KOKO, the live music venue in Camden Town, recently held a memorial concert in honour of Julia Brightly, who lost her battle with cancer in July 2014.
The concert raised over £19,000, which KOKO has donated to Gendered Intelligence (GI), a Community Interest Company (CIC) that looks to engage people in debates about gender.
In July of 2014, GI received an email from Daveid Phillips, head of music at KOKO, explaining that a good friend of his – sound technician Julia Brightly – had recently lost her battle with liver and kidney cancer.
Julia was the front-of-house sound person to many bands such as Mogwai, and Fuck Buttons and was transgender.
Daveid wrote: “Julia was a very close and dear friend to me. We shared a deep love of all sorts of music. Julia was an amazing person.”
In honour of Julia’s life and work, Daveid said he was arranging a memorial concert at KOKO, the proceeds of which would go to a good cause; GI would be the recipient. Described as a “music world legend”, Julia was much loved by friends and colleagues in the industry, who wrote a number of heartfelt obituaries in her remembrance.
Robert Leaver, former bandmate in Crash & Burn, wrote on the website Crawling Home, “We played dozens of shows and made many songs together. Her journey was not always easy. She was a sonic wizard, and a brilliant musician. She was brave, she loved to laugh and she was my friend.”
Julia’s funeral was held in July at KOKO in Camden.
On the Quietus website, Daveid wrote a description of the extraordinary ceremony: “We had her coffin in the middle of the dance floor and people recounted stories and sang songs, we also played some of her recorded work at full volume through the PA. At the end we all carried her coffin together as if she was crowd surfing up on to the stage and fittingly out through the artists’ exit stage left into blinding sunshine.”
The sum raised is the single biggest donation that GI has ever received. With it, GI plans to fund four youth groups for a entire year and it will make a lasting difference to the lives of trans youth.
GI now will hold three separate trans youth groups in London, one for 11-15s, another for 16-25s, and a specific group for BAME identified 13-25 year olds. In addition, GI is hosting 13-25 year old groups in Leeds and Bristol.
Jay Stewart, co-founder of GI, said: “This is the most amazing gift to Gendered Intelligence. I did not know Julia personally but she was clearly an amazing person, loved by many. We are currently working very hard to support young trans and non-binary people from across England. We support schools, key workers, parents and carers too. There is so much work to be done as life for the young people in our community can at times be incredibly difficult and frustrating. This donation will make an enormous difference. Thank you.”
Gendered Intelligence is a community interest company that looks to engage people in debates about gender. They work predominantly within young people’s settings and have educative aims.
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