When: 15th – 17th July 2016
Where: Tolpuddle, Dorset
£: A weekend pass costs £35. Day passes are also available for Friday and Saturday. Sunday is free to attend
What is it?
The annual Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival takes place in Dorset from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July.
The festival is a mixture of music, politics, films, comedy and poetry. The event is run by the South West TUC and draws crowds of several thousands to the rural Dorset village.
The village of Tolpuddle was home to six farm workers, transported to Australia in 1834 after forming a trade union. After a national outcry, they were pardoned and returned home as free men; enshrining in law the right to join a trade union.
The festival has its own vintage mobile cinema, which will be screening radical films including The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of A Revolution, and Cultures Of Resistance.
Talks and events at this year’s event will include the Trade Union Act, Where Now for Unions?, After the EU Vote, Women and Girls in Education, and Fighting for a Sustainable Food System.
On the Friday evening, singer-songwriter Quiet Loner uses images from the People’s History Museum to tell the story of how the vote was won, in The Battle for the Ballot. On Sunday afternoon there will be a procession through the village, and the laying of a wreath at the grave of James Hammett (one of the martyrs).
Music at this year’s festival is provided by Dreadzone, Tom Robinson, Rob Heron and his Tea Pad Orchestra. There will also be comedy with Kate Smurthwaite, and some open-mic poetry.
Visitors to the Tolpuddle Martyr’s Festival are encouraged to find time to walk through the village to see the places that played their part in the story of the Martyrs. There is a free app, complete with bite-sized re-enactments to help guide people. The trail is narrated by Maxine Peake, who will be attending the weekend.
More info: www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/festival