#WoWFest17

 You’re Invited to a Revolution!

 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the defining event of the 20th Century when ordinary people in Russia rose up against the Czar and established the first worker’s state. The Russian Revolution inspired workers across Europe and its brutal colonial empires, who demanded a fair share, equality and independence, redefining world relations for the 20th Century. One hundred years on the richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest of the world’s population combined, tens of thousands of migrants die each year while fleeing their war torn and poverty stricken homelands. Here in the UK working families face a huge squeeze on their living standards and the most vulnerable are dying as benefits are withdrawn and essential services axed.

Change is in the air once again. The vote for Brexit in the UK and the election of republican populist Donald Trump as US President challenges many of the accepted orthodoxies held in the west since the defeat of fascism and the end of the Second World War. These events precipitate global changes. ‘Where are we now?’ seems to be the question on everyone’s lips. Are we moving forwards or backwards; is the curve of revolution taking us upwards or back down? WoWFest 2017 will focus on this theme, inviting artists, activists, journalists, commentators and you the audience, to explore the impact of these changes on local and global developments, delving into issues that will have a long-term impact on the way we live; Robots, Artificial Intelligence, immigration and the preservation of our environment.

We are launching our festival with a May Day Parade, celebrating past struggles with the launch of the autobiography of Liverpool writer and activist George Garrett (1896-1936), and inviting communities across Merseyside to make their voice heard on issues that are affecting people; low-pay, cuts in benefits, homelessness and discrimination. The first round of guests to rise up for revolutionary debate are writers China Miéville, John Rees and Kate Evans at ‘Revolution!’, Wednesday 3rd May. There will be comedy, music and verse from Henry Normal, Ian McMillan and Joanne Harris, revolutionary musical tales from Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis, with many more exiting guests still to be announced. So, sharpen your pens and step up to the barricades, comrades; as novelist Toni Morrison says, ‘“There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language.”