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

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.

10th Wigan Diggers’ Festival – Saturday 12th September 2020

PUT THE DATE DOWN IN YOUR DIARY NOW!

10thWDFPoster

Here, earlier than usual are the details of everyone who will be performing at this year’s landmark 10th Diggers’ Festival. Topping the bill are festival favourites Merry Hell who will be complemented by an excellent line up of acts including Headsticks, Joe Solo, Ukepunk, the Corrie Shelley Band, Barnstormer 1649, Bard Company, Brandon Lee Webb Band, Bathtub Gin Band, Rare Ould Times, Jimmy Andrex, Hadrian’s Union, The Quaintest Show on Earth, Lesley Dawson-Heath, Simon Williams, Jethro Platts, and Isaac Hughes-Dennis. Let’s also not forget Wigan’s own True Levellers Community Samba Band. Come and join us – it’s FREE to attend and always a great do!

The details of the various fringe events, including talks in Wigan Parish Church are yet to be finalised and will be advertised in due course.

Please share our Facebook page with your friends and let us know your coming at: https://www.facebook.com/events/465445411071592/

Your Chance to Perform at the 2020 Wigan Diggers’ Festival!

wdf9announcementsDear Friends,

We are now encouraging applications to perform at next year’s 10th Wigan Diggers’ Festival, which will take place on Saturday 12th September 2020.

If you think you might be able to add something special to what we hope will be a terrific line-up, then please download our Application Form, fill it in and and send it back to us at: diggersstageentertainment@gmail.com by 15th NOVEMBER 2019.

We look forward to hearing from you, and hope you might be able to help make it our biggest and best festival yet!

 

Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee

Calling All Ye Noble Diggers! The Forecast’s Great – See You on Saturday!

WDF9Weather

Come and join on Saturday for the biggest and best annual get together of North West Trades Unionists, Socialists and other radicals from across the Left at this year’s Wigan Diggers’ Festival. The FREE all day event starts at 11.30am at our usual Wiend venue in Wigan town centre with a symbolic re-enactment of the digging undertaken by Gerrard Winstanley and his companions at St. George’s Hill, near Weybridge in Surrey in 1649, in which the Wigan born radical outlines his views on the common ownership of land and conception of the world as a “common treasury for all”.

Festival goers can expect not only some decent weather, as you can see from today’s BBC Forecast, but a day crammed packed with stuff to suit everyone including live music and poetry across two stages, more than 50 stalls, British and Caribbean, vegan and conventional catering, plus an excellent choice of real ales, fruit beers, traditional ciders and award winning lagers.

GFTU General Secretary Doug Nicholls will also be giving a talk in the Parish Church from 12.30pm to 2.00pm on “The Wisdom of Winstanley’s Words

WDF9SiteMap

WDF9RunningOrder

9th Wigan Diggers’ Festival Running Order.

Wigan Digger’s Bolton Bash – See You There!

See you at Wigan Diggers’ annual warm up bash in Bolton on Saturday 27th July at the Socialist Club, Wood Street. Starts at 3.30pm.

Bolton Diggers' T-shirt

Six hours of music and poetry and getting together to commemorate Gerrard Winstanley and the 17th Century Diggers’ movement ready for the big do in Wigan on 7th September.

Once again, there is a great line-up of performers providing the entertainment, some who have played before, but lots of new singers, songwriters and poets who are making their first appearance at the Socialist club!

Line-up (in no particular order – times to be arranged) – Pauline Blackburn – Jonny Low – The Blazing Snowmen – Eva Curless – Lawrence Hoy – Tony Easom – Simon Williams – Ibby just Ibby – Stew Simpson – Mugshot Alley (Ian Livesey & Martin Green) – Stephen Gall – GJ Armstrong – Ryan Lewis Walker – with MCs & hosts Gordon Zola, Tony Kinsella & Jeffarama!

The event is free to attend, however, there will be a raffle and collection. There will also be a few stalls and some food, see you up there! Diggers Unite!

9th Diggers’ Festival Line Up Announced

THE MEN THEY COULD’NT HANG top the bill at this year’s 9th Annual FREE festival.

Also on the main stage during the day are festival favourites Attila The Stockbroker and Wigan’s very own John The Baptist & The Second Coming.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kicking off the music on the main stage at 12.00 noon, immediately after our symbolic Digging Re-enactment in Gerrard Winstanley Gardens (accompanied by the Bolton Clarion Choir) are the excellent Harp and a Monkey. Check out the full running order below:

WIGAN DIGGERS’ FESTIVAL BOOKING A STALL

If you or your organisation would like to book a stall at this year’s festival, then please download our STALL APPLICATION FORM, fill it in and return it to us A.S.A.P.

As we work on a first come first served basis, and space is limited, in order to avoid any possible disappointment we suggest the earlier you can do it the better.

NEW FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

Help us promote our festival by speaking to your friends, family and workmates and encouraging them to come along. The feedback is always great. GREAT MUSIC – GREAT CROWD – GREAT FOOD – GREAT BEER – GREAT CAUSE,

You might also consider sharing our new facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/460033934737521/ on your own timeline and inviting your FB friends to attend.