A DAY of music is being held in Bolton to celebrate the life of a 17th century political activist.

More than a dozen acts will perform at Bolton Socialist Club, Wood Street, between 2pm and 10pm this Saturday in honour of Wigan-born Gerrard Winstanley.

The line-up for the free event will include folk and punk headline band, Headsticks, singer/ songwriter Alun Parry, punk poet Jeffarama, comedian Rich Davenport and Bolton Clarion Choir.

Gerrard Winstanley, who lived from 1609 to 1676, was an English Protestant religious reformer and political activist who founded the socialist group, True Levellers, who became known as Diggers because of their attempts to farm on common land.

This weekend’s event in Bolton, which follows on from last year’s at the Dog and Partridge, Manor Street, is a taster ahead of the 4th annual Wigan Diggers’ Festival on Saturday, September 13.

The event, to be held in The Wiend area of Wigan, is expected to attract up to 2,000 people.
Stephen Hall, from the Wigan Diggers' Festival Committee who lives in Atherton, said: “It’s open to anybody.

“Headsticks, the headline band are a fantastic group, you only have to look at their stuff on YouTube.

“We’ve got some really good poets. We call them poets but many of them are comedians.

“We have got a couple of comedians, a variety of bands.

“It’s a bit of history and celebrating a good bunch of people from the past.

“Whatever background you are from, you should get something out of it.

“Plus we have got food on and a bar and a good bunch of people.”

Last May, the Wigan Diggers’ Festival Committee gave its inaugural Ged Winstanley Spade award to politician Tony Benn, before the former cabinet minister and veteran left-wing campaigner’s death earlier this year at the age of 88.

This year the committee has agreed to bestow the honour on Bolton actress Maxine Peake for her contribution to socialism.

The free Diggers’ mini-festival will take place at Bolton Socialist Club, Wood Street, between 2pm and 10pm on Saturday.