Never mind the weather forecast – The Sun shines on the righteous! But bring your Brollies just in case!

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HERE’S THE FULL RUNNING ORDER for this year’s Diggers’ Festival

Here’s the final running order for Saturday’s 8th Wigan Diggers’ Festival which includes our best ever line-up of entertainment alternating between our main and acoustic stages; two fringe meetings; and an educational talk on Gerrard Winstanley in Wigan Parish Church. Also, for only our second year, the opportunity to hear some excellent speakers from a range of unions and campaign groups, etc, explain what they’re about and why they’re in Wigan on Saturday, via our ‘third’ town centre ‘Speakers’ Corner’ stage.

All this of course, is in addition to a Diggers’ award presentation to Joe Solo; Diggers’ Flag unfurling; symbolic St. George’s Hill 1649 ‘digging re-enactment’ and more than 50 food, book and other stalls; all day children’s entertainment, and our ever popular ‘Occu Pie Wigan’ beer tent,


10.00 am – 11.30 am  – LOCATION – Top of Millgate/Standishgate (second session between 12.15 pm – 1.00 pm at same location)

Wigan Diggers’ Festival Speakers’ Corner

Wigan Diggers' Festival Speakers Corner

Speakers are already confirmed from a range of organisations. including the Diggers’ Festival Committee, the RMT Keep the Guard on the Train campaign, BFAWU Fast Food Rights campaign, WASPI, Frack Free & Fossil Fuel Free Greater Manchester, Unite the Union Community Membership, Morning Star Newspaper, Manchester People’s Assembly, Momentum, Peterloo Memorial Campaign, Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, Labour Party, Socialist Party of Great Britain and others.


11.30 am – 11.45 am – LOCATION – Gerrard Winstanley Gardens, The Wiend

St. George’s Hill 1649 Digging Re-enactment

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In The Wiend area, the festival will kick off as usual with a symbolic digging re-enactment in which this year, guest actor Sean McGlynn will play the role of the Wigan born radical, and repeat some of his famous words from April 1649.

As on previous occasions he and our other diggers will be accompanied by members of the Bolton Clarion Socialist Choir who will lead the singing of Winstanley’s “Diggers’ Song” and “The World Turned Upside Down” by Leon Rosselson, a song which tells the story of the 17th century Diggers, and which was made famous by Billy Bragg.


11.45 am – 12.00 noon – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

Official Opening of Festival & Diggers’ Flag Unfurling

A representative of the North West Regional Committee of Unite the Union, who are the main sponsors of this year’s festival, will officially open the festival before the unfurling at noon of this year’s Diggers’ Flag designed by the pupils of the Deanery High School, Wigan with the assistance of their arts teacher David Brown.

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MAIN STAGE + SONG & STORY (ACOUSTIC) STAGE at a glance (from 12.00 noon)

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Full Running Order including fringe meetings and Winstanley talk in more detail from 12.00 noon.


12.00 noon – 12.40 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

BAND – The Amber List

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If The Amber List were furniture, you might describe them as pre-loved. This Lancashire band, formed in March 2017 in a Works Unit Only layby on the M6, has members who have clocked up many music miles between them. Peppered with harmonic interludes and touched with atmospherics, their songs range from
60’s folk-tinged ballads to indie pop.

More info at www.theamberlist.net


12.00 noon – 1.00 pm – LOCATION – Wigan Parish Church, Town Centre

FRINGE MEETING organised by COPS

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Martyn Lowe and others from the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, (which exists to help co-ordinate, publicise and support the quest for justice for people affected by politically motivated undercover police spying and to ensure such abuses do not continue) will give a talk and answer questions about how the victims of ‘spycops’ were pried upon, and the effect it has had upon a very large range of campaigners. This will include one of the women affected by long term intimate relationships with undercover police officers who have infiltrated environmental and social justice campaign groups.

