The final details of the programme of the 2nd Wigan Diggers’ Festival have been unveiled today. They outline a jammed packed day of live entertainment over two stages featuring 23 separate acts, a film showing, two audio visual presentations, a symbolic, part theatrical ‘digging re-enactment’ and tree planting ceremony, with a professional actor playing the part of Wigan born pioneer Socialist Gerrard Winstanley who along with the 17th Century Diggers’ movement he was the principal spokesperson of, is the main focus of the entire day’s festivies.
In addition to that, there will also be over 30 food, community, political and other stalls not least of which an ‘OccuPie Wigan’ beer tent offering two locally brewed special commemorative ales to Festival goers, namely Prospect’s Diggers 1649 Ale and Allgates’ Gerrard Winstanley Ale.
There will also be a town centre Diggers’ Parade, and a mass singing during the digging re-enactment, led by the Liverpool Socialist Singers, of the some say, Gerrard Winstanley penned “Diggers’ Song” and Leon Rosselson’s “A World Turned Upside Down”, made famous by Billy Bragg in the 1980s, all of which will take place in The Wiend area, in Wigan town centre between 11.30am and noon.
FINAL FESTIVAL PROGRAMME
9.00am – 4.00pm – Wigan Life Centre North: DAY LONG EXHIBITION on Gerrard Winstanley & The Diggers
11.00am – 11.15am Assemble for Diggers’ Parade outside John Bull Chophouse, The Wiend
11.15am – 11.30am Diggers’ Town Centre Parade
11.35am – 11.45am Digging and Sowing re-enactment in Millgate/The Wiend area. Actor John Graham Davies will play the part of Wigan born Diggers’ spokesperson Gerrard Winstanley during the re-enactment. Also, singing of “The Diggers’ Song” led by The Liverpool Socialist Singers.
11.45am – 11.46am A minute’s silence for Gerrard Winstanley who died 336 years ago on Monday (10th September 1676)
11.47am – 12.oo noon Tree planting ceremony. Short Gerrard Winstanley monologue by actor John Graham Davies. Singing of Leon Rosselson’s “A World Turned Upside Down” led by Liverpool Socialist Singers
12.00 noon – 12.15pm Festival Intro by Stephen Hall on behalf of Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee
12.15pm – 12.45pm STAGE ONE: GLASS HEADS – a guitar based four piece who hail from Wigan. They draw upon diverse influences ranging from Sex Pistols to dub reggae and hip hop to flamenco guitar!
12.30pm – 2.10pm Wigan Life Centre North: “WINSTANLEY” Film Showing starring Mile Halliwell as Gerrard Winstanley & Jerome Willis as Lord Fairfax
12.45pm – 12.50pm Free-Lance Actor, Writer, Voice-Over Artist and Match Day Commentator at FC United of Manchester, JAMES QUINN plays Wiganer Jaz and recites a monologue especially written by local writer Julie McKiernan
12.50pm – 1.05pm STAGE TWO: STEVEN DURRANT – an activist, singer and musician who performs with a piano accordion
1.00pm – 1.30pm Wigan Life Centre North: GERRARD WINSTANLEY audio visual presentation by Derek Winstanley
1.05pm – 1.35pm STAGE ONE: PAULINE BLACKBURN – is a singer/songwriter/acoustic guitarist from Wigan who has strong roots in the folk scene. She has a strong soulful voice and sings from the heart.
1.30pm – 2.00pm Wigan Life Centre North: OPEN DISCUSSION on audio visual presentation, Gerrard Winstanley & The 17th Century Diggers’ (True Leveller) movement.
1.35pm – 1.40pm Actor James Quinn plays Wiganer Jaz and recites a monologue especially written by local writer Julie McKiernan
1.40pm – 1.55pm STAGE TWO: Dorothy Fryman & Monologue John Bartley aka Song & Story – Veteran Socialist Dorothy & ‘Keep the Change Bob” gave us an impromptu performance at last year’s festival with poems and songs written by Dorothy and her late husband. They went down a storm and are back this year.
