It is with great sadness that we report the death, last Thursday, of the Wigan Diggers’ Festival and North West folk scene stalwart Joan Blackburn. She was loved by so many people and will be sorely missed by them all.
Our deepest condolences go out to her family and close friends. We share in their sorrow with love, friendship, and support.
As a tribute to Joan, here’s the words to a song penned by Terry Kinney which helps to express our thoughts of her at this sad time.
A Song for Joan
Details of her funeral will be posted when they become known.
RIP – Joan Blackburn
Here’s the second of the three videos commissioned by the Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee, produced for us by First Take in Liverpool. This one features many familiar faces from our annual event, as well as the excellent new song “Come on England” composed by Festival Committee member Bob Kettle, performed by local band and former festival headliners Merry Hell. Hope to see lots of you there again this year.
Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee would like to invite you to this year’s Bolton ‘Warm Up’ Bash at the Socialist Club, Wood Street, Bolton on Saturday 22nd July.
The event will take place between 3.00pm and 10.30pm.
We have a great bill of guest performers including: The Earthquakers, Road to Poppyville, James Holt, Gary O’Gorman, Charlotte Mary, Gareth Evans, Tony Harper, Ian Whiteley, Gordon Zola, Daniel Dwyran, Stephen Gall, Andy N, Potting Shed Pete, John Wilmington and our regular Master of Ceremonies Jeffarama.
Hopefully see of you there.
If you would like to book a stall for your organisation, community group, co-operative or small business at this year’s festival then please download Wigan Diggers’ Festival 2017 – Stall Application Form, complete as appropriate and return, along with your payment to the address provided.
Prospective stallholders are advised to book their pitch, tables, gazebos, chairs, etc, as soon as possible to avoid missing out, as the demand for space is growing year on year.
Eyup folks, here’s this year’s festival flyer, which we will be distributing at this weekend’s Manchester and Salford May Day events, including Saturday’s ‘Defend Our NHS March’ which assembles at 11.00am at All Saints, Oxford Road, Manchester, for those of you who can make it.
Starring Ken Loach, Jimmy McGovern and a cast of thousands
First of three videos commissioned by the Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee, produced for us by First Take in Liverpool. A big thanks to Jane Farley and her team for their sterling work.
The 7th Wigan Diggers’ Festival will take place on Saturday 9th September 2017
Are you a songwriter or would you like to perform at this year’s event? If so, then this is for you!
If you are a solo entertainer, duo, group or band and would like to peform at this year’s Festival, then here is the application-for-playing-at-wigan-diggers-festival-2017 form you need to fill in and return to us before 31st March 2017. Successful applicants will be notified will be notified by 30th April.
Please email the application with any attachments to email@example.com
WIGAN DIGGERS’ FESTIVAL SONGWRITING COMPETITION
The Wigan Diggers’ Festival exists to promote the ideas of Wigan born Gerrard Winstanley, the inspirational leader of the 17th century Diggers’ Movement. Winstanley believed that “The Earth was a Common Treasury For All” and that all its inhabitants should benefit from the riches that it has to offer, rather than being the preserve of a privileged few.
2017 sees the 80th Anniversary of the publication of ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ in which George Orwell highlighted the extent to which, almost 3 centuries on from Winstanley, the living conditions of the working class inhabitants of Wigan showed that, whatever prosperity abounded in Britain, that it was hardly being shared equally amongst its citizens.
To celebrate the publication of the book and the impact that it had, the Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee are inviting submissions of songs inspired by Orwell’s groundbreaking work.
£250 FOR THE WRITER(S) OF THE WINNING SONG
AN INVITATION TO PERFORM THE SONG AT THE WIGAN DIGGERS’ FESTIVAL 2017
1: THE SONG MUST BE AN ORIGINAL PIECE OF WORK
2: THE SONG SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THE COMMITTEE ON OR BEFORE THE 8TH MARCH 2017.
