6th annual ‘Merthyr Rising’ festival: great music and strong left line-up

The sixth annual Merthyr Rising festival – the fastest-growing urban festival in Wales – will be held during the second bank holiday weekend next month and promises great music and a strong left flavour.

The festival is a venue for music and ideas, celebrating working-class culture and resistance in the birthplace of the red flag. The 2018 event saw 2,500 people from Wales, the rest of the UK and from as far away as Australia in attendance – and culminated in a stunning performance in Penderyn Square by Welsh rockers The Alarm.

This year, alongside internationally-renowned musical acts such as Black Grape, The Sugarhill Gang/ Furious Five and Cast, there will be a whole host of eclectic music from the political rap of Lowkey, Jamaican roots artist Brushy One String to the soulful, progressive rock of Du Bellows – more than 50 music acts in total.

Merthyr Rising also supports and encourages grassroots political engagement, with a range of debates and talks which mirror the festival’s left ethos. The focus this year is on issues affecting working-class people directly.

Key debates this year will include:

• Why do working-class people vote Tory?
• Journalism and media bias: the state of the fourth estate.
• The working-class game: politics in football.
• The land of song? Is instrumental/music education becoming elitist?
• Fighting fascism: challenging the rise of the right.

Confirmed speakers include Paul Mason, Kerry-Anne Mendoza, Neville Southall, Steve Howell, and Martin Shipton among others. The Sunday will also see the continuation of two festival traditions: a Trade Union march through the town and a history walk with local historian Viv Pugh.

The festival site is also growing, with a new dedicated dance tent, a larger tent for the UNITE/SIMA Stage (focusing on new, original music) and an improved family area with a stage for children’s entertainment.

There is also a renewed focus on accessibility, with the festival working alongside ‘People First’, who aim to reduce stigma towards people with
learning difficulties, and the provision of a ‘rest area’ for anyone who needs a quiet space.

Merthyr Rising regularly receives commendation for being safe, friendly and welcoming. It will run 24-26 May in Penderyn Square, Merthyr Tydfil. Tickets can be ordered from http://www.merthyrrising.uk/tickets.

The SKWAWKBOX has received no incentive or reward for this article.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. Sorry to have to post here, but why is there no ‘comment’ option on the JLM story? (Berger’s role)

    1. I agree and I would wish specifically to take issue with the idea that affiliates of labour should not be allowed to have as members people who are members of parties other than labour. Trade Unions have members of all parties unfortunately. I hold nothing but contempt for JLM and am on the hard left of the party but we should counter opponents by argument not beurocracy, and whilst expecting affiliates to stick to their constitutions, should not engage in double standards

      1. Interesting. Hadn’t even considered the issue in terms of Tory members being able to exert influence on Labour via union affiliation.
        You make a very strong argument for dumping the block voting system, Andy.
        Maybe we could make up for it by renaming the May Day bank holiday “Union Day.”
        It’s not as if unions’ early histories entitle them to permanent rights over Labour.

      2. “Trade Unions have members of all parties unfortunately.”

        Different issue entirely. And I wouldn’t want it any other way – unless I wanted to discredit unionism.

      3. Tories influencing labour policy through TU membership is no different if not more influential than through socialist society membership. As a vice chair of the SHA I am happy that we have members/supporters of other socialist parties/currents. Tories would have difficulty signing up to our aims and objectives as they should those of TUs. Goose…gander?

  2. I would have commented too but I imagine Skwawkbox doesn’t want to risk anyone crossing any lines.
    Not unreasonable I think?

    1. Agreed and I feel we should respect SB postion on this and not comment further as no doubt things here are being monitiored for any excuse to use against JC .

  3. Merthyr’s four hours away so I won’t be going 🙁
    On the bright side I won’t be blocking anyone’s view 🙂

Leave a Reply