The Left Field at Glastonbury Festival 2008.
This year saw a number of reps and full time officials visit Glastonbury Festival to distribute information, talk about our ongoing issues with management and for Liverpool rep Mark Barker to be resident DJ in The Left Field throughout the weekend.
The Left Field is the hub of the political and socialist side of Glastonbury. The majority of bands on the line up are acts that fighting for the same socialist ideas as PCS. Anti slavery, Anti racism and Miscarriages of Justice where all highlighted on different evenings of the festival. Speakers from the trade union movement, Tony Benn, political films and visuals all contributed to make this the best ever year for The Left Field.
Thursday was a very busy day for us all, a packed out tent meant that we managed to get lots of people to sign our petition over our ongoing pay dispute as well as a number of T-shirts flying off the stall. Hugh Lanning spoke regarding PCS and our work with overseas trade unions and Mark Barker spoke regarding the staff working in The National Museums in Liverpool and the derogatory pay offer they have had imposed upon them. Headlining the stage where The Levellers who had the tent packed out with many more left outside, throughout the day there where brilliant performances from The Carnival Collective, The Rascals and the brilliant King Blues.
Friday was considerably calmer and quieter in the Left Field, however the highlight was young members coordinator, Tracy Edwards who spoke at the Miscarriages of Justice night, Tracy then was lucky enough to announce on stage the amazing Holloway’s. Neville Staple formerly of The Specials and the bizarre Beans on Toast where the highlights throughout the day, which was unfortunately a bit wet.
Saturday, the sun is out and its Rock Against Racism evening, with Mark Serwotka speaking on anti racism work and the importance of all socialists working together for a united goal, as always Marks speech was very well received and supported. Reverend and the Makers and Jim Bob from Carter USM play cracking sets this evening, however the attraction of sun and Jay Z on the main stage and Massive Attack on the second stage meant that none of the bands really got the support in numbers they deserved however this did not stop all the bands through out the weekend really going for it.
Sunday, was windy but sunny and saw once again all the reps and officials in full swing, badges, bags and loads of information was distributed as well as getting loads of signatures on our petition. Once again Mark Serwotka was on stage speaking as a panellist on one of Tony Benn’s legendary Left Field Rallies. Once again a packed tent saw Mark Serwotka discuss how the trade union movement needs to unite and move forward in our battles with unscrupulous employers. The Beat played a fantastic set to get the crowd wound up for Left Field favourite Billy Bragg. Billy as always pulled a big crowd and it did not take long for him to start ripping into the BNP, new labour and mistreatment of prisoners which as always was fantastically received.
The Left Field manages to capture the radical spirit of Glastonbury; it is great at promoting social justice and the values of the trade union movement in both this country and overseas. The Left Field is an integral part of the festival and it’s as important as the main stage or the Green Fields. Long may it continue?
It was a great privilege to work at Glastonbury with Tracy, James, Heather, Steve and Chris as well as Hugh and Mark and an equally great privilege to be asked to represent PCS on stage as resident DJ. I hope we can take the good work we have done this year, work on it, develop it and return next year to keep PCS as one of the major supporters of The Left Field at Glastonbury Festival.