More information @ http://campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com/


12.00 noon – 1.00 pm – LOCATION – Museum of Life, Library Street, Wigan

FRINGE MEETING organised by Wigan & Makerfield WASPI (Women Against State Penion Inequality)

WASPI Fringe Meeting


12.40 noon – 1.00 pm – LOCATION – Song & Story Stage, Gerrard Winstanley Gardens, The Wiend

SOLO ARTIST – Patrick McKenzie

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Patrick is a Yorkshire born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Manchester. His music is made up of intricate, winding chords and powerful stories hidden in his quirky lyrics, all underpinned by his deep rich voice and a variety of instruments.

More info @ www.patrickmckenziemusic.com


1.00 pm – 1.40 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

BAND – The Jupiter Blues

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The Jupiter Blues are a four piece, blues rock band straight out of Liverpool. Known for their high energy shows, impeccable musicianship and infectious stage presence, they wow their audience with a host of original songs and unique covers.

More info @ https://en-gb.facebook.com/thejupiterblues/


1.00 pm – 2.30 pm – LOCATION – Wigan Parish Church, Town Centre

FESTIVAL TALK – “Gerrard Winstanley from St. George’s Hill to The Law of Freedom in a Platform”

WiganParishStephen Michael Hall

Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee member Stephen Hall will give a talk and answer questions on the development of Gerrard Winstanley’s ideas from his early ‘Digger Writings’ in 1649 to his later ‘Law of Freedom in a Platform’ work, which might be regarded as Winstanley’s personal manifesto for a genuine ‘Commonwealth of England’.


1.40 pm – 2.00 pm – LOCATION – Song & Story Stage, Gerrard Winstanley Gardens, The Wiend

SOLO ARTIST – Gerry Ffrench

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Gerry’s Liverpool/Irish roots make her a wonderful performer, songwriter and recording artist of rich contemporary folk music. With their strong local flavour, Gerry’s own songs make many references to Liverpool’s maritime history while their style is firmly rooted in traditional folk and shanty. She gives a voice to the hard lives of the women left behind when the sailors went off to sea in songs such as The Other Maggie May, When The Wind Blows Up From The Mersey and Cunard Yanks, being written from the point of view of the wives and their families.

More info @ http://gerry.helloplaza.uk/


2.00 pm – 2.40 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

SOLO ARTIST – Joe Solo

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Joe Solo is an award-winning musician, writer, poet, activist, broadcaster and washing machine engineer from Scarborough. Live, Solo has a growing reputation as both a performer and raconteur, being both thought-provoking, comical and punch-the-air political often in the same breath. He is not an artist you forget in a hurry.

We are additionally pleased to present Joe this year’s Gerrard Winstanley Spade Award for his contribution to the socialist cause.

More info @ joesolomusic.com


2.40 pm – 2.50 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

FESTIVAL ANNOUNCEMENTS


2.50 pm – 3.15 pm – LOCATION – Song & Story Stage, Gerrard Winstanley Gardens, The Wiend

POET – Sharon Lowe

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It seems there’s nothing Diggers’ Festival Committee member Sharon can’t turn her hand to, and today it’s an appearance as one of our three poets on our Song & Story Stage.

POET – Robin Welsh

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Robin Welsh is Hull born, residing in Oxfordshire. Robin is a published poet, political activist and active campaigner for human rights and feels strongly about the abuses and intolerances within society. Everybody needs a voice and he raises issues that bring those who are silent and downtrodden to the fore delivering honest, poignant and often brutal spoken word with passion.

POET – John Wilmington

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John is a regular performing poet on the North West open mic scene mixing romantic verse, political commentary and classical style poetry.


3.15 pm – 3.55 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

BAND – Barnstormer 1649 (featuring Attila The Stockbroker)

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Although there’s always been an element of music in his set, 2018 is the year when spoken word performer, songwriter and multi- instrumentalist Attila the Stockbroker prioritises his musical side for the first time after 37 years and over 3000 gigs primarily working as a poet. He’ll be touring all over the UK with his unique band Barnstormer. A description not used lightly. They literally don’t sound like anyone else. Barnstormer aim to do with early music & punk what the Pogues did with Irish music & punk. Attila describes their sound as ‘Roundhead Renaissancecore and Baroque ‘n’ Roll’.

