A political Pilton: all the big talks, activism and happenings at Glastonbury 2019

People have the power

Speakers and debates

Politics at Glastonbury

Politics in 2019 has once again excelled itself at being a cross between The Thick of It and Brass Eye. If you’re well and truly fed up of Theresa’s tears, Boris’ buses and Jeremy *unt, then it’s time to take yourself to Glastonbury’s Left Field where they’re aiming to ‘Recharge Your Activism’ via a series of brilliant speakers and debates.

All the important issues of the day are up for discussion. At ‘The Hostile Environment – Who’s Responsible?’ the UK’s treatment of refugees is explored with journalist and Windrush activist, Gary Younge. Elsewhere, there’s an event with Lisa Nandy MP – ‘Brexit – How Do We Put Britain Back Together?’- which looks at how the UK can rebuild after one of its most divisive political times. Linked to this is ‘Resist the Rise of Hate’ with campaigners ‘Hope not Hate’ exploring how to challenge fascism.

Recognising the fact that climate change is currently high in the public consciousness thanks to climate protestors like Greta Thunburg, Caroline Lucas MP will be speaking at ‘How To Save Out Planet’ two days after Extinction Rebellion lead a procession through Glastonbury. This year’s speakers promise to be the perfect antidote to the omnishambles.

You can see the full line-up here:

Lots and Lots of Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg

As one of the main curators of The Left Field since 2002, Billy Bragg brings together a variety of speakers and politically charged musicians each year to debate the issues of day: 2019 promises to be his most-reaching event yet. As well as brining speakers together, Bragg is involved in the debates and discussions and performs some of his most politically charged songs too.

Describing this year’s event, Bragg said: “Left Field is back and focussing on the issues that need talking about. “The environment, the rise of the populist left, how the gig economy is pushing people to the margins of society.”

“We’ll also be marking the 50thanniversary of the Stonewall Riots – which falls on the weekend of the festival – with a panel on queer liberation. And we’re backing up our arguments with some great music from young artists who have something to say about the pressures they live under.” Glastonbury just wouldn’t be the same without Billy Bragg.

Extinction Rebellion Procession

Extinction Rebellion

The environmental activist group held a series of high-profile, peaceful protests throughout Central London earlier this year to raise awareness of climate change – and now they’re coming to Glastonbury.

On June 27 at 4pm, Extinction Rebellion will lead a procession through Glastonbury Festival to highlight the threat of climate change. Beginning at the Park Stage, the procession kicks off with a series of talks from guest speakers arguing for immediate action to prevent a global climate disaster.

After that, the procession heads to the Stone Circle where, at 5:30pm, the procession will attempt to assemble the largest ever human hourglass sculpture. And in case you were wondering why, it’s because the hourglass is the logo of the group.

Caroline Lucas is appearing at this year’s Glastonbury

In a statement showing her support for the group, Emily Eavis said: “This is a chance for everybody at the festival who feels passionately about protecting our planet and future generations to be part of a collective moment, before the main stages open up on the Friday.”

She added: “Everyone is invited to join in and listen to some inspiring speakers and send out a message to the world that this is a climate emergency and we need to act now.”

Plenty of political music

Stella Donnelly will be appearing at Glastonbury’s Left Field this year

Over at the Left Field, there are performances planned from many politically charged artists including Arlo Parks, Dream Wife, Billy Bragg, Life, Stella Donnelly, KT Tunstall, Billy Bragg, The Blinders Band, The Wood Burning Savages, Fantastic Negrito, Algiers, Fontaines DC, Queen Zee – plus many more.

With their songs dealing with issues as far-reaching as gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, mental health provisions, poverty, race and Brexit, expect to hear some inspiring political music across the weekend.

You can view the full line-up here.

A Celebration of Pride

Glastonbury crowd

Glastonbury crowd at the 2017 festival

This year, Glastonbury is marking the 50thanniversary of New York’s Stonewall Riots with a series of events. Widely regarded as the birth of the modern LGBTQ movement, the anniversary falls during Glastonbury this year on 28 June.

To mark the occasion, the festival is holding a special debate in the Left Field Tent: ‘Queer Liberation: How Far We’ve Come’. With input from The Kaladeescope Trust, Asifa Lahore, Zena Davine (Queen Zee) and Nim Ralph, the discussion is sure to be far-reaching. There’s also a Pride-themed day throughout Left Field and performances from artists such as Dream Wife and Life, the anniversary is sure to be a memorable one.