In March, very sadly, we had to say farewell to Tony Benn, one of the greatest speakers that we have ever had on any of our stages. Tony was a true inspiration and great friend of the Festival. A regular speaker in the Left Field, he loved coming here every year. As a tribute, working closely with the late politician’s family, we have renamed the Left Field Tower the Tony Benn Tower.
The Tower, commissioned by Battersea and Wandsworth TUC and the Festival in 2004, was designed by Graham Jobbins, and it was built by Pro Weld and GMB steel workers from Devon – and they return each Festival to repaint and re-erect the landmark. Heralded as a “tower of strength” by Tony Benn at its launch in 2004, it lies in the heart of the Festival and acts as a meeting point, clearly visible from all corners of the site.
The Tower’s figures, cut out in its steel, are pulling together to represent solidarity, which I know Tony appreciated when he saw it here on his many visits. As a further mark of respect, Billy Bragg and his team will also be leading a very special tribute to Tony in the Left Field – which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
Photo: Wayne Polley (from our Gallery)