|The festival began with the opening of an exhibition in Wakefield's iconic cathedral, showcasing marching banners historic and modern, a proud display of the trade union heritage of the local area. The exhibition gave a real sense of the historic nature of the struggle for the rights of working people and the festival's own place in that history.
Monday evening was time for Speaking Up For Suffrage, an evening of creative workshops and spirited spoken word performances. Local and nationally renowned poets performed on themes of 'women and suffrage' and consent. Many participants walked away having written their first ever poem, perhaps the next Benjamin Zephaniah among them!
Creativity continued to flourish later on in the week with the Designing Protest workshop held at the famous Red Shed. Many people came along to design their very own sashes, as well as to discuss the significant role of images, symbols, banners and sashes in shaping protest movements in the past and how this could be applied to today.
Following the theme, Saturday saw kids and adults alike having a go at printing their own placards using famous protest slogans and images from history. It was a great afternoon: anyone and everyone was stuck in choosing colours, phrases and pictures to customise their very own placard or poster to take away with them.
The festival came to a close with a final event in lead up to the Banners Held High march on Sunday. Special Measures entertained a large crowd as well as speaking enthusiastically on public ownership of our NHS.
The festival was an all-round success: well-attended and lively. The history and culture of trade unionism was celebrated with wholeheartedness; onwards to next year!