May Day 2020

May Day Festival Of Solidarity returns to Old School House, Barnsley on Sunday May 3rd and we have a BANGER for you.

We have music from The Wakes, Dakka Skanks, Jess Silk, Eight Rounds Rapid, Steve White & The Protest Family, Naomi Bedford & Paul Simmonds, Chuck SJ Hay, Parson’s Lot, Del Scott Miller, The Hurriers and Joe Solo.

Our comperes are the fantastic Poetry On The Picket Line, and Barnsley Sime is back at the decks to DJ.

We have speakers from the BFAWU and Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign with more to be confirmed.

Tickets are a bargain £10 and available on this link….

Be great to see you there!!

May Day Festival Of Solidarity 2019

May Day 2019 Poster

May Day Festival Of Solidarity returns in 2019 with an absolute BANGER.

We have returned to the one-day format of 2016 and hit our spiritual home Old Schoolhouse in Barnsley on Sunday May 5th with a blinding line-up we simply cannot wait to see.

Check out the poster and we think you’ll agree.

That is one heck of a day, and at a bargain price.


They are available on this link:

May Day Festival Of Solidarity 2018 in Words & Pictures

MD Moods 4

Probably THE defining image of May Day Festival Of Solidarity 2018; The Moods close us out by blowing the roof off Old School House and STORMING it!

What a weekend! One act after another taking their cues and raising the bar for the next. Tony and me choose who we book very carefully so each is a master of their craft, but not even we could have anticipated what happened over a weekend of sheer magic.

I’ve said it before, but there is something very special about this festival. The spirit of togetherness and respect; the blend of music, poetry and speeches; I don’t know what it is, but we have something genuinely unique here and year after year it just blows us away.

A massive thank you to our speakers: Wayne Gilmore for Barnsley Trades Council; John Dunn for Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign; Vicky Blake for UCU; Mairead Canavan for NEU; Mick Lanaghan for Save Hatfield Main Headgears; Sarah Woolley for BFAWU; Val Colvin for We Shall Overcome; Aneesa Akbar for the Labour Party; and the lads from the FCC picket in Hull who made grown men weep with their explanation as to why they are on strike. Each impassioned and inspirational, and each a much-needed reminder that we have multiple struggles to fight out there.

To our INCREDIBLE poets who wowed us with their words time and time again: Laura Taylor; Matt McAteer; Kev Titterton; and Chip and Nadia from Poetry On The Picket Line whose campaigns in London on the front line of the fight for fair pay and conditions is an inspiration to all.

And the music? Well the music was a joy and an inspiration from start to finish; whether the songwriting finesse on display, the fists in the air anthems, the raw energy, the fearlessness, the ability to shift gear, to tease us all in, or just to plain old entertain; no matter what it was they had it. So step forward (in no particular order) Jess Silk, Quiet Loner, Chuck SJ Hay, Paul Carbuncle, Rebekah Findlay, TV Smith, The Wakes, Reg Meuross, Headsticks, Merry Hell, Ribbon Road and The Moods (Joe Solo and The Hurriers too, but we don’t count). Each played a massive part in keeping the spirit of solidarity crackling in the air from the first second to the last.


….and we mustn’t forget one of THE moments of the weekend when an entire room sang Happy Birthday to a cardboard cut-out puppet of Karl Marx thanks to the amazing Ian Saville……you probably had to be there.

MD14 Ian Saville

But it’s the spirit of solidarity that really shines through, the moments that stay with you. The tingle down the spine as Ribbon Road got us all singing ‘Be good to each other….’; or the FCC lads talking picket lines with The Hatfield Brigade; or Tony Kinsella‘s excitement at getting his photo taken with The Wakes. This is the stuff that makes memories.

And a festival is NOTHING without the amazing people who turn up and support it and give it that atmosphere that everyone takes home with them. A big THANK YOU to every last one of you for being there and being ace x

Once again, on behalf of Tony and myself, we must extend our heartfelt thanks to Marcus Ward and all the staff at Old School House for keeping the stage running and the beer pouring, and an added shout-out to our comperes Graham Rhodes and Chip Hamer who dealt with what is probably the hardest job of the lot with wit and wisdom and kept us laughing and thinking throughout.

