The return of the Leftfield

March 18, 2010

We’re very pleased to announce the return of the Leftfield for this year’s Festival. We’re also extremely excited to announce that the Festival’s “pop and politics” tent will be curated by Mr Billy Bragg. We gave Billy a shout to find out a bit more about his plans:

Hi Billy. Presumably you’re pleased that the Leftfield is back?
Very pleased. New tent, new site, new decade.

What will your role be?
A bit of everything. Curator, MC, performer, guitar roadie, juggler.

Why is it important for Glastonbury to have an area like the Leftfield as part of the Festival?
Because Glastonbury is the original activist festival. It has always had that political edge since its rebirth in the 1980s as a gathering for dissidents and dancers. Leftfield’s mixture of red and green politics aims to reflect the way activism plays an important part in the festival as a whole.

Do you think it will be even more important in 2010?
Definitely. Not only are we facing the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression, but by the time we pitch the tent, we may all be living under a Conservative government committed to massive cuts in public services. Plus there is the continuing threat of global warming and the rise of the BNP to contend with. We’ll have plenty to talk about in our daily debates.

Emily Eavis has said that she thinks people are more open-minded at the Festival than they would be in every day life. Do you think that’s true? If so, does that increase the opportunities for somewhere like the Leftfield
I really don’t think that you could have something like Leftfield at any of the other major UK rock festivals. The audience at V just wouldn’t be interested in attending a debate about the threat to 6 Music and other front line public services. Glastonbury audiences are more willing to engage.

So, for any Glastonbury regulars who’ve never been to the Leftfield, why should
they visit the area?

Because it will be a place where you can take part in political debates with leading activists and political figures and then hear some great music from people who believe in using their talent to inspire audiences to change the world.

How far have you got with booking the bill? Can you tell us any names?
I’ve started sounding people out. Can’t give you any names but I can talk about our format. We’ll be kicking off around midday with a couple of debates running until 3pm then from 4pm we’ll be inviting three or four artists to come and collaborate with one another in a hootenanny, sitting onstage together swapping songs and playing along with each other, then from 6pm we’ll have bands.

Finally, will you be bringing your guitar?
Most certainly. I came to the festival last year without it and it just didn’t feel right.

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