More info @ attilathestockbroker.com


3.55 pm – 4.20 pm – LOCATION – Song & Story Stage, Gerrard Winstanley Gardens, The Wiend

SOLO ARTIST – T. E. Yates

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Unassuming, unusual and enigmatic, T. E. Yates is a multi-disciplinary Wigan-raised artist of rare and disarming qualities that must be seen and heard to be believed. Quoted as being a “modern day Woody Guthrie mixed with a little Bob Dylan and a little Tom Petty, creating socially charged commentary with a rockier folk sound” he writes about a plethora of real world problems.

More info @ teyates.com


4.20 pm – 4.30 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

FESTIVAL ANNOUNCEMENTS


4.30 pm – 4.55 pm – LOCATION – Song & Story Stage, Gerrard Winstanley Gardens, The Wiend

SEX PISTOLS/HOUGHTON WEAVERS MASH UP – Bard Company

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The North’s answer to the Young Ones! In yer face poetry, music and comedy with a socialist edge from the oldest boy band on the circuit. Let Rocky, Punky, Cheezy and Bolshie tickle your political funny bones.

More info @ whiteleyian.wixsite.com/bard-company


4.55 pm – 5.35 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

The Commoners’ Choir

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The Commoners’ Choir is a rag bag assortment of ne’er-do-wells, misfits, and troublemaking cake-eaters who have come together from all corners of the globe to sing harmonious insurrection, to rouse the rabble and to raise a smile or two. They are a singing newspaper: singing about stuff that happens, stuff that should be happening, stuff that matters. Their songs and arrangements are written by Boff Whalley, songsmith for the likes of Chumbawamba and Red Ladder Theatre, with inspiration, input and interjections from choir members.

More info @ commonerschoir.com facebook.com/commonerschoir


5.35 pm – 6.00 pm – LOCATION – Song & Story Stage, Gerrard Winstanley Gardens, The Wiend

BAND – Rare Oul’ Times

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Headed by Lawrence Hoy, the band combine traditional Irish folk music with Lawrence’s own original material. Lawrence won the Diggers’ Orwell-inspired songwriting competition in 2017.


6.00 pm – 6.40 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

Brandon Lee Webb Band

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This collective of talented musicians play mainly original material whose influences include Van Morrison, John Martyn and The Doors. They are regulars on the local music festival scene and have recently played at Strummercamp.

More info @ www.facebook.com/BrandonLeeWebb


6.40 pm – 7.05 pm – LOCATION – Song & Story Stage, Gerrard Winstanley Gardens, The Wiend

BAND – Eliza P & The Disco Misfits

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Eliza P started off in Manchester’s underground music scene many moons ago, through punk, reggae, rock and psychedelia. Later she becaame known on the folk circuit for her irreverent observational songs. She joined forces with Tony Oz, Damian Browne & Derek (Delvis) Thompson who have a wealth of musical history between them. Together they play gigs and festivals and have a right good musical time! Expect a bunch of themes: badgers & foxes, Jeremy Kyle, trams, Wetherspoons, School history lessons, fracking, bonkers stuff that goes on in the world, from funny to not funny in a punky-folky style!

More info @ www.facebook.com/EPandtheDMs


7.05 pm – 7.45 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

BAND – Wigan’s very own

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As proud purveyors of energized folk-rock and original songs, award-winning NW band, festival favourites Merry Hell bring their uplifting, joyful music to the Diggers’ main stage once more.

More info @ www.merryhell.co.uk


7.45 pm – 8.15 pm – LOCATION – Song & Story Stage, Gerrard Winstanley Gardens, The Wiend

BAND – Joe Astley & The Back Pages

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Joe Astley is a fast rising musician and singer-songwriter, bringing a poetic folk-rock style and sound to the stage and was very well received on the acoustic stage in 2017.

