Tuesday August 11, 2020
For the road ahead

Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival 2020 starts this Friday


With just a few days to go, the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival is set to take place online from this Friday. The three-day festival, live streamed across Facebook and Youtube, will be filled with debates and historical lectures, radical films, plenty of music, a kid's activities area and voices from the trade union movement.

Culminating in a virtual banner procession, the Festival will bring workers, friends and families together to celebrate the trade union movement, and commemorate the six agricultural workers who were punished and sent to the colonies simply for forming a union.

The event usually held in Dorset every July had been cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis and lockdown restrictions. 

Now, the virtual festival will still be held on the same days as the original (July 17, 18 and 19).

Sessions include the future of education and skills, building back better, black lives matter, and human rights.

Speakers taking part in the festival include: Angela Rayner, Shami Chakrabarti, Emily Thornberry, Marvin Rees, as well as many leading voices and general secretaries from the trade union movement.  And visitors will be able to watch exclusive sets from popular performers such as Billy Bragg, Eliza Carthy, The Scribes, Beans on Toast and much more!

Festival organiser and Regional Secretary of the TUC South West Nigel Costley said:

"Tolpuddle has always been more than simply music and politics. It's a gathering of like-minded people, a joyous celebration of trade union solidarity - and that's what we're hoping to reflect online.

"We have a full programme of topical debates, a full programme of films and a full programme of music ranging from those who would have played this year's event to those who we welcome back from previous festivals - all performing exclusive sets for us.

"We'll still be covering the wreath-laying ceremony, and encouraging families and comrades to design and post pictures of their banners so they can join the virtual procession on Sunday afternoon.

"And of course, we'll be joined by familiar faces from the trade union movement to add that special Tolpuddle touch and show of solidarity.

"With big thanks to our unions and sponsors, we've made sure all our performers are paid a proper wage. We've never asked anyone to work for free - and we won't start now."

To watch live, visit the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/tolpuddlemartyrs/ or the Tolpuddle Martyrs youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDOAwtzkFvbwr3YH00vB5mA .

For more information and to join in the debates and lectures visit: www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/festival



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