The Diggers Festival is a celebration of the life, ideas, and actions of Wigan born, Gerrard Winstanley, founder of The Diggers (or True Levellers) Movement, a significant influence on revolutionary political thought and the reason why Wigan can proudly claim to be one of the birthplaces of Socialism.
Atilla The Stockbroker’s Barnstormer 1649
Saturday 8th September: Believe Square, Wigan 11am – 9.30pm FREE!
This will be the 8th Diggers Festival. From humble beginnings in a small pub with approximately fifty attendees and participants, last year saw over 4,000 visitors, with a crowd of around 1,500 watching headliners Merry Hell round off proceedings. The growth of the event, to what can now be considered a Northern brother to the more established Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival, means that it now attracts a nationally recognised headline act in The Blockheads, hopefully drawing in more people who will also see a range of excellent artists gracing both stages. Multi Award-winning folk rockers Merry Hell will make a return by public demand, along with The Commoners Choir, with whom they will briefly share the stage prior to their own set! Atilla The Stockbroker’s new project Barnstormer 1649 will use the festival to launch their new album that features his trademark punk-folk lyricism with a selection of historical instruments. Political troubadour Joe Solo will be presented with an award for his outstanding efforts in continuing work in the ethos and image of Gerrard Winstanley. The We Shall Overcome movement he inspired has run hundreds of gigs and raised huge amounts of money and goods to support those worst affected by austerity and most needing a little of the equality that Winstanley advocated. Local musicians are well represented with Lawrence Hoy, a familiar name to many in the North West Folk parish, appearing for the second year, this time in his duo guise as Rare Ould Times. Not a man to hide his political light under a bushel, Lawrence also won last year’s songwriting prize, celebrating 80 years since the publication of George Orwell’s Road To Wigan Pier. Recent Folk North West cover star Gerry Ffrench will also be in attendance along with a whole host more – all details on that internet.
So there you have it. If Winstanley’s ideals chime with your own, come on down and celebrate with many a like minded soul. If the politics are not wholly to your liking, then there’s still good music to be enjoyed and possibly the chance of a Damascene moment!
If you do come and enjoy, the whole event is funded by donations, sponsorship and beer sales! So don’t ignore the buckets being passed around or the bar with its selection of real ale and other, lesser drinks.
The Amber List
Jupiter Hollow Band
Brandon Lee Webb Band
Eliza P and the Disco Misfits
The Joe Astley Band
Festival website: https://wigandiggersfestival.org/