More info @ www.facebook.com/backpagesofficial


8.15 pm – 8.30 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

FESTIVAL ANNOUNCEMENTS


8.30 pm – 9.30 pm – LOCATION – Main Stage, Believe Square, The Wiend

TheBlockheads

Starting out as the band behind Ian Dury, the Blockheads are a legendary outfit that has grown in stature from the early days of the Stiff tour in 1977, right up to the present day. Backing up Ian Dury’s poetic lyrics, this is the band that brought you ‘Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick’, ‘What A Waste’, ‘Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)’, and ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll’, among many others. Rarely off the road since the demise of Ian Dury in 2000, but now with Derek Hussey fronting the band, The Blockheads are still one of the most underrated British bands of all time, with a legion of fans of all ages. See full feature on page 8 of this year’s festival brochure.

More info @ www.theblockheads.com


9.30pm FESTIVAL ENDS – See you next year. Don’t forget to like our facebook page and website and/or join or facebook group to keep in touch.

We still need volunteers to help with clearing up after the festival on Saturday evening as well as from 10.00am on Sunday. Email: wigandiggers@gmail.com if you can help.


 

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Reasons to be cheerful – This year’s Diggers’ Festival headliners – THE BLOCKHEADS

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STARTING out as the band behind Ian Dury, The Blockheads are a legendary outfit that has grown in stature from the early days of the Stiff tour in 1977, right up to the present day. Backing up Ian Dury’s poetic lyrics, this is the band that brought you ‘Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick’, ‘What A Waste’, ‘Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)’, and ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll’, among many others.

Rarely off the road since the demise of Ian Dury in 2000, but now with Derek Hussey fronting the band, The Blockheads are still one of the most underrated British bands of all time, with a legion of fans of all ages.

Their last studio album, ‘Same Horse Different Jockey’, was released on 23rd November 2013, which was also the 35th anniversary of the release of ‘Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick’ and continues to show both their diversity and supreme quality, as well as showcasing their uniqueness. Derek Hussey’s lyrics in the bands’ new songs keep the combination of poetry, word play, earthy humour and deadly-accurate observations of everyday, British working-class life, that Ian Dury had perfected, but with an added bite for the 21st century.

Hussey is known to the bands followers as Dury’s best friend and minder, memorably singing with Ian and the band at a televised concert in the late 90’s.
Their album release campaign was supported by a hugely successful Kickstarter project, with the fans getting involved and enabling the band to make music videos in association with Free Seed Films (www. freeseedfilms.com). You can see the videos from ‘Same Horse Different Jockey’, ‘Express Yourself’, ‘Boys
Will Be Boys’ and ‘Confused’ on The Blockheads YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/blockheadsofficial

In addition, there has also been a remake of the classic ‘Blockhead Watch’, but for the modern generation, with a ‘Blockhead Clock’ available for iPhones from the Apple app store. As a companion piece to this album, the band released a remix album ‘Same Song Different Mix’, containing a remix of each track. To create this album, the stems (the individual instruments) were made available, giving anyone a chance to submit a remix for the album. The best one for each song was selected to create this interesting new take on the material.

The band are now currently finishing off a new album to complement the upcoming documentary ‘Beyond the Call of Dury’, due for release later in November. As well as through their own new material, interest in “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”, the
recent biopic of their erstwhile front man Ian Dury, the performance of ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ at the 2012 Para-Olympic Opening Ceremony, and the musical ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’, has seen a resurgence in the bands popularity over the past couple of years and they continue to go from strength to strength.

Along with some new material from the upcoming album, you can expect to hear “Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick”, “Wake Up And Make Love With Me”, “Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3)”, “What A Waste”, “Clevor Trever”, “Sweet Gene Vincent” and many more from the illustrious back catalogue.

The Blockheads are fronted by Derek ‘The Draw’ Hussey, and Chaz Jankel, Norman Watt-Roy, John Turnbull and Mick Gallagher still remain from the original band. The current line-up is augmented by John Roberts on drums and a rolling line up of saxophonists that includes Gilad Atzmon, Terry Edwards and Dave Lewis.
Visit http://www.theblockheads.com for further information.

The Blockheads will be performing at 8.00pm until the end of the festival.

