Newport Rising Festival – small town, big legacy

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The 2nd of November was a special day in Newport – the main event of the Newport Rising Festival happened, which was the march with torches from the Belle Vue Park to the Westgate Hotel, and the celebrations after with amazing local music bands. Newport Rising team nailed it like last year and honestly can’t wait for the next year. The hotel is THE location and the essence of the event. Is there a more iconic building in Newport? I don’t think so. Definitely nothing is more iconic for the festival.

It all started in Belle Vue Park. Tin Shed Theatre (the one responded for successful Moby Dick on the Transporter Bridge last year) prepared a small performance. The message was clear – the time is now, we have to act, we have to use power of the vote, we have to start revolution, we have to take the fate in our own hands. 22 died in 1839 for freedom to vote. And the legacy of the Chartists is use your vote to make a difference. Be involved in making a difference and impact, like people in 1839 did. Protect the democracy.

Newport Rising is fascinating for someone like me. Local history, which should make people really proud. ”Our Chartist Heritage” charity is one of the organisations which makes sure the history is not forgotten. They are responsible for the festival and you can support them financially by donating a small amount.

We live in difficult times at the moment and many people feeling fed up with the political crisis we have. Great Britain is fragile, people are divided, many won’t vote because ”see no point – politicians are all bad”. The frustration is growing but despite the frustration it is more than ever important to take responsibility for the country. It impacts everyone living here – those who were born here, those he came like me from the other country and everybody else.

I am involved with the team since last year as a photographer and I am feeling passionate about being a part of it. For me it is a privilege and amazing opportunity. I will always support it and spread the word. There are no words to describe my gratitude for these people. Like Janet Martin once told – People from Newport are the best.

Despite the heavy rain we all enjoyed the march. At the hotel there were two separate bars on different floors, three separate scenes. Artists like Selena in The Chapel performed, Joe Kelly and popular Welsh band Rusty Shackle. Also Soviet Leeds community took a part – a bit of mix of history, art and music. My Polish community group LUDEK and Polish Saturday School helped as volunteers, and they marched to the Westgate Hotel. The Festival brings all ethnic groups together and unite them.

I am wishing the Festival all the best and hope to see it as a regular annual event. I would love to see it as the main event happening in Newport in the future. It is beautiful, powerful and fascinating. It is a local contribution to the nation and inspiration. People who work there are one of the nicest people you can meet in your life and there is space for everyone who is willing to help and make a difference. It is a perfect way to fight negativity around Newport. I believe, we can make the changes only if we all participate and try our best. It is not just responsibility of the local authorities but us all. Join the volunteers and see you next year. Kamila

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