Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and Rally 2013

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July 2013
Tolpuddle near Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 7EH, England MAP
£25 weekend, child (5-15) £5, unders 5s free - Sunday only free
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Tue 4th Jun 2013

around the festival site (2)

In 1834, farms workers formed a trade union, and their story is now part of the development of a free and democratic society. It is celebrated in the small museum in Tolpuddle and at the festival on the weekend of the third Sunday in July with the climax being a march through the village. Organised by the TUC, this festival takes place in the village of Tolpuddle, Dorset and takes place from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July 2013.

The event offers seminars, and talks during the day, and some smaller music spaces, with the main music happening in the afternoons/evenings. On the Sunday there is a large processional march from the festival site to the nearby village of Tolpuddle, followed by a few major music acts and speeches.


Friday: Trade Union Freedom at Tolpuddle Fringe speakers include Tony Woodhouse & Steve Gillan. Music in Martyrs Marquee from RPM, Gaz Brookfield, Bandana Collective, Sound Of the Sirens, and headliners Talisman.

Saturday: Topuddle Fringe, and a day of speakers and discussion with Martin Reeves & Roger McKenzie, 'Welfare Cuts', 'Fairtness At Work', Giles Fraser (tbc), Melisdsa Bann & Michael Rosen, Judith Kirton-Darling. Plus poetry & open mic, Tolpuddle Unplugged, 'We Will Be Free' by Townend Productions. Music in Martyrs Marquee from Emily Howard, POG, Phil 'Swill' Ogers, Skimmity Hitchers, and headliners The Skints.

Sunday: The annual Martyrs March, Procession, Honour of the Martyrs, and Sunday Service, Freedom Hike from Dorchester prison to Tolpuddle. Plus speakers Lesley Mercer, Julia Long, Judith Kirton-Darling, David Wrighton, Betsy Loveless, and Frances O'Grady. Music in Martyrs Marquee from Tatty Smart MC, Lousie Distras, Pilar Lopez, Leon Fender Walker, Rosie Upton & Pete MacGregor, Michael Roach, Mels Allstars, and Quiet Loner. Main outdoor stage performances form Robb Johnson, Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies, Lady Maisery, Headsticks, Nidi D'arac, and rounding off the day Billy Bragg.

Expect a weekend of speakers and debates. In and around the Martyrs Marque at the festival there will be stalls selling ideas as well as goods. Plus there will be fun and workshops for kids and creative adults including Rosie MacGregor's protest songs workshop. An exhibition to mark the end of the China Clay Strike, Royal College of Miswives Community Choir, and a feminist 'F-Bomb' discussion. Plus village trails and Teen Tolpuddle. The Sunday welcomes lots more people who come for the day and the grand procession of banners through the village. Wreaths are laid on the grave of Martyr' James Hammett.


The Sunday Rally is free. No entry on Friday and Saturday without a valid wristband pass. A Friday and Saturday weekend pass is priced at £25, children aged 5-15 years £5, and under 5s free. A day pass for Friday is priced at £10 and for Saturday it's £15, for either day a children aged 5-15 years day pass is priced at £5, and under 5s free.

To buy tickets, click here.


No caravans. If you are planning to camp with friends, travel together, as spaces are allocated on arrival. Hot showers and breakfasts are available. No cars on the campsite. Each tent or gazebo needs a tag priced at £15, a campervan tag is priced at £25.

Kids stuff

There's plenty of stuff for young comrades to enjoy. The Woodcraft folk will provide activites, there's also workshops, circus skills, fun games and activities, and there's usually five a side football. This year entertainers include Card Born with Johnny Nicholds, Orchestrash with Lucy anne Sale, BearCat Collective (wap shop), Wally, DigIt SoundSystem, Will Merttens Story Tent, and the National Union Of Kids!

Tolpuddle Radical History School

For those fascinated by Britain's radical history and can come a day early, there will be the Tolpuddle Radical History School. The theme will be to discuss the changing nature of protest including the Swing Rebellion, early unions, the General Strike, grass roots power and direct action.

Car parking

Car parking in the TUC or church car park is priced at £10 per vehicle on Sunday. Coaches free, drop off and park to the east of the village.


The TUC organise coaches to this event, drop off and park to the east of the village.


Tolpuddle shuttle from Dorchester South Station on Friday 7.45pm and Sunday 11.35am returning from Tolpuddle 5.20pm and 6.30pm is priced at £3 each way.

More information will be here when available.

around the festival site (2)

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July 2013
Tolpuddle near Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 7EH, England MAP
£25 weekend, child (5-15) £5, unders 5s free - Sunday only free
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Tue 4th Jun 2013

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last updated: Sat 13th Jul 2019