3: THE SUBMISSION CAN BE IN ANY PERFORMANCE FORMAT – AN AUDIO FILE OR A VIDEO OF THE SONG BEING PERFORMED. IT IS PERMITTED TO SUBMIT A LINK TO A SOCIAL MEDIA SITE SHOWING THE PERFORMANCE OF THE SONG – FOR EXAMPLE A LINK TO A YOUTUBE UPLOAD
4: ENTRIES SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO firstname.lastname@example.org
5: ENTRIES SHOULD INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
THE NAME(S) OF THE SONGWRITER(S)
A COPY OF THE LYRICS OF THE SONG
AN ATTACHMENT OR LINK TO A PERFORMANCE OF THE SONG
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE RECORDING QUALITY OF THE SONG IS NOT BEING JUDGED – IT IS THE MUSICAL AND LYRICAL CONTENT OF THE SONG THAT IS IMPORTANT. THE COMMITTEE INCLUDES A NUMBER OF WRITERS AND PERFORMERS AND THEY WILL BE ABLE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE SONG AND THE METHOD OF PRESENTATION.
6: THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED BY THE END OF MAY
7: THE COMMITTEE IS MADE UP OF PEOPLE WHO EACH HAVE A SINGLE VOTE – NO PERSON WILL HAVE MORE INFLUENCE THAN ANY OTHER PERSON
8: THE DECISION OF THE COMMITTEE IS FINAL AND NO CORRESPONDENCE WILL BE ENTERED INTO REGARDING THE SONGS SUBMITTED.
9: WRITERS OF ALL SONGS SUBMITTED (INCLUDING THE WINNER, WILL RETAIN ALL RIGHTS TO THEIR OWN SONG.
Quite definitely our biggest and best so far, this year’s Wigan Diggers’ Festival was a resounding success. Here are some photos of the day’s proceeding (courtesy of Al Balmer) which saw our best ever line up of live entertainment, five excellent educational talks, two puppet shows, over 60 stalls and a terrific speech from this year’s Gerrard Winstanley Spade Award recipient, veteran Socialist fim director Ken Loach (see below). The weather, food and beer were pretty good too.
Lots more photos on our Facebook Page.
Video of Ken Loach speaking at the Festival. What a brilliant speech.
More photos and video clips to follow.
Come & enjoy our best ever line up of live entertainment.
More educational talks – lots of new stalls – more stuff for the kids – and a presentation to Ken Loach
Here are the final details of the programme for this year’s Wigan Diggers’ Festival, which coincides with the 340th Anniversary of the death of Gerrard Winstanley, the Wigan born leader of 17th century radical movement known as “The Diggers“, who were referred to by the late Tony Benn, as the “first true socialists“.
This year’s main festival sponsors are A big thanks to them, plus to all our many other trades union branch and regional sponsors, stall holders, artists, speakers and festival volunteers for making our annual FREE to the public event to celebrate Gerrard Winstanley & The Diggers possible.
Facebook Event Page:
PLEASE SHARE & INVITE YOUR FRIENDS
THIS YEAR’S GERRARD WINSTANLEY SPADE AWARD WINNER
is film director, campaigner and lifelong socialist KEN LOACH
Ken will receive his “outstanding contribution to the Diggers’ cause” award at around 1.00pm from previous winners Maxine Peake (2014) & Jimmy McGovern (2015) on behalf of the Festival Committee.
Tony Benn was the first recipient of the award in 2013.
6th Wigan Diggers’ Festival – More about this year’s performers.
Diggers’ Festival – Site Map & Stall Location, etc
FESTIVAL SITE LOCATION IN WIGAN TOWN CENTRE
The Diggers’ Festival site (A) is less than 5 minutes walk from Wigan Bus Station (between Market Street & Hallgate) and both of the town’s railway stations. Turn left out of Wallgate station, right out of Wigan North Western.
The best place to park your car (if you’re coming by car) is in the multi-storey car park on Wallgate immediately adjacent (left hand side looking from front) to Wigan North Western railway station. It’s only £3 all day and again less than 5 minutes walk away from our main festival site.
It’s packed with background info about The Diggers, Levellers and OUR LOCAL HERO Gerrard Winstanley, also about how to get involved.
Here are a few extracts. You can view the entire brochure at: New – 6th Wigan Diggers’ Festival Commemorative Brochure
A MESSAGE OF SUPPORT from JEREMY CORBYN & WELCOME……….
WATCH THIS SPACE FOR FURTHER UPDATES