I can honestly say hand on heart that the last three years have been utterly incredible and those memories just keep getting made.

So from Tony and myself our eternal gratitude for making May Day Festival Of Solidarity 2018 such a massive success and one last shout-out to the good folks whose cameras and phones captured these images for us: Paul and Lindsay Rutland, Pete Yen, Tony Kinsella, Val Colvin, Mike Antrobus, Jenny Fuller, Matt Hill and Paul Dickinson.

So will we be back for more next year?

Bet your ass we will.

Put May 4th and 5th 2019 in your diaries and watch this space….


MD3 Tony and Joe

May Day Festival Of Solidarity 2018

We’re delighted to announce May Day Festival of Solidarity returns to The Old School House in Barnsley over the weekend of May 5th/6th, and we have a PHENOMENAL bill for you. We have music from Merry Hell, The Wakes, TV Smith, Headsticks, The Moods, Reg Meuross, Chuck SJ Hay, Under A Banner, Tracey Curtis, Ribbon Road, Quiet Loner and Rebekah Findlay….plus The Hurriers and Joe Solo seeing as how they are already there; we have poetry from Laura Taylor, Kevin Titterton, Matt McAteer and Poetry On The Picket Line; and we have the amazing Ian Saville, the Marxist Magician. Plus we have the usual invited speakers from unions and campaigning groups out there fighting for social justice and worker’s rights 24/7.

Tickets are available on the link below priced £15 for a day ticket and £20 for the weekend (subject to a small booking fee on the website, sadly)

Be great to see you supporting us!

May Day Festival of Solidarity 2017 in words and pictures…..

May Day Festival of Solidarity 2017 was just incredible. Not just the music and the poetry and the speeches, but the spirit you all brought to the party which went on all weekend and lifted all involved. Here’s the story in pictures brought to you by Ferocious Photography, Paul & Lindsay Rutland, Pete Yen, John Lomas, Bob Oram and anyone I’ve missed forgive me….it has been a whirlwind.

From Tony and myself, we want to say a MASSIVE and heartfelt thank you to everyone involved in May Day Festival of Solidarity 2017 for making it such a fantastic weekend.
To The Men They Couldn’t Hang; Steve Mason; Ken Bonsall; Thee Faction; Robb Johnson; Efa Supertramp; Attila the Stockbroker; Naomi Bedford & Paul Simmonds; Calum Baird; Interrobang‽; Burning Ferns; Blyth Power; Chris T-T; Lilith Ai; April Lodge, Del Scott Miller and Jethro Platts; A Firm Of Poets; The Hurriers; Lily Gaskell; Backyard Burners; Dave Burland; Grigio and Left Ahead…..a huge thank you for first of all being ace, and secondly for sticking to stage times and being so accomodating when we had organisational issues. And a special mention for Paul Frear, Uncle Paf, who stepped in at the last moment to start the whole thing off and was the perfect way to begin. So many highlights over an amazing weekend of music and poetry as set after set hit all the right notes. Thanks everyone.
To our speakers: Sean Mcgowan for RMT; Joe Rollin for Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign; Nic Fitzpatrick for NUT; Pete Deakin for Barnsley Save Our NHS; Dave Gibson for Barnsley Trades Council; George Arthur for Freedom Riders; Fran Postlethwaite for Stand Up To Racism; and Pauline Town for WE SHALL OVERCOME …THANK YOU! You each brought your various struggles to life each giving us the REAL truth behind the headlies.
To Simon Ibbotson for top DJ skills; to our INCREDIBLE comperes who were the glue which held it all together- Jethro Platts, Matt Abbott, Sarah Courtney and John Baine; and to a gargantuan task performed with skills of the highest order on the sound desk- Marcus and Andy. THANK YOU!!!
And lastly to all you good people who came along and clapped and cheered and sang and hollered and smiled and laughed and showed us the kind of solidarity an event like this needs. The spirit in that room throughout the whole weekend was an example to all on what can be achieved when we ALL play our part in something and we all pull together for the common good. Exactly what our festival is all about. You were ace, and we couldn’t have done it without you.
There will be photos and commentary over the coming days, and in the background Tony and myself will be working out plans for the future, but suffice to say May Day Festival of Solidarity will definitely return in 2018.

