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The Legacy Continues

Five years since the death of Joe Strummer, and his memory continues to live on with a recent Billy Bragg interview on KCRW reminding us of this legendary artist and activist. In the interview Bragg says “the Clash taught me that music can change the world” and to honor his passing, Bragg wanted to do more than “just another benefit gig”, putting his energies behind an instruments for inmates charity called Jail Guitar Doors. Incidentally, the name of the charity is taken from the B-side of 1978 release "Clash City Rockers".

While Bragg’s initiative is definitely worthy, the majority of the work done in the name of Joe Strummer is by the organization Strummerville whose aim is to “create new opportunities for aspiring musicians”. Founded by Strummer’s friends and family, the group is known for a weekend long campfire and stage at Glastonbury in Joe’s honor. Incidentally, the stage has featured a good many “walk-up and play” slots as well as guest appearances from bands such as Dirty Pretty Things, and this year, Mystery Jets.

So what does this have to do with Fuji Rock you ask? Well, as many already know, the campfire at the Palace of Wonder is largely in Joe’s honor, and many of his long-time friends and Strummerville contributors can be found roaming about the area such as sculptor Joe Rush and Pockets, the one responsible for much of the foundation’s work. This year, Strummerville is reaching out to young Japanese bands, offering financial assistance to unsigned bands who have been invited to play on the Rookie-A-Go-Go stage. There is still hope that music might change the world yet.

//sean s.