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Vice Notes Antivax Music Festival Coming to Sussex

From Vice:

As hordes of music fans descend on Glastonbury, hardcore COVID conspiracy theorists are preparing their own festival in the UK, with a lineup drawn exclusively from artists in the “truther” movement.

The three-day “Freedom Music Festival,” will be held in a field near Battle, Sussex, next month, with early-bird tickets selling for £99. The organisers, HOPE Sussex – a hybrid homeschooling and events hub for the COVID conspiracist movement – are billing the concert as a “red-pill event” featuring “performers that aren’t afraid to spread the truth and haven’t let any lure of fame and fortune bend their integrity.”

The event is being headlined by Danny Rampling, “a pioneering DJ in the UK rave scene”, and the main stage will be hosted by Right Said Fred, recently described by Mark Dolan of GB News as “pop icons”. Mark Devlin, “another well-known DJ in the UK dance scene”, is also involved, as well as “Jam for Freedom”, founded by Cambel McLaughlin.

The article states that it is being held “on the grounds of HOPE Sussex”; it appears that the group has relocated from Horsham over the border in West Sussex (1). The home education group was profiled in the Daily Mail in January, which noted that it was “being promoted by the paramilitary antivax group Alpha Men Assemble (AMA) as a way children can avoid ‘state indoctrination’.” The report (oddly only available on Pressreader but on the paper’s website) was an un-bylined spin-off from a longer article about AMA, which appeared a few days after Vice also covered the group.

Two HOPE Sussex tutors – Matt Single and Sadie Single – were previously in the news in 2008 after they were suspected of leaking the BNP’s membership list in defiance of data protection law; Matt was eventually fined, although charges against Sadie (at the time known as Sadie Graham) were dropped. According to the Mail, Sadie Single “has been pictured” with David Icke, whatever that means. Matt Single also made an appearence in the Evening Argus in December 2020 (described as “from Hailsham” rather than Horsham, presumably an error), when he was arrested while dressed as Santa Claus at a Save Our Rights UK anti-lockdown protest in London. (3) The Vice report incorporates a Tweet from Mohammed Shafiq that shows Sadie at a protest in September 2021.

One detail Vice overlooks is the involvement of the “newsroom cosplay” (3) conspiracy website UK Column, which over the years has endorsed various allegations including the Hampstead Satanic Ritual Abuse hoax. The UK Column logo appears prominently on flyers and at the head of a list of “collaborators” on the festival’s website, where a blurb announces that the site “is going to be broadcasting coverage of this Freedom Music Festival and exclusive interviews with it’s [sic] artists!”

Anyone signing up for the event is asked how they came to hear of it – the drop-down menu includes Alpha Men Assemble, “David Adleman – People’s Lawyer”, Ickonic Show (blogged here), Light Newspaper, Stand in the Park, UpRise and Shine Event, and UK Column Interview.

Notes

(1) The festival is advertised as being at “Upper Hook Field”, which is actually on the outskirts of the East Sussex village of Netherfield northwest of Battle. Last month HOPE used the same venue for an “UpRise & Shine” conference, and in August it will be hosting a New Agey “Spirit Fest” involving “the usual sacred music, dance, visionary art, healing circle, and the usual, fab food, kirtan, yoga, stalls, and children’s activities”.

(2) Larry O’Hara wrote about Sadie Graham/Single in Notes from the Borderland magazine during her BNP period (issue 5 [2003], p. 62 and issue 7 [2006], p. 32). He described her as having “surfaced in the mid-1990s hunt-sabbing and anarcho-punk scene” and as having worked for a Brighton law firm specialising in animal rights and briefly even the GANDALF case. Her BNP activism brought her some attention, but Larry noted an odd lack of media interest in her unusual history (including at Searchlight magazine). In 2008 it was claimed that “she was one half of an anti-Nick Griffin split last year”. Matt Single was expelled from the BNP in 2007; he told the Mail he had been “naive” to have joined in 2001, and they have both since repudiated the far right.

(3) H/T Hoaxtead for this apt characterisation.

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