Today Bridgwater plugs into the world wide International Clash Day 2020. On Friday, February 7th, Seattle based radio station KEXP broadcasts Clash music and ideas to the world. And Bridgwater. The theme for 2020 is Climate Change. Cllr Brian Smedley, Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, said “This year for International Clash Day, our Seattle partners are linking up with a network of 94 of the world’s biggest cities, organized around a commitment to addressing climate change. The goal is to tap into the spirit of the Clash to reach, educate and motivate new audiences around climate action through musical programming, interviews and earned media. In the spirit of Joe Strummer, we are embracing the idea the “the future is unwritten,” and that, together, we can build people power and solidarity to write the future we want.”
Bridgwater joined the Clash Day movement in February 2016 when KEXP contacted Joe Strummer’s old Parish of Broomfield up on the Quantocks for a link up. However, they didn’t want to know and suggested Bridgwater instead. Cllr Smedley adds “This was a good choice as Strummer loved Bridgwater. Whenever you read one of these ‘worlds shittest towns’ guides and Bridgwater gets a mention, you can always quote back that ‘well Joe Strummer’ liked the place so much that he moved here’. And the truth is Strummer came down to see his first Carnival, the first 2 floats were playing Clash songs and he said ‘Hey this is a Clash town’. And thereafter it was his home.”
In 2002 Strummer played what was to be his last ever gig at the Palace Bridgwater with his band the Mescaleros. Brian Smedley, who also played bass that night in support band The Visitors, said “The money Strummer raised went to the foundation of the Engine Room which is a key part of Bridgwater’s Cultural Partnership and a powerful legacy for the guy to leave us. “ Joe Strummer died Christmas 2002 at home in Broomfield and a memorial tribute gig was held at the Bridgwater Labour Club shortly afterwards.
In 2016 the ‘Clash proclamation’ (found today on the wall of Bridgwater Town Hall) was signed and broadcast live through KEXP – and can be seen here on you tube. In 2017 and 2018 Cllr Smedley broadcast from Prague and then from Krakow live with Bridgwater College students and teachers, some with their own memories of punk rock.
Pointing to Seattle
Today on the new twinning signpost next to the Blake statue you can find ‘Seattle’ as a key element.
On Feb. 7th, KEXP will be broadcasting interviews with high-profile mayors and other leaders from communities around the world impacted by climate change. KEXP Presenter Ethan Raup says “As we speak to them, we will highlight the important and hopeful work they are doing in their communities to address climate-related challenges and build resiliency. As in past years, we will make those interviews available to our radio station partners for their own use. We will also make available a graphics package for partner use and will work to amplify the efforts of all of our partner organizations. Musicians and artists all around the world are confronting the climate crisis the way the Clash would if they were still making music. By focusing on the work of these artists, we’ll demonstrate the power of music and culture to shed light on conflict and oppression, and to unite us in the common effort against the existential threats presented by the climate crisis. We’ll be focusing on calls to action around connecting with local organizations and groups who are working to address climate change, because the solutions we seek already exist and are being championed within our own communities.”
Cllr Smedley adds “Here in Bridgwater we are at the forefront of this movement locally. We were the first town to announce a ban on Fracking and the first to set up a Climate Emergency Forum and the first to create the post of Climate Change Portfolio Holder, in the form of Cllr Li Gibson. This Saturday 8th February we are part of the Climate Emergency Drop in at Bridgwater House from 10-4 and we hope everyone will visit during the day and get involved.”
To find out more click here
To follow Clash Day on KEXP tune in here.