Perhaps the spirit of the festival is best summed up by this photograph. This is Scott, he is currently homeless and was brought along by Pauline Town to give him a day away from his plight. I love this shot, and I’m just so glad to be a part of a movement that can help put that smile on the face of a young man suffering more than most.

See you next year x

May Day 39 Scott


Almost there….


The bill for May Day Festival of Solidarity 2017 is almost complete. We are proper excited about it and we hope you will be too.

Following the success of last year’s event we wanted to build the festival into a full weekend of music, poetry and speeches so put Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th April in your diary and look out for announcements about tickets very, very soon.

The venue is The Old School House in Barnsley. This is the same venue as last year, but renamed and refitted with two amazing stages which will suit our alternating platforms perfectly and give you non-stop aceness all day.

We have two very special headliners to announce over the coming weeks, but our bill already includes some monumental artists including have Lily Gaskell, Thee Faction, Burning Ferns, Claire Mooney, Grigio, Interrobang‽, A Firm Of Poets, Naomi Bedford, Attila the Stockbroker, Chris T-T, The Wimmins’ Institute, Lilith Ai, The Hurriers, Left Ahead, Efa Supertramp, Robb Johnson, Blyth Power, Dave Burland, Calum Baird and, yes, Joe Solo.

Comperes will be Attila, Jethro Platts and Matt Abbott.

This year we will be making WE SHALL OVERCOME collections of cash, food and warm clothing to pass on to those at the sharp end of the cuts in #FoodBankBritain, so if you can spare a few tins, some socks and gloves or a couple of quid then please feel free to help that side of our campaigning too.

We’ll be posting artist biogs and links to websites and music over the coming weeks to get you all in the mood, and please make sure you share our links and messages to help spread the word. May Day Festival of Solidarity is BACK.

Just as last year we will be mixing speeches from unions and campaigning groups into the program, bringing voices together from up and down the UK to celebrate International Worker’s Day and to compare notes for the struggles ahead.

I know last year’s event was a big hit with those of you who helped pack the place out and gave our festival the perfect start, so we’re hoping you’ll be inspired enough to come back for more.

Make sure you get your tickets early, as we rather think you’ll want to be at this one….

May Day Festival of Solidarity 2017


After the success of the 2016 festival we plan to return bigger, bolder and better in the new year. While Joe has been up to his eyes in We Shall Overcome and plotting Christmas No.1 with the miners, Tony has been furiously sending emails and calling in favours, and things are very much taking shape.

May Day Festival of Solidarity 2017 will take place over the weekend 29th/30th April at The Polish Club in Barnsley with the same format of songs, speeches, poetry and comedy across two stages. Artists booked so far include: Interrobang, Robb Johnson, Thee Faction, Efa Supertramp, Burning Ferns, Lily Gaskell, Lilith Ai, Chris T-T, The Wimmins’ Institute, Grigio, Claire Mooney, Left Ahead, Dave Burland, Attila The Stockbroker, The Hurriers and Joe Solo. 

More confirmations soon and info on tickets to follow.

Put it in your diaries. We’re back.



The first ever MAY DAY FESTIVAL OF SOLIDARITY will take place between 12pm and 10pm on SUNDAY MAY 1ST 2016 at BARNSLEY ROCK & BLUES VENUE, S75 2BA.

The festival will be a celebration of International Worker’s Day, bringing together Socialist voices from up and down the land.

Musicians and poets will join speakers from unions and campaigning groups all coming together in the spirit of unity and defiance.

The two-stage line-up includes: Grace Petrie, The Wakes, The Black Lamps, Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers, Lizzie Nunnery & Vidar Norheim, The Hurriers, Steve White & The Protest Family, Headsticks, Alun Parry, Sheffield Socialist Choir, Quiet Loner, Serious Sam Barrett and Joe Solo with more to be added.

Tickets are £10 with a donation from each going to Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign. They are available from:

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TWITTER: @ComradeRockUK


Email: Tony Wright at or Joe Solo at