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.
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….