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Rock Against Racism, Northern Carnival, 1978 | Thomas Blower

British Culture Archive | April 21st, 2021.

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.

Friends in Moss Side, 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 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 Against The Nazis Poster, 1978.

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.

Thomas Blower | Rock Against Racism Gallery

Print Sales

A selection of Thomas’s prints are available exclusively from The British Culture Archive online shop. 

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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