1.55pm – 2.25pm STAGE ONE: ALUN PARRY – is one of Liverpool’s leading acoustic performers and songwriters. He says on his Blog he’s proud to be playing at the festival, and so are we, as he’s also one of the North West’s foremost radical singers and entertainers.
2.25pm – 2.30pm Actor James Quinn plays Wiganer Jaz and recites a monologue especially written by local writer Julie McKiernan
2.30pm – 2.45pm STAGE TWO: SCOTTY HERTZ from Canada via Glasgow can regularly be found at picket lines and grassroots benefits or anywhere coffee fuelled acoustic punk is welcomed. Wants to organise a Diggers’ Festival in Canada.
2.30pm – 3.00pm Wigan Life Centre North: GERRARD WINSTANLEY (REPEAT) audio visual presentation by Derek Winstanley
2.45pm – 3.00pm STAGE ONE: MICHAEL BUCHANAN – is a radical Northants based poet and was a hit performer at this year’s Wellingborough Diggers’ Festival. We thought he was so good in fact we invited him to ours. We think you’ll like him!
3.00pm – 3.55pm Wigan Life Centre North: OPEN DISCUSSION on audio visual presentation, Gerrard Winstanley & The 17th Century Diggers’ (True Leveller) movement.
3.00pm – 3.30pm STAGE ONE: JOHN THE BAPTIST & THE 2ND COMING – Sure to be controversial “Prog Krautrock” blues band with smatterings of asteral jazz.
3.30pm – 3.45pm STAGE TWO: MICHAEL BUCHANAN – 2nd slot for the top Northants poet.
3.45pm – 4.00pm STAGE ONE: WELLINGBOROUGH DIGGERS – Guest speaker from the Northants Diggers’ Festival.
4.00pm – 4.30pm STAGE ONE: CLAIRE MOONEY – Manchester based Claire Mooney was the most popular performer at last year’s Festival. She is a well known ‘mover and shaker amongst the North West’s LGBT scene’, and co-hosts BBC Radio Manchester’s LGBT show
4.30pm – 4.45pm STAGE TWO: LAURA TAYLOR – has been writing and performing poetry for 2 years, and has finally found a space in which to air her grievances with authority. She describes herself as a proud Northerner, social misfit, and all-round shirker.
4.45pm – 5.00pm STAGE ONE: SOLOMON SCRIBBLE – is a talented ‘performance poet’ who comes from Blackpool. He writes and performs garish pieces about popular culture, politics and his friends. Also covers topics as strange as wasps and boxers.
5.00pm – 5.30pm STAGE ONE: THE DEAD SHORES – are a 4-piece rock band from Wigan. They are four likely Lancashire lads with a tremendous humour and an infectious sound. Their lyrics are laced with a working-class wit and edginess.
5.30pm – 5.45pm STAGE TWO: PLANET AL – alias Alan Sinclair is a locally based acoustic singer/songwriter formerly with bands THC and The Volunteers. Mostly performs is own material which is likened to Neil Young & Roy Harper’s.
5.45pm – 6.15pm STAGE ONE: BOB KETTLE – plays Guitar/Mandolin/Harmonica as a solo artist, and is an accomplished singer/songwriter. He is also a member of the folk-rock band ‘Merry Hell’, who are currently enjoying considerable success in the music world.
6.15pm – 6.30pm STAGE TWO: CLASS ACTIONS – performed at our first festival and are a Salford based duo, renown for their aggressive dance/rap fusion and hard hitting social commentary. Their M 4 Maggie is always a favourite.
6.30pm – 6.45pm STAGE ONE: KEN SCALLY – is a folk singer, songwriter, poet, playwright, author archaeologist, wigan rugby supporter, indian curry taster and cask conditioned bitter tester. He played at last year’s Festival and is back by popular demand this year.
6.45pm – 7.15pm STAGE ONE: KIERAN DEVLIN – is Wigan based front man for Wallgate Circus. He performed at last year’s festival and is back at this year’s by popular demand.
7.15pm – 8.00pm STAGE ONE: ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER – punk poet, and a folk punk musician and songwriter. He has performed over 2,700 concerts, including every Glastonbury Festival since 1983.