t Dance.” Arena Victoria, 1995.
Ralston, Saul, John. The Unconscious Civilisation. Victoria: Penguin, 1997.
Schechner, R. Future of Ritual. London: Routledge, 1993.
schNEWS Issue 168. http://www.schews.org.uk>.
Skelton, K., and G. Valentine, eds. Cool Places: Geographies of Youth Culture. London; New York: Routledge, 1998.
St John, Graham. Free NRG: Notes from the Edge of the Dancefloor. Australia: Common Ground, 2001.
The Evolution of Reclaim the Streets. http://www.rts.gn.apc.org/evol.htm>.
White, Rob. Hassle Free Policing and the Creation of Community Space. Sydney: YAPA, 1997.
Author Interviews were conducted with participants at RTS, King Street, Sydney, 31st November 1998
Sarah Nicholson is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Ecology at the University of Western Sydney. Her honours thesis “Reclaiming the Streets of Sydney” examined the intersection of dance, protest, and subculture from the perspective of performance theory. She is also a published author, editor, and poet.
Check this full lenght documentary on RTS around the world:
Here is some clips to give you an idea of what to expect..