WIGAN DIGGERS’ FESTIVAL 2022

WIGAN DIGGERS’ FESTIVAL 2022

11.15am until 9.30pm
Gerrard Winstanley Gardens
The Wiend
Wigan Town Centre

This year’s Wigan Diggers’ Festival is on the 10th September 2022, celebrating the life and ideas of Wigan born and bred Gerrard Winstanley and the 17th century Diggers’ (true leveller) movement. As usual, we will be having a wide range of music, stalls, poets, fringe events and bands, some from the local community and others from all over the UK. Some well-known names like Jess Silk from Birmingham and this year’s headliners The Wakes from Glasgow will be playing the main stage. Hopefully, we have something for everybody. As always, we will have our usual beer tent, selling a mixture of beers, wine, real ales and ciders. There will be food available on the day also.
There will be the usual two-stage setup, the song and story stage and the main stage. Hopefully, you can make it and meet up with friends old and new. Let’s make this year’s festival one to remember, peace and love to you all, and hope you can come and support this free festival on the day.

Festival line-up in no particular order

Main Stage
The Wakes
McHale’s Permanent Brew
Jess Silk
Bard Company
Commoners Choir
More Than Words
Carol Hodge Band
Fine Lines
Tic No Toc

Poets
George Melling
Shaun Fallows
Jimmy Andrex
Carla Mellor

Song and Story Stage
Steam Town
John D Revelator
Vision Thing
Stephen Smith
Haz Jak
Cobalt Tales
Martin Purdey (Harp and Monkey)

2022 Festival T-Shirt
This year’s festival t-shirt is available from the merch stall on the day, or fringe events leading up to the festival, e.g. Bolton Diggers’ bash 30th July 2022.

Stall Applications 2022
Stall applications will be accepted beginning in the next week or so, there will be a link placed on this website allowing you to apply from here, and also one on will be placed on our Facebook page

What would Winstanley say we should do now?

In the midst of a continuing global Covid-19 pandemic (during Winstanley’s time it was the “Black Death”) climate crisis, worsening housing crisis, attacks on our right to protest, attacks on our health service, the cash for honours scandal and an increasingly corrupt Government additionally guilty of criminally negligent manslaughter. Also, the potential of Scotland voting for independence and lots of other problems facing us. Stephen Hall, one of the founders of the Diggers’ Festival, asks the question: “What would Winstanley say we should do now”? What might he call for in a 2021 version of “The Law of Freedom in a platform?” How might his writings and actions of 1648-52 guide us today? Starts at 12.15pm.

Stephen hopes to kick off a lively and fruitful discussion by the audience.

Click https://fb.me/e/YGZpJKYv for the Facebook Event page.

George Monbiot to receive Gerrard Winstanley Spade Award for 2021

Controversial Guardian columnist and environmental activist George Monbiot is to receive this year’s Diggers’ Festival “Gerrard Winstanley Spade” award for his ‘outstanding contribution’ to the cause of making the Earth a common treasury for all, in the spirit of the 17th Century Wiganer in whose memory the award is named. 

The award has previously been presented to the late veteran Labour MP Tony Benn, Film Director Ken Loach, Writer Jimmy McGovern and local actor-activist Maxine Peake. 

Our first Gerrard Winstanley Spade in 2013 was awarded to Tony Benn. In addition to everything else he did, he helped to populise Winstanley’s writings in his later life and described the 17th Century Diggers as England’s “first true socialists”. As Tony was too ill to travel to our festival to receive the award in person, and sadly died before we were able to formally present it to him, the Spade was later received by Tony’s son Hilary Benn (shown below) on behalf of Tony’s family.
Hilary Benn, Ken Loach, Maxine Peake & Jimmy McGovern

Homeless campaigner Pauline Town and ‘We Shall Overcome’ musician, activist and campaigner Joe Solo are two more recent recipients.

This year’s award is also presented in recognition of George Monbiot’s ongoing fight, as his own website states: against “environmental destruction, undemocratic power, corruption, deception of the public, injustice, inequality and the misallocation of resources, waste, denial, the libertarianism which grants freedom to the powerful at the expense of the powerless….” and more recently his powerful advocacy of the need to overthrow Capitalism to stop the impending climate catastrophe. (See clips below)

On 1 April 1999, on the 350th anniversary of Gerrard Winstanley and the Diggers’ occupation, George Monbiot was famously involved in the organisation of  a rally and occupation of land at St. Georges Hill, near Weybridge, Surrey. (See Clip below)

George is absolutely delighted to be receiving the award, and had intended to be with us on Saturday to accept it in person. However, as he is now sadly unable to come to this year’s Festival, the Festival Committee will be organising a special event in Wigan later in the year to which George has agreed he will come to receive the award and additionally give us a talk on a subject yet to be decided. He has also agreed he will provide us with a short video for our social media platforms. Watch this space

Food Vendor Application Form

We are now taking food vendor applications for the Wigan Diggers’ festival 2021 (11th September 2021).
Our festival is run completely by volunteers and attracts around 5000 visitors throughout the day.
We love to make sure that everyone involved in the festival is treated well, so we like to have a chat with you about a fair fee for your stall.
If you would like to trade at this year’s festival, then please fill in the form by clicking the link below with as much detail as possible, and we will contact you about arrangements.

Food Vendor application Form

You must have your own public liability insurance, power/food heating supply and food hygiene certification. We also do not allow generators on site.

More Volunteers still needed!

We’ve had a good response to our previous appeal for volunteers to help out for 4 hours or more over the weekend of Saturday 11th September, not only on the day of the festival itself, but also on Friday the 10th to help prepare the festival site, and on Sunday the 12th to help clear up the site. That said, we still need a fair few more on the day of the festival to ensure its smoothing running, so can you help us? If so, please fill in our Wigan Diggers’ Festival Volunteer Application Form and let us know as soon as you can. Ta.