Joe Solo to receive 2018 Gerrard Winstanley Spade Award

JoeSoloEACH year the Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee presents a Gerrard Winstanley Spade award to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the socialist cause. Previous winners include Tony Benn, Ken Loach, Maxine Peake and Jimmy McGovern. This year the Diggers’ Festival Committee have decided that the socialist singer/ songwriter Joe Solo receive the award. Through his music and dedication to helping others, Joe works tirelessly across the nation and in the Committee’s opinion undoubtedly deserves it.

Joe Solo is an award-winning musician, writer, poet, activist, broadcaster and washing machine engineer from Scarborough. His musical career began in 1987 and has seen him play seven countries either as lynchpin of pop-punk upstarts Lithium Joe or hammering out his unique brand of Folk, Punk and Blues supporting great causes along the way such as the miners, the International Brigade, Hope not Hate and many homeless charities.

On top of releasing fifteen albums since 2004 most inspired by socialist causes, Solo has written books and had them written about him; runs a research project on the Hull Pals Battalions in the First World War; has worked with underprivileged children to help them write their lives in song; hosts a weekly radio show; and still found time to open for the likes of David Rovics, Attila the Stockbroker, Otis Gibbs, Robb Johnson, Edgar Broughton, TV Smith, Paul Simmonds, Emily Portman, Pete Wylie, The Blockheads and Billy Bragg; whilst his songs have been played by John Peel on BBC Radio One, Mike Harding on BBC Radio Two and Tom Robinson on
BBC 6 Music.

In May 2015 Joe helped create WE SHALL OVERCOME, a campaign pushing for a positive response from the music community to the poverty and hardship inflicted on ordinary people by the Government’s austerity program. Since October 2015 the movement has organised more than 700 gigs in 142 towns and cities across 9 countries on 3 continents raising an estimated £350,000 in cash, food, clothing and bedding for those hardest hit. WSO scooped the ‘People’s Choice’ gong at the annual Yorkshire Grassroots Music Awards, and on the back of his efforts The Morning Star named Solo ‘Human Being of the Year’.

In October 2016 Joe was awarded the ‘Outstanding Songwriting’ prize at Yorkshire Gig Guide Grassroots Music Awards for his work on the album ‘Never Be Defeated’ telling the stories of the men and women of Hatfield during the 1984-85 Miner’s Strike; and their song together – ‘Merry Christmas From Hatfield Main’ – raised much-needed cash for a Hardship Fund set up to help those struggling in the former pit communities of South Yorkshire. Just before Christmas 2016 they performed it on stage together with a very special guest, none other than Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

After 30 years of writing and gigging, Joe made his Glastonbury debut in June 2017, taking to the Leftfield stage a skip in his step and a tear in his eye. As he said later: “It only took 30 years! Imagine what I could do in another 30!”

It is with great pride that Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee awards this years’ Gerrard Winstanley Spade to Joe Solo.

Wigan Diggers’ Speakers’ Corner

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An opportunity to let Wiganers know what you’re about in word or song!

This year’s festival will once again feature a third ‘Speakers’ Corner’ stage at the top of Millgate in Wigan town centre, where festival stall holders, individuals and other supportive organisations will have the opportunity to let the packed crowd of Wiganers at this year’s Food Festival and many hundreds of other passers by know what they are about in either word or song.

The first session of our Speakers’ Corner will kick off at 10.00am and finish at 11.30am to coincide with the Festival’s symbolic ‘digging re-enactment’ in Gerrard Winstanley Gardens and the official festival opening.

The second session will start at 12.15pm and last until 3.00pm

As time is limited and we may have as many as 30 organisations alone wanting to speak (5 minute slots) along with poets and other solo performers in between, we are asking everyone who wants to take up the opportunity of speaking/performing to contact us as soon as possible so we can allocate them a time slot in one or other of the two sessions. Unless a specific time is asked for, all timings will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

E-mail: stevechik@talktalk.net with your preferred start time.

Ye noble Diggers all stand up now, stand up now! We need your help!

