Artists and historians at Wigan Diggers Festival

Melanie Roberts from "Oops a Daisy" circus performers at 

Wigan Diggers Festival
Melanie Roberts from "Oops a Daisy" circus performers at Wigan Diggers Festival

One of Wigan’s most influential writers and thinkers was once again celebrated with a spectacular day of music, art and politics in the town centre.

The sixth edition of the Wigan Diggers Festival honouring 17th century radical Gerrard Winstanley once again brought the crowds to the gardens renamed after him and Market Place.

Some of the crowd at the 

Wigan Diggers Festival

Some of the crowd at the Wigan Diggers Festival

Iconic film-maker Ken Loach received the golden shovel award for his work bringing social issues to the screen, organisations including political parties, environmental movements and radical campaigns had stalls and historians gave talks about the the Diggers movement.

The day started with a re-enactment of the digging of common land, in memory of Winstanley’s famous phrase that “the earth was made a common treasury for all”.

Musicians and poets performed on two stages and for the first time the festival’s message was taken to Market Place with dancing, DJs and other live entertainment.

There were also activities for younger visitors with circus performances and puppet theatre, while older festival-goers could enjoy ales brewed especially for the event.

Jimmy McGovern presents Ken Loach with his Spade Award

Jimmy McGovern presents Ken Loach with his Spade Award