Rock Against Racism. Northern Carnival, 1978 | Thomas Blower.

British Culture Archive

Thomas Blower is a documentary photographer from Manchester, UK. Thomas captured inner city Manchester in the 1970s-80s and still continues to document the changing face of the city today.

Moss Side Girls, 1978.
Moss Side Girls, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.

Carnival Against The Nazis

Back in 1978 Thomas attended Northern Carnival against the Nazis in the city’s Alexandra Park. The Carnival was conceived  by Rock Against Racisms Bernie Wilcox and Geoff Brown of the Anti-Nazi League (ANL). Bernie and Geoff had been amongst the thousands of Manchester-based anti-racists who travelled to the first ‘Carnival against the Nazis’ in London’s Victoria Park, co-organised by RAR and the ANL and headlined by The Clash. It was on the train journey back home that Brown and Wilcox decided Manchester needed to put on its own carnival to join the fight against racism and the rise of the far right and National Front.

One Big Party

The Northern Carnival featured performances from X-O-Dus, Buzzcocks, China Street and Steel Pulse. Prior to the bands performing, 15,000 protestors marched from Strangeways (where it was believed the National Front had infiltrated the staff) to Alexandra Park. During the march a number of reggae, punk and steel bands played on the back of lorries creating the carnival atmosphere that would spill into the park later in the afternoon.

Northern Carnival Poster, 1978
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival Poster, 1978. Photo © British Culture Archive.

Thomas “The gig itself was great. There was no violence, no antagonism, it was just one big party with thousands of people in attendance. People were drinking and smoking a bit of this and that. It was fantastic. I was big reggae fan, but I didn’t dance that often, but when Steel Pulse came on you couldn’t help but dance”.

Prior to our feature on Thomas’s work the images below were unseen for over 40 years.

Gallery

Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Punk Girl. RAR Northern Carnival, 1978.
Punk Girl. Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.
Punks at Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978.
Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival. Alexandra Park, Manchester, 1978. Photo © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive.

All Photos © Thomas Blower / British Culture Archive. No usage or reproduction of any type may be made without obtaining prior written permission.

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