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Black technical staff to protest at Johannesburg concert


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Black technical staff to protest at U2 concert

Hundreds of black technical staff have threatened to protest at a U2 concert in Johannesburg this weekend after accusing the show's organisers of racism.

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U2 perform in Cape Town in 2003 Photo: REX
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By Aislinn Laing 5:58PM GMT 10 Feb 2011

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A union representing stage crew and technicians claims that major concert promoters are turning "by default" to white-run production companies rather than giving young black talent a chance.

It has threatened to set up a picket line to raise the Irish superband's awareness of the issue at the backstage door of the FNB stadium near Soweto, which previously hosted the opening and closing matches of the World Cup.

Freddie Nyathela, chairman of the South African Roadies Association which represents more than 600 mainly-black sound and lighting production workers, said he was expecting 200 people to take part in Sunday's protest.

"It has been designed to highlight the injustice for black technical workers in our country and the fact that post-apartheid transformation of the industry has not moved forward quickly enough," he said.

"We feel that Bono would take our concerns seriously but that he has not had the chance to hear them."

Cape Town-based Big Concerts, the company producing U2's concerts in South Africa, declined to comment on the union's claims.

However, Ofer Lapid, the chief executive of Gearhouse Group, which has been contracted to supply backstage and technical facilities, insisted that 50 per cent of his staff were black.

U2's concert in Johannesburg will be the first time the band has played in South Africa since 1998. The band's second concert will be in Cape Town on February 18. 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/music-news/8316825/Black-technical-staff-to-protest-at-U2-concert.html

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Call me mental but is the stage crew and technicians not the same mob that do every u2 show??????

 

if not then cool if so then these guys are just playing the often used race card.....i'm gonna start using that soon oh and my "i'm straight" card as well.

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Call me mental but is the stage crew and technicians not the same mob that do every u2 show??????

 

if not then cool if so then these guys are just playing the often used race card.....i'm gonna start using that soon oh and my "i'm straight" card as well.

that is what I thought when i read this on twitter earlier today. The production and lighting crews are emplyed by the band and have worked with them for years and know what they are doing for the production and construction of this stage. I don't believe that it is a racist thing at all - they are just using their normal regular staff and I have no idea what colour they are!
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not being funny, but have these "black" crew members have any idea how the claw works? what if someone got killed say, what then? im sure insurance has been counted for, but did they expect? willie williams to say "oh go on then! would you like to set up the screen???"

 

i would rather put my trust in u2's crew here, if bono wants to employ some "black" people to carry some amps and things fine. but hey ho!

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I think what they're talking about is the local labor. Here, in the U.S., it would be the local union stagehands....very diverse! Not the U2 road crew itself...there's only about 50 members. Their crew is very diverse, and is a combination of techs from Clair Brothers and PRG Lighting Personnel. For the local crew, they usually have 200 for load in days, and 300 for the load out. This is actually a surprise, because some of their road crew are black. Specifically, one of them allocates the gear to certain parts of the Claw when the trucks are being unloaded. Usually, one or 2 of the U2 road crew will have a group of local stagehands to assist them building a part of the Claw. For example, the video screen was put together by 2 U2 crew members, assisted by 4 stagehands. The lighting around the stadium had to U2 crew members, and 10 stagehands. The construction of the stage had like 4 U2 crew members with about 20 stagehands. They had an audio systems tech, for each side of the Claw (the girl in charge of hanging the rear side is gorgeous, I might add!)... in charge of hanging the speakers. A crew of 5 stagehands per side. Same with the FOH area, headed by Joe Ravich, his assistant, and a crew of 8 stagehands. For load out, all of us are given a color-coded crew shirt, with our departments printed on the back...so it's well organized. Roger Waters does this too.

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U2 is like a magnet for this stuff :P

 

yeah totally

 

from the home page...

 

"This is simply not true, in fact in Johannesburg, 97% of the crew are black, and in Cape Town, 100% of the local crew are black." 

 

I think its the white's that are protesting! laugh.gif  ...its so racist!!!!!!!!

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U2 is like a magnet for this stuff :P
yeah totally

 

from the homepage...

 

"This is simply not true, in fact in Johannesburg, 97% of the crew are black, and in Cape Town, 100% of the local crew are black."

 

I think its the whites that are protesting!laugh.gif its so racist!!!!!!!! might join in myself!tongue.gif

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U2 denies racism charge ahead of South Africa gig

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U2's Bono (right) and guitarist The Edge in concert at Croke Park, Dublin

By Luke Byrne

 

Friday February 11 2011

U2 MANAGER Paul McGuinness last night stepped in to try to defuse a row over racism which is threatening to overshadow the band's upcoming gigs in South Africa.

U2 are playing two gigs in the former apartheid country in the next week, the first time they've played there since 1998. But in an unwelcome throwback to the past, Sunday's show in Johannesburg is in danger of being subjected to a demonstration against discrimination.

The South African Roadies Association (SARA) plans to picket the concert at the FNB Stadium, venue of last year's World Cup final, to highlight what it says is the refusal of big acts to employ black road production crew.

However, in a statement, Mr McGuinness said that in Johannesburg, 97pc of the crew were black, and in Cape Town, 100pc of the local crew were black.

SARA, which represents around 600 mainly black sound and lighting production workers across South Africa, is hoping to bring 200 members to protest at the U2 gig.

Disadvantaged

"We object to the fact that when big acts like U2 visit this country, the shows are usually put together entirely by white-owned companies," said SARA chairman Freddie Nyathela.

The group claims that big acts do not allow workers from disadvantaged areas the chance to upskill and are normally given low-ranking jobs like stage hand.

Mr McGuinness, meanwhile, said the U2 360 tour had a travelling crew of 196 from 15 countries.

"In every venue around the world, the tour recruits local labour to build and take down the enormous 360 production," the U2 manager said.

He added that they have offered to meet with representatives of SARA to discuss their concerns.

- Luke Byrne

Irish Independent

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