Join our team of volunteers at this year’s festival

Wigan Diggers' Festival Volunteers

Just a few of the volunteers who help to make sure that the Festival takes place each year.

As every year our festival has got bigger, so the demands on the festival committee and our fantastic team of volunteers who help out on the day has grown with it. This year promises to be no different, with a host of jobs that need doing not only on the day of the festival itself, but also in preparing the site on Friday and clearing everything away on Sunday.

If you can help in any way, and we really do need it, especially from 8.00am on Saturday morning as stall holders arrive and right through to 10.00pm in the evening then please download this Excel spreadsheet and return it to us a.s.a.p.

If you can’t open the file then just e-mail us as your details and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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Please fill in the times you are prepared to volunteer and in what capacity (e.g. Saturday 8th Bar Staff 12.00pm – 4.00pm and/or Sunday 9th Site Clear Up 10.00am – 2.00pm )
WRITE YOUR NAME IN CAPITALS IN THE APPROPRIATE WHITE SPACE & YOUR MOBILE No. so we can contact you if we have any queries) (SEE BELOW)
If you agree to volunteer for a minimum of 4 HOURS then you will receive £10 Food/Beer Tokens PLUS a FREE festival T-SHIRT.
Send your completed spreadsheet to wigandiggers@gmail.com (cc stevechik@talktalk.net)

The spreadsheet is easy to fill in and looks like this: (Your data will remain confidential)

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Thanking you in anticipation of your support.

Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee

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22 Live Acts at this year’s Diggers’ Bolton Bash

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Wigan Diggers’ Festival organisers extend a warm welcome to all socialists and other working class radicals to come and join us at this year’s FREE Promo Gig at Bolton Socialist Club, Wood Street on Saturday 28th July from 3.00pm onwards

The 22 Live performers include:

Woski, Nat Clare, Claire Mooney, Dave Puller, Flynn Murnan,
Paul Blackburn, Dean Lane, Pauline Blackburn, Gordon Zola,
Crows of Albion, Dave Morgan, Carol Robson, Simon Widdop,
Pete Stevenson, Eve of Destruction, The Nearly Dead Poets,
Dwane Reads, Lee Harrison, Andy N, John Wilmington, Amanda Steele & host Jeffarama.

 
Come join us at the Socialist Club for a fun packed day of live music and poetry to help celebrate the radical 17th Century “Diggers” movement, who were described by Tony Benn as “the first true Socialists”.

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/471015663345323/

Much more than digging….much more than a music fest!

IMG_0958Much more than digging …… much more than a music fest!

The Blockheads, Merry Hell and Barnstormer 1649 (featuring Attila The Stockbroker) will top the bill at this year’s festival commemorating the locally born pioneer socialist thinker and 17th century Diggers’ movement leader Gerrard Winstanley.

Our 8th annual FREE festival also features a fantastic line up of other acts over two stages including:

The Commoners’ Choir, Joe Solo, Bard Company, Patrick McKenzie, The Amber List, Gerry Ffrench, T E Yates, Jupiter Hollow Blues Band, Rare Oul’ Times, Joe Astley, Brandon Lee Webb Band and Eliza P & The Disco Misfits.

The event will start as traditionally with a symbolic digging re-enactment in Gerrard Winstanley Gardens, with guest actor Brendan Delaney playing the role of the Wigan born radical, who repeats some of his famous words from April 1649.

As on previous occasions he will be accompanied by members of the Bolton Clarion Socialist Choir who will lead the singing of Winstanley’s “Diggers’ Song” and “The World Turned Upside Down” by Leon Rosselson, a song which tells the story of The Diggers, made famous by Billy Bragg.

There will also be a range of other activities including entertainment for children, the details of which have yet to be finalised. Watch out for updates in the coming weeks including details of the various educational talks and guest appearances at this year’s festival.

Please help us publicise this year’s event by sharing this post on social media. Copies of this year’s festival flyer are also available for distribution at your workplace, union branch or in your locality. Please e-mail: wigandiggers@gmail.com for copies if you’d like some.

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