Stop The War Coalition’s Chris Nineham on the importance of politics at festivals

"We can’t afford not to be political"

Stop The War Coalition co-founder Chris Nineham has spoken on the importance of politics at festivals, after he delivered a powerful speech at Bestival that took aim at Donald Trump and Theresa May.

The anti-war activist encouraged the Bestival crowd to chant “shame on you” at Prime Minister Theresa May, and accused Donald Trump of bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war during the impassioned address.

Speaking to NME afterwards, he hailed Bestival for “celebrating peace” and described how the event had given him the chance to address a whole new audience.

“At festivals like this, people are dedicated to celebrating peace while our government is trying to persuade us or control us into supporting more wars and we have a situation that is quite polarised”, he said.

“I think the vast majority of people are against wars and the elites and politicians seem to be addicted to them. I just think, it’s not necessarily an audience that regularly goes to demos or protests but I guess a lot of them do, to be honest.”

Chris Nineham spoke to NME at Bestival

“It’s about reaching about beyond the ranks of the organised activists and getting new people involved which is obviously very important”, he added.

Nineham also defended the importance of speaking at festivals, after Jeremy Corbyn was accused of “politicising” Glastonbury with a huge speech on the Pyramid Stage earlier this year.

“I just think we can’t afford not to be political. The truth is that the situation that young people in particular face is frightening”, he said.

“There’s a danger on so many levels. People are surviving on food banks, the education system is in chaos, the NHS is cracking up and falling apart and yet there’s so much wealth in society.

“It’s a crazy time and I think anyone who says that young people or anyone else shouldn’t be political at the moment is doing society a disservice.

“If we leave politics to the politicians frankly we’re in a terrible state because Westminster is backed by corporations who support war and who are completely irresponsible. They’ve got no sense of how to take society forward at all. This is a moment where if we don’t have people power then things are going to go very badly wrong.

“I am absolutely against anyone who says that culture shouldn’t be political. It has to be, because we’re facing real catastrophes on a whole number of different levels.”

Check back at NME for the latest news, reviews, interviews and more from Bestival 2017.