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Rage Against the Machine celebrates its homecoming with musical acts and activism at L.A. Rising

By Steve Greene

Aug. 15, 2011 10:41 a.m.

There’s something special about a local band’s “homecoming,” especially when the atmosphere surrounding it is enhanced by a day-long festival. When that band is Rage Against the Machine, one can expect some Warped Tour holdovers, only with some added rhetoric and Gil Scott-Heron shirts to add to the Bob Marley merchandise and explicit critiques of the most recent Bush administration.

July 30 was L.A. Rising, Rage Against the Machine’s combination of a homecoming celebration and vehicle for revolutionary activism.

As part of the festival element of the day, the event featured more than 40 booths from various social justice organizations that are either based in Los Angeles or that affect the local population. In a move that set the tone for the heavy use of war metaphors throughout the rest of the day, this area was dubbed the Re-Education Camp, complete with white tents covered in camouflage netting.

The area had a steady stream of foot-traffic, regardless of whether fans came for a crash course in social activism or for the free poster that came with visiting 15 of the various booths.

Katie Hill, director of programming for People Assisting the Homeless, explained that Rage Against the Machine was not a group primarily concerned with performing.

“It’s not all about music,” Hill said. “It’s about fighting for change.”

Regardless of the audience’s reason for coming, the eclectic mix of musical acts helped to establish that tone. It was a day of making statements and making them loudly.

For those who missed the festival, check out other Spotlight posts to read reviews of the day’s acts.

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