Invitation to the 4th Wigan Diggers’ Festival – Saturday 13th September 2014 – 11.00am – 9.30pm – The Wiend – Wigan

An invitation to, and preliminary details of this year’s Wigan Diggers’ Festival on Saturday 13th September.

The event will take place between 11.00am and 9.30pm in The Wiend area of Wigan town centre. (see location map below)

The organisers are promising another free all day fun packed open air event to commemorate Wigan born Gerrard Winstanley (1609-1676) and the 17th Century “Diggers” (True Leveller) movement. Winstanley and they famously asserted: “The Earth was made a common treasury for all, irrespective of person!” and are described by Tony Benn as “the first true Socialists”.

Last year’s festival was another resounding success with over 2,000 people attending during the course of the day. We hope this year’s will be too.

Wigan Diggers' Festival Promotional Leaflet


The day’s running order has yet to be fully finalised, however, amongst this year’s performers are:

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners: Lucy Ward Band

Last year’s headliners: Merry Hell


Second Hand Wings

Shamus O’Blivion & The Megadeath Morris Men

The Jade Assembly

Black Velvet Band

Liverpool Socialist Singers

Laura Taylor


Means To An End

Joan Blackburn

Avital Raz

John E. Davies

Tony Kinsella

Joy France

Gaz Brookfield

More details to follow a.s.a.p:

Facebook Event Page:

Twitter: @WiganDigger

Location Map

Wigan Diggers' Festival Site Map

Diggers’ Festival Programme Announced

Wigan Band Merry Hell top jam packed Bill at FREE FESTIVAL on 7th September!

(Revised Running Order – due to earlier ending time and change of one of the bands in the earlier announced bill.)

11.00 – 11.15 Assemble – The Wiend area (accompanied by singing by The Liverpool Socialist Singers)

11.15 – 11.35 Town Centre Parade with PCS Samba Band

11.35 – 12.00 St. George’s Hill Digging Re-enactment in The Wiend area with actor John Graham Davies as Gerrard Winstanley. Accompanied by The Liverpool Socialist Singers

12.00 – 12.20 Official Opening including presentation to Tony Benn – Main Stage

12.20 – 12.45 Durham Scratch Choir – who will perform the premiere of a suite of choral works of Gerrard Winstanley’s writings set to music – Main Stage

12.45 – 1.00 Diggers’ Puppet Show – Wigan Diggers’ Festival Arts Project Hub area.

12.45 – 1.10 SOLO ARTIST: Planet Al – Acoustic Stage

1.10 – 1.50 BAND: Our Fold – Main Stage

1.50 – 2.15 DUO: Song & Story – Acoustic Stage

1.50 – 2.15 Comedy Spot in The John Bull Chophouse pub with John Graham Davies & James Quinn followed by a poetry spot featuring Alison Down & Jean Gittins

2.15 – 2.55 DUO: Our Morals – Main Stage

2.15 – 3.45 Film Showing of The Conditions of the Working Class (83mins) in Wigan Life Centre

2.55 – 3.20 POET: Joy France – Acoustic Stage

3.00 – 3.45 TALK on Gerrard Winstanley “A Digger’s Life & Legacy” by Dr John Gurney in Gallimore’s Restaurant

3.20 – 4.00 BAND: Run Out of Guns – Main Stage

3.45 – 4.20 TALK on “The Influence of Wigan & Wiganers on the ideas of Gerrard Winstanley” by Derek Winstanley in Gallimore’s Restaurant

4.00 – 4.25 SOLO ARTIST: Avital Raz – Acoustic Stage

4.25 – 4.50 POET: Laura Taylor – Main Stage

4.50 – 5.15 SOLO ARTIST: Ken Scally – Acoustic Stage

5.15 – 5.55 BAND: Dead Shores – Main Stage

5.55 – 6.20 POET: Jeffarama – Acoustic Stage

6.20 – 7.00 BAND: John The Baptist & The 2nd Coming – Main Stage

7.00 – 7.25 SOLO ARTIST: Derek Ecclestone – Acoustic Stage

7.25 – 7.55 DUO: Class Actions – Main Stage

7.55 – 8.20 SOLO ARTIST: Pauline Blackburn – Acoustic Stage

8.20 – 9.30 BAND: Merry Hell – Main Stage

9.30 Finish at The Wiend


10.00 onwards Wigan Diggers’ Festival After Party at The Tudor House Hotel, Newmarket Street, Wigan.

Tony Benn hopeful of attending Festival

LATEST NEWS: Veteran Left-winger Tony Benn hopes to attend our 3rd Diggers’ Festival on the 7th September to receive the first ‘Gerrard Winstanley Spade’ award – our festival’s equivalent of an ‘Oscar’ in the shape of small brass spade mounted along with an engraved plaque in a framed display case.

Though ill-health may still yet prevent him from attending, he has spoken of his pride of being honoured with the award, by the festival’s organising committee, for “an outstanding contribution to making the Earth a common treasury for all in the spirit of Gerrard Winstanley, leader of the Diggers.”

We look forward to presenting it to him at the festival, and if that doesn’t prove possible, doing so soon afterwards, at a time and place convenient to him.


Please ‘like’ our Facebook Page at:

If you are planning on coming to the Festival, then please indicate so on our Facebook Festival event page at:

Wigan Diggers’ Bolton Bash (Part of Our 2013 World Tour of Bolton!)

Wigan Diggers' Bolton BashPanel

Come join us at the Dog & Partridge in Bolton on Saturday 29th June for a FREE all day fun packed music and poetry event to promote the forthcoming (3rd) Diggers’ Festival on 7th September 2013 in Wigan town centre.

The Wigan Festival, which attracted a crowd of around 2,000 last year, celebrates the radical 17th Century “Diggers” movement, whose inspirational spokesperson and theorist Gerrard Winstanley was born and bred in the town, and whose vision of the Earth as “a common treasury for all”, organisers say: “…is still very much relevant to this day.”

The event will feature an array of North West poetic and musical talent including:


The event starts at around 2.00pm and will be finish at around 10.00pm.

Facebook Event Page @


Tony Benn awarded first ‘Ged Winstanley Spade’

GedWinstanleysSpadeFollowing our second Festival, the Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee agreed to establish our own version of the Oscars and the Grammies, in the shape of an annual award bearing the name of Gerrard Winstanley.

We agreed to present it, ideally at our festival each year, to an individual or a group, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the cause of making the Earth a common treasury for all, in the spirit of the Great Wiganer.

After discussing a number of possibilities including a ‘Star of Winstanley’ medal, we finally agreed on the obvious, and something wholly in keeping with Gerrard Winstanley’s digging activities in Surrey and elsewhere, in the shape of small brass spade, mounted along with an engraved plaque in a framed display case (see above left).

Tony Benn awarded first Ged Winstanley Spade

TonyBennHaving decided on what the award would look like and given it a name, our next task was to decide on who we might present our first one to.

It didn’t take us long to make that decision. We unanimously agreed to present the award to veteran left-winger and former Labour MP Tony Benn, someone who has himself described the 17th Century Diggers as the first ‘true Socialists’ – a view we ourselves concur with.

We have written to him already to inform him of the news and look forward to presenting it to him in person at our forthcoming festival on the 7th September.

Failing that, we look forward to presenting it to him at a time and place convenient him. Watch this space for details.

Feature article from Monday 27th May’s Wigan Evening Post

WEP Feature Article