The Festival is still on but we must wait and see

It is sad to see Glastonbury and other festivals and public events being called off. The Durham Miners' Gala in July has been cancelled. We know that even if the peak has passed by July, the epidemic may still be on. The health and safety of people shall be the first consideration about the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival but if guidance allows it, we may desperately need a great party as the crisis lifts.

Durham has been called off to relieve pressure on the police and ambulance services that are required in large numbers at the Big Meeting. That is not the case for Tolpuddle.

It is hard to predict where the epidemic will be by July and the mood of the nation may be very different by then. We may have no choice but to cancel and refund anyone who has already booked. But we may also need to mobilise for a very special gathering in the name of solidarity.

We shall be consulting with unions and the local community at every stage but I want us to hold our nerve until much closer to the time even if this incurs further costs.

Stay well, take the advice of your union at this time and keep 17-19 July in your diary.

There has been an annual gathering to mark the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs since 1930s. It began as a Sunday afternoon event with wreaths laid on the grave of James Hammett, followed by a procession of banners and speeches. 

The annual event sees thousands of trade unionists from around the UK and the world descend on the small village of Tolpuddle in Dorset to celebrate the memory of the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the legacy they left behind. 

The Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival reflects the spirit of those prepared to stand up and be counted, and for those just learning about its history. It is a joyful celebration of solidarity.

Read the Story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs here.


Friday 17 - Sunday 19 July 2020

Watch out for Early Bird offers.

You can also keep up to date through the Tolpuddle Martyrs Facebook group


What's on

The weekend-long, family-friendly festival is bursting with topical discussions and lectures from a wide variety of speakers, plenty of music to suit all tastes, food stalls and campaign groups, trade union activities, a delightful children's area, a programme of radical films in a vintage mobile cinema, comedy, drama, and much more!

You can find out what's happening throughout the weekend by date or by theme of events. We will be adding more information as we approach the Festival dates. 

We commemorate the Martyrs throughout the weekend but Sunday is the big day where we continue the tradition of marching through the streets of a quiet Dorset village. 

On this day, after the wreath-laying ceremony, many more thousands of people arrive in the village to participate in the Grand Procession. The highlight of the Festival produces a sea of colourful trade union banners, bands and protests songs. Everyone has some reason to join the procession and everyone has a place.

Because of the history of the traditional rally, we are determined to keep the Sunday free to attend - apart from car parking charges. The cost of the weekend Festival is kept as low as possible thanks to the generous support of the TUC, trade unions and partners. 

If you want to get involved with the Festival, you can apply to volunteer, have a campaign or commercial stall, or perform at the Festival through our website.