A star-studded roster of musicians — and one actress — gathered with activists, sympathizers and, let’s be honest, plain old music fans at Summit Music Hall on Saturday evening to kick-off the West Coast tour of Rock Against the TPP.
Rock Against the TPP is a free music-activism event slated to tour in three West Coast cities (and Denver) with more dates to come. The founders, internet rights nonprofit Fight for the Future and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine’s “socially conscious” Firebrand Records, joined forces to throw what they described on the event website as a “massive effort to sound the alarm” about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The partnership is a proposed trade agreement among the U.S. and 11 additional Pacific Rim nations.
Guitarist Tom Morelli, Talib Kweli, Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit of the Flobots, Anti-Flag and Evangeline Lilly were among the artists who appeared in support of the effort. They were joined by a slew of local chapters of nonprofits and labor groups, including Denver Food and Water Watch, 350.org, the Denver chapter of SURJ, Occupy Denver and Protégete—a Latino group against climate change.
Rain stalled the rally scheduled to precede the 6 p.m. concert. About 100 people turned out to hear the Flobots and Son of Nun rap a cappella between speeches by activists.
Two Colorado lawmakers, Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Diana DeGette, have not yet committed to the agreement.
For Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, the evening’s objectives were simple: to widely educate people about the agreement and to inundate the representatives with letters.
“We need to sound an alarm,” said Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future. “People don’t know what the TPP is, that is why were are here.”
Whether attendees were there for that reason, however, was up for debate.
Hallie David and her friend Doug Lund lingered near the bar at the back of the venue. “We aren’t really ‘rocking out for the TPP,’ ” Lund, 27, said.
“We are here for Anti-Flag and Tom Morello,” he added.
“I’ll be honest, I’m here for the two guys from the Flobots,” said Jim Galligan, 40. “I think the TPP is inevitable, though I do commend their efforts to stop it.”
Others seemed more supportive of the cause, visiting some of the many booths set up around the venue. Kristen Kelly, 33, stood near the Occupy Denver booth.
“I’m anti-corporation and anti-everything the TPP is for,” she said. “I’ve always been involved with canvassing, so I like to come out to these things.”
When the music was scheduled to begin, people flooded in. By 8:30 p.m., there were more than 600 people in the venue.