Friday 14th July

Camping is open from noon - Book for the weekend here

For more information about camping at Tolpuddle click here

Get into the festival mood with some gentle Friday afternoon music from 2pm.

Friday evening in the Martyrs' Marquee


Chuck SJ Hay

Chuck is a Folk Punk Protest writer hailing from Brighton. Chuck's guitar playing extends far beyond the contemporary and expected style of an acoustic guitarist. The indomitable lead singer of revolutionary punk band Echo and The Beats whose debut album 'Mood Swings' helped them secure several prestige festival slots including Brighton Pride, the UK's largest LGBTQ pride festival, LFest, The Alternative Escape, Something Else Somewhere Else, Surplus, Rockstock and now Tolpuddle. 

Mike Dennis

A classically-trained violinist and poet whose boyhood love of Run DMC, Beastie Boys and Gangstarr led him to create a unique kind of string-heavy hip hop music he refers to as Violinica. 

Sean McGowan Band

24-year-old singer/songwriter/barman from Southampton UK. New single 'No Show' OUT NOW! 

Joli Blon Cajun Band

British Cajun band bringing you traditional toe-tapping Lousiana dance tunes.


Black Water County

Black WaterSmashing their way into the UK folk punk scene since 2013, Black Water County bring an energetic live show of stout quaffing, banjo breaking and tin whistle mangling original music, along with trads and shanties that have been given a good kick up the arse and a slap around the face.

They have two EP releases under their belt: Welcome To The Black Water County (2013) and The Fellowship Of The Craic (2014).



All weekend

cinema logo

Tolpuddle Radical Cinema

Check out the weekend programme of films

Kids' Area

The Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival has a sweet enclosed corner just for kids with a programme of delightful entertainment.

Check out the programme for all the fun and games here

Orchard Meadow

The children's area in teh village is open for a range of activities - check out the programme here

Old Chapel

Visit the original chapel where at least five of the Martyrs worshipped. It is undergoing renovation to creat a new quiet space in the village.

For more information click here

Friday 14th July evening

Tolpuddle Village Hall

From 7pm - but get there early if you want to be sure to get in

Ballad for Southwell

An eight-month creative residency project curated by Lincoln based cultural collective CommonAs, and hosted by the National Trust at The Workhouse, Southwell



Fringe Tent 7pm

Workplace 2020

Chair: Peter Hughes Unite South West Regional Secretary, Adrian Weir Assistant National Secretary CTUF, Prof Keith EwingChristine Blower Workplace 2020 lead a discussion about what work and employment rights should look like in 2020.

Saturday 15th July

POA Hke - Dorchester Prison to Tolpuddle

Prison Officers are banned from taking industrial action and they plan a Hike from Dorchester to Tolpuddle to make the case for the right to strike and highlight the dangerous conditions in our prisons. Meet at the coach layby opposite museum at 10am. Travel by coach to Dorchester Prison with a slow steedy walk back to Tolpuddle (takes approx 3-4 hours). More here

Open Mic - Poetry

12 noon

Dave Toomer and Bob Johnson welcome budding and expereinced poets to the open-mic stage.

Tolpuddle Women

Hear the story of the Tolpuddle Women told by members of Equity. Performances will take place on the main stage at noon, 2pm and 4pm.  Listen out for the Town Crier and give them your support!  Also, look out for their random acts of theatre around the festival site.  You are sure to be surprised and entertained.  


Open Mic - Tolpuddle has Talent

1pm to approx 4.30pm

Big John Reed runs the open mic. No advance booking, just turn up and put your name on the board.



Talking in Tents

The list of discussions is being developed and details below are bound to change with some speakers still to confirm attendance. We will keep the web site up-to-date so watch this space.

The effect of the Russian Revolution on British Trade unionism

Tolpuddle Radical History School and Morning Star session will discuss the impact of the Russian Revolution on British trade unions with Chris Reed Warwick University, John Callow GMB, Liz Payne-Ahmadi and others tbc

Brexit and Trump: are we heading for a climate crash?

Chair: Phil Pearson with Clive Lewis MP tbc and Molly Scott-Cato South West Green MEP

Young workers and unions

Learn about and discuss the TUC's major new initiative to communicate better with young workers and set a path to membership.

Supporting and teaching refugees

Members from the Hamburg and Bremen state branches of the German Education Union - GEW - will give a brief introduction to the challenges inside and outside the education systems. Teachers from Bremen will report on the Education International funded Project 'Teacher's Organising for Quality Education for Refugees'. They will be joined by representatives from South West refugees support organisations.

Will robots do all the jobs?

Are we on the brink of a new revolution in automation? What will the advance of robotics mean for jobs and unions? Chair: Kev Terry with Kate Bell TUC Head of Economic and Social Affairs and Tim Roache GMB General Secretary

Crisis in Education

Cuts in school budgets, the fragmentation and privatisation of the school system, teacher shortages, Further Education funding, the impact of student fees and the pay cap: just some of the issues facing education. 

Women and Brexit

How should we respond to the risk to women's rights from Brexit? Chair: Joanne Kaye with Clare Moody MEP, Catherine Rayner, barrister and Jo Stevens MP

Fair Work Charter

How can we win a new deal for workers? With Paul Nowak TUC Deputy General Secretary

Saturday 11am and 1pm

Village Trail

Meet at the sculpture for a popular guided walk trhough the village with Tony Gould local resident and former National Agricultural Officer for Unite.




Stall holders are invited to have their say by Tim Lezard

UNIZONE - under the trees

A programme of activities and music to be confirmed soon.

