Raise Your Banners

What the festival is about

The world of artistic expression and political action has a long and distinguished tradition. Artists have found their voice in music and song and in many other forms.

Anger and frustration at injustice and inequality have long been a powerful motivator for artists. They have used their talents to challenge, question and comment upon political, social and economic conditions. Exposure to, and involvement in, these challenges has itself brought about changes in people. Expressions of solidarity with those who fight injustice and inequality have become a focus for political activity. Movements have grown.

In England, as in other countries, we have a history of dissent that is rarely incorporated into the curricula of our schools. It is a history our children rarely learn. People who openly struggle to change the established order are, if they are mentioned at all, labelled “revolutionary”, and dismissed. Yet they too are traditionalists. They belong to a different tradition. It is a tradition not of power, hierarchy and obedience, but of justice, equality and freedom.

It is the aim of Raise Your Banners to give expression to this tradition and this community, which extends across the world.

It aims to bring together as many musicians as possible who share these ideals and give voice to this form of commitment.

It provides for musicians, professional and amateur, from this country and abroad, to display their talents and celebrate the power of political music in its many forms and genres.

It provides, too, a weekend of fun and solidarity.

It reminds us that however isolated we may feel individually, there is a community that is worldwide, of people who share our commitments, our values and our optimism.