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Rebel Soul: Interview: Politics of the Party

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A new one-day festival aiming to marry music and political activism is coming to Sheffield in January. Described as "politics thinly veiled as entertainment", Rebel Soul started life at Shambala Festival, where it quickly became an annual fixture.

"Politics and campaigning doesn't need to be boring," organiser Jack Howe told Now Then. "We know how to have a good party as well. That is as important as the workshops as it's where the connections get made."

The daytime part of the event, which is free, will feature sessions led by renters' unions, anti-fracking campaign Reclaim The Power and a captain from Sea-Watch, who rescue migrant boats in the Mediterranean.

There'll also be a session designed for local campaigns to network and share knowledge.

Politics and campaigning doesn't need to be boring

"Equaliser are a collective from Leeds who do workshops with women, non-binary and trans people, teaching DJ skills," said Howe. "They're running a free workshop during the day and then they'll be playing eclectic electronic music for a couple of hours."

After the workshops there'll be veggie and vegan friendly food available, followed by bands and DJs until 6am. Tickets for the night-time are £8.10 via Party For The People or £11.10 with a donation.

I asked what we could expect from the line-up. "The King Driscolls are a folk band from East Anglia, and they sing beautiful songs about land rights and rural living," said Howe. "Then there's Ganglions, a poppy guitar band from Sheffield who are quite mathy and interesting."

Dream Nails, a four-piece from London who describe themselves as "feminist punk witches", headline the night. "They're an all-female indie punk band who played for us this year at Shambala," Howe said. "They're great."

As well as Equaliser Collective, the early hours will also feature a set from Barang! resident Howe under his Nimble Jack alias. "I'll get a little more serious and it'll end with some techno. Not like horrible techno - nice techno."

Rebel Soul takes place at DINA on 26 January. Tickets are available via Party For The People.

Sam Gregory

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