Wigan Diggers’ Fest Looking Good – Here’s What We’re Saying At It!

Apologies for the lack of posts recently on the Wigan BGS Blog. That’s because we’ve all been very busy with a raft of things, not least the preparations for the forthcoming Wigan Diggers’ Festival on Saturday which we are this year the main sponsors of.

We are not however of course, the only sponsor, and are more than happy to acknowledge that without the financial and other support of a broad range of organisations including Wigan Trades Council, Wigan & Bolton Unison, Leigh UNITE the Union Branch, Wigan West & Wigan Central Labour Party members and a quite a few other trades union branches and other sympathetic political organisations, plus the volunteer efforts of a broad range of individuals and organisations, including all the performers, members of our Wigan & South East Lancs CAMRA Branch and a whole host of people too numerous to mention here, Saturday’s festival, to celebrate and raise public awareness of what all of us believe is Wigan’s most historically famous, and politically influential export, would simply not be taking place.

Indeed, the staging of the entire festival has been one huge collective effort by lots of people, which everyone involved should be thoroughly praised and applauded for. As someone said: “If the festival is half as good as the programme, it’ll be fantastic!”

Top of the bill is punk poet and musician Attila The Stockbroker who will be performing a medley of “The Levellers’ March“, “The Diggers’ Song” and “A World Turned Upside Down” as part of his 45 minute set.

The festival will also include 23 other on and off stage performances by two professional actors, three excellent poets, ten solo artists, two choirs, two duos and four top local bands.

In addition to the live music there will be a film showing, two audio visual presentations, day long exhibition, a symbolic, part theatrical ‘digging re-enactment’ and tree planting ceremony, with a actor John Graham Davies playing the part of Wigan born pioneer Socialist Gerrard Winstanley who along with the 17th Century Diggers’ movement he was the principal spokesperson of, is the main focus of the entire day’s festivies.

In addition to that, there will also be over 30 food, community, political and other stalls not least of which an ‘OccuPie Wigan’ beer tent offering two locally brewed special commemorative ales to Festival goers, namely Prospect’s Diggers 1649 Ale and Allgates’ Gerrard Winstanley Ale.

Further there will also be a town centre Diggers’ Parade, and a mass singing during the digging re-enactment, led by the Liverpool Socialist Singers, of the some say, Gerrard Winstanley penned “Diggers’ Song” and Leon Rosselson’s “A World Turned Upside Down”, made famous by Billy Bragg in the 1980s, all of which will take place in The Wiend area, in Wigan town centre between 11.30am and noon.

For further details of the Festival programme go to the Wigan Diggers’ Festival website.

The weather forecast is looking good, which combined with all the activities planned, has all the makings of an excellent all round ‘do’ befitting the great Wiganer.

Here’s a copy of the leaflet we will be putting out at the festival which states the Wigan Borough Green Socialists’ broad aims, and advertises our follow on open discussion meeting to the festival on Monday evening at The Anvil pub at 7.30pm, where we will be discussing the subject of the: NEED (or otherwise) FOR A NEW DIGGERS’ MOVEMENT & A NEW GRASSROOTS DRIVEN ALTERNATIVE PARTY OF, FOR & BY THE MAJORITY OF ORDINARY PEOPLE locally and nationally!  – Everyone welcome!

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