Unite Marquee

Skimmity Hitchers5pm

Skimmity Hitchers perform in what has become a favourite slot for Tolpuddle regulars.

Denizens of Dorset, weirdos of the West Country, they are a band of brothers, blaggers and badgers. They play old-fashioned Scrumpy and Western live music with a modern edge. Everyone is welcome to dance and laugh and sing along but be prepared for much sauciness, banter and barracking too, for 'tis all part of the show... 


Tolpuddle Unplugged

From about 7pm Steve White leads an acoustic free-for-all in the Fringe Tent

Martyrs' Marquee

from 7pm

Rory McLeod

Ex-circus clown and fire eater Rory is a one-man soulband, poet and storyteller, singing his own unique upbeat dance stories. A modern travelling troubadour using tap shoes, acappella, harmonica, guitar, trombone, spoons, finger cymbals, bandorea, djembe and various percussion instruments!

Jennifer Reid

A 25-year-old performer of 19th Century Industrial Revolution broadside ballads and Lancashire dialect work songs. After volunteering at Chetham's Library and the Working Class Movement Library, Jennifer completed an Advanced Diploma in Local History at Oxford University.

FrancescaFrancesca Martinez

Fabulous comedian, speaker, writer and challenger of Tories, Francesca is sure to be a hit at Tolpuddle. Martinez has become a respected social commentator, speaking at meetings and demos across the UK, as well as being a key part of the People's Assembly Against Austerity. She has toured with her show, What The **** Is Normal?! and plans a documentary and book in her search for a 'normal' person. She has cerebral palsy but thinks "wobbly" is a lot cooler.

Zoe West and the Hanging Baskets

Hailing from all over the UK, Zoe and the Baskets play high-energy, lyric-drive, indie pop.


EskiesThe Eskies

Their unique brand of folk noir/gypsy jazz/sea shanty and their all screaming, all sweating, swaggering stage spectacle is bound to close the Saturday evening show well. Their music meanders from sea-soaked waltz to Italian tarantella, from brassy funeral march-esque lament to weep along Klezmar knees up, from chain-gang holler to rag-time finger snap. Skipping through the dark side of anything that makes you want to dance, steeped in melodrama and usually with not a small amount of tongue in cheek.

Sunday 16th July 

St John's Church

11am Festival Service and songs of praise - all welcome

Wreath laying

1.15pm Wreath laying at the grave of James Hammett accompanied by the Red Notes Choir, Peter Hicks and Tim Brine and Sue Franklin.




Village Hall 

10am-4.30pm Coffee, cakes, salad lunches and cream teas

Main Stage

10.45am Robb Johnson opens the main stage line-up

Gaz Brookfield with Ben Wain

Gaz Brookfield is a solo acoustic musician based in Bristol. Since winning Acoustic magazine's 2010 Singer Songwriter of the year, he has spent his time on the road, touring the UK and Europe. He joins up with Ben Wain to open this year's Main Stage programme. They may play West Country Song.



O'Hooley and TidowO'Hooley and Tidow

They have the originality and skill to invite comparison with the most celebrated harmony duos. Belinda and Heidi’s powerful, deeply moving and soulful performances are infused with an honesty and empathy that will disarm the hardest of heart. Their latest album Shadows has earned them a place in Mojo’s Top 10 Folk Albums of 2016 for the third time and their third BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nomination for ‘Best Duo’.




Speakers including: Kev Terry South West TUC Chair, Mary Bousted TUC President, Jane MacAlevey US organizer and others


WakesThe Wakes

The band’s reputation goes before them. Their passion for music is matched by their social conscience. The six-piece band from Glasgow want to inject a bit of Folk’n’Roll into your soul. The musical style of The Wakes music is influenced by Guthrie, Springsteen and Dylan but also traditional folk groups like The Dubliners and The Corries and contemporary bands such as The Clash and The Pogues. The Wakes’ lyrics are honest, evocative and compassionate.


David Wrighton

Methodist minister reminds us of the legacy of the Martyrs before peole gather on the street to march through the village.





3.15pm Speakers including Nigel Costley South West TUC Regional Secretary, Frances O'Grady TUC General Secretary and others.

nigel costleyFrance O'Grady







approx 3.45pm


The Mekons are a British-American rock band. Formed in the late 1970s as an art collective, they are one of the longest-running and most prolific of the first-wave British punk rock bands.

approx 5pm

Workers' Playtime

A random collective will perform and close the Main Stage in true Tolpuddle spirit.


Martyrs' Marquee

from 11am

Peter Hicks

All the way from Tasmania, a welcome return to Tolpuddle for this great singer-songwriter

Abi Rich is a young singer songwriter from Bridport. Abi played at local We Shall Overcome events last year and is building a reputation as someone to watch for the future.

STEViE One Bloke One Mandolin

Stevie Simpson has been playing regularly at motorcycle rallies and festivals all over the UK since 2000 receiving some great reviews and picking up new fans at every gig.

Maddy Carty and the Protest Family

Maddy Carty was decribed as: “A strikingly sophisticated and self contained talent Maddy Carty's commanding yet delicate vocal is serviced by original songs of depth and commitment.”
Gavin Martin, Music Journalist. She joins forces with Tolpuddle regulars Steve White and the Protest Family.

Farrell Family

Farrell Family are a traditional band from Plymouth and East Cornwall who specialise in songs from the English, Irish, Scottish and Cornish radical traditions.


Methodist Chapel Festival Service

The traditional end of rally service with Revd Inderjit Bhogal former president of the Methodist Conference and instigator of UK Cities of Sanctuary.


 Book for the weekend here