A number of acclaimed artists will arrive in Lincoln in August and September for a 10 day festival to round off the memorable Magna Carta 800th anniversary summer celebrations in the city.
Festival 800, organised by cultural solutions UK on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council, and supported by the National Lottery through Arts England, will demonstrate how Magna Carta’s focus on liberty, justice and freedom of speech have shaped today’s society.
The festival will launch on Friday, August 29, with protest singer-songwriter and activist Billy Bragg performing at the Drill Hall the following day.
He will also hold a talk at The Collection on Sunday, August 30, discussing how his sense of Englishness has been formed by history, childhood, thinkers and artists such as George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling, The Clash and the impact of Magna Carta, the civil war and the miners’ strike.
As part of the varied programme of events, YouTube Vlogger Alfie Deyes will be signing copies of his Pointless Book in Lincoln on Tuesday, September 1.
The 21-year-old has amassed a following of over 3.7 million people on his YouTube channel in the space of the last six years.
Esteemed poets Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke and Imthiaz Dharker will return to the city on Saturday, September 5 to read their specially commissioned Magna Carta poems in front of a live audience of 130 people at The Collection.
English rock and folk band The Levellers and Iranian-born comedian Shappi Khorsandi will also perform at the festival, the latter showcasing her brand new show celebrating freedom of speech on Thursday, September 3.
Organisers are currently finalising arrangements to bring a host of international artists to Lincoln to complement the array of live music, comedy, spoken word, street theatre, lectures and debate on offer at the event.
Festival director David Lambert said: “The sealing of Magna Carta essentially gave us our freedom of speech and this is something that needs to be celebrated.
“We all thoroughly enjoyed the Magna Party and the official opening of Lincoln Castle and the new home of the city’s copy of the 800 year old charter and we felt it was equally important to celebrate the freedom of speech that the signing of the document bestowed on us.
“We have a diverse range of artists coming to Lincoln for what will be an eclectic, challenging, exciting and memorable festival for the people.”
Executive Member for Culture and Heritage at Lincolnshire County Council, Councillor Nick Worth said: “Festival800 will bring to life many of Magna Carta’s themes and celebrate the many liberties it bestowed on us.
“We will hear from people who cannot talk openly in their homelands for fear of being imprisoned or executed. We will hear from people who have campaigned successfully for freedom of expression and equality. We will see some amazing art and listen to some very moving stories and challenging views.
“The freedoms granted in Magna Carta, which is so strongly associated with Lincoln, have spread around the world and during Festival800 we will welcome many international performers, artists and speakers to Lincoln.”