The Clash-inspired festival to rock Kent



Allyson Nichols

Grab your eyeliner, leather jacket, rock T-shirt and combat boots because Thursday is International Clash Day.

Named after the popular 1970s punk band “The Clash,” International Clash Day will consist of three days of events in downtown Kent, starting Thursday and ending Saturday.

The events include a Clash Day kick-off noise demo in front of the MACC Center, a poetry reading at the Standing Rock Cultural Arts and a punk-rock flea market. Guests will also be able to try a specialty beer called “Combat Bock” at the MadCap Brew Co., which will make its debut Thursday. A list of events can be found here.

Proceeds from the events will go to local organizations such as the Kent Planned Parenthood, Akron Food Not Bombs, Kent Books to Prisoners and United Students Against Sweatshops Local 27.

Zach Schiller, assistant professor of sociology and organizer of Clash Day Kent, thinks of the celebration as a form of advocacy as well as a way to take a stand against inequality.

“In order to try to figure out a focus this year, we reflected on what seems like in the last year, an intensified war on women and on more and more of a normalization of a culture of misogyny,” Schiller said. “We focused on raising money this year for our local Planned Parenthood clinic and a whole bunch of other activist groups that are incorporating gender issues in the work that they do.”

The Clash was a punk rock band active from 1976-1986 whose album “London Calling” challenged cultural norms by giving messages of multiculturalism, anti-hate and anti-fascism.

The idea of International Clash Day began when John Richards, a host and producer of Seattle’s WKEXP radio station, played The Clash songs throughout the morning of Feb. 7, 2013, proclaiming it as International Clash Day.

In 2017, Schiller brought the idea of Clash Day to the mayor of Kent, Jerry Fiala. Schiller had been inspired by the first Clash Day in 2013. In 2018, Kent’s celebration of Clash Day began.

“Part of the spirit of the day is to channel what the spirit of The Clash was, which was being open to free speech and speaking out for the voiceless,” Schiller said.

Schiller would like to see Clash Day continue to grow in the way events like the Kent Folk Fest which was able to make a connection with history. He hopes the event will allow local activists to come and give information about their causes and organizations, allowing them to use their freedom of speech.

“Over number of years we do it, hopefully it becomes a big umbrella of local activists and social justice organizations. That would be key if we could do that and then if we can grow the entertainment, that’s always going to be the goal too,” Schiller said.

This year, 38 record stores, 84 radio stations including Kent State’s Black Squirrel Radio and 14 cities will participate in International Clash Day with 26 events worldwide.

Allyson Nichols covers music, theater and dance. Contact her at [email protected].