Well that was one HELL of a ride.
And it isn’t over yet.
The main thrust of our #WSO2017 weekend may be over, but there are plenty more We Shall Overcome events to come, running right up to December 22nd, so please get out there and support them. It matters more than ever.
My own personal WSO took me from Huddersfield to Warsop, with Durham, Stockton-on-Tees, Portslade, Scarborough, Leeds and Stainforth in between; and I want to pay tribute to Nick Johnson, Marcus Henfrey, Derek Smalls, all at The Golden Smog, Robb Johnson, Mark Gordon, Sandra Twitchett & Steve Skinner, Mick Lanaghan and Andrew El Barto Hawkins and every single person who made those events tick, from the artists giving their time and talents for nothing, to the punters turning up with bags of food and clothing or emptying their pockets into the buckets; from the sound and lighting engineers to the poster designers and back again; without any of you WSO doesn’t happen.
I struggle in the weeks leading up to WSO weekend, this year more than ever, but to meet you all and talk to people at the gigs, to see the energy there and the passion and the dedication is a constant source of inspiration to me; and to watch as the buckets fill with coins and notes and the tables fill with food donations; as the bags of socks are passed to me with a word of encouragement; as the handshakes and the bear-hugs abound; as the spirit of those gigs spreads into the music and then back to the musicians from the audience; I know this is exactly the right thing to be doing.
We are showing that we are not powerless, that we are not defeated; we are demonstrating that we have it in our hands to make a contribution to a better world, to a fairer society; and that our donations, no matter how small, are never insignificant, because all those thousands of seemingly insignificant donations add up to something MASSIVELY significant to all of us and to the world beyond our venues.
They add up to meals people would otherwise never eat; they add up to warm hands and feet; they add up hot cups of tea; to places to stay; to a smile and a helping hand; but they also add up to an utter contempt for, and rejection of, the politics which create such dreadful need in the first place; but instead of sitting back and complaining, or worse still, accepting the world as it is, we are getting up, going out, and doing something about it. You, me and thousands of others.
Proud to know every last one of you.
The world may only be changing incrementally, but it IS changing.
You did that.
Next stop Bradford.