The festival takes place during the anniversary of one of the very first organised uprisings by workers in 1831 known as the Merthyr Rising. The Merthyr Rising of 1831 was the violent climax to many years of simmering unrest among the large working class population of Merthyr Tydfil where it is believed that for the first time the red flag of revolution was flown as a symbol of workers' revolt.

Today we annually celebrate this symbolic event through a cultural festival of music, arts, political discussion and ideas during the anniversary of the events of 1831.


The festival, now in its fifth year has grown steadily, working closely with trade unions and the local community. Since our first festival in 2013 we have attracted audiences nationally with speakers and performers coming from around the world. They include Alabama 3, Teresita de Jesus Vicente Sotolongo – the UK Cuban Ambassador, George Galloway, David Rovics, Stereo MC’s, Francesca Martinez, Craig Murray plus many more.

The festival has been setup and run as a not-for-profit organisation with a constitution to support music, arts and creativity in the area and raise the profile of the town. The festival has no allegiance with any political party but has seen participation coming from members of Plaid Cymru, Labour, Liberal Democrats, The Communist party of Great Britain and Scottish National Party.

Our Mission

Our mission is to celebrate working class culture and encourage resistance to inequality through music, arts, culture, talks and debates whilst promoting Merthyr’s heritage and history both on a local and international level.

Aims of our organisation include:

  • To encourage more political awareness and activism at grassroot level.
  • To discuss, debate and generate radical ideas to support our communities and change the world.
  • Support and develop music and arts in Merthyr Tydfil and the surrounding area.
  • Create a positive sense of pride, solidarity and wellbeing through entertainment, leisure and arts.
  • Promote and educate local citizens and visitors about the rich culture and heritage of Merthyr Tydfil.
  • Develop a positive perception of Merthyr Tydfil and the surrounding area.
  • Develop and encourage artistic and creative participation from Merthyr Tydfil citizens and the surrounding area.
  • Support and develop grassroots organisations and businesses in the surrounding area.

Our Values

  • Must always be great value for money and affordable for all.
  • Support local artists, businesses and community groups.
  • Endeavour to make arts and political debates accessible to all.
  • Encourage freedom of expression and speech.

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