Extinction Rebellion to hold ‘Spring Uprising’ festival to train 1,000s in direct action

Photo credit: Melanie Vaxevanakis

UK: From March 16 – 17 in Bristol, the climate action collective Extinction Rebellion will put on its first ever festival of activism and music – dubbed ‘Spring Uprising’ – at which up to 1,000 people at a time will be trained in peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience.

Bringing together an unprecedented gathering of people from different backgrounds for nonviolent direct action workshops, music and art, the festival – to be held in Bristol’s Motion venue – is a precursor to what is expected to be one of the largest nonviolent civil disobedience acts in decades: the group’s ‘International Rebellion’ initiative, commencing April 15.

The event is supported by music industry and festival organisations such as Boomtown Festival, Buddhafield, Ninja Tune Records, Alfresco Disco, The Green Gathering, Woman Fest and Burn Punk.

Over a dozen musical acts have so far been confirmed, including Sam Lee, Dizraeli, Mesadorm, Bellatrix, Pete the Temp, Honeyfeet and The High Breed. Poets include Salena Godden, Vanessa Kisuule and Kev the Poet. Speakers include Mike Bonanno of The Yes Men; Co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, Dr Gail Bradbrook; author and founding member of Ecological Land Co-op, Alex Lawry; writer for New Internationalist & Occupy activist Jamie Kelsey-Fry; and writer & artist Zoe Young.

Saturday March 16 will see livestreams with major Extinction Rebellion UK groups so attendees can talk to rebels from around the country. On Sunday March 17, the same will happen for international Extinction Rebellion groups from the USA, Ghana and beyond. There will also be a People’s Assembly.

“This is the next step in our response to the threat to life we all face; a potentially life changing event for attendees,” said festival organiser, Tiana Jacout. “Let’s celebrate coming together, get trained, organised and have a damn good time doing it.

“With thousands of people coming together to face the climate and ecological emergency, this event is intended to help people prepare, organise and celebrate for this historic moment in time together. It will also give individuals the opportunity to find and critically analyse their role in the movement for change.”

The festival will comprise eight areas to explore. The Rebel Hall will host music, talks and non-violent direct action training for 1000s at a time, whereas the Training Rooms consist of smaller spaces for specific activism seminars.

The Solution Zone will showcase local and national solutions to the crisis, from co-housing and permaculture to renewable energy and more. The Gallery promises to host art themed around the ecological crisis, the Resistance Exhibition offers a 30-year photographic journey through various social resistance movements, while the Art Factory invites attendees to print clothes, learn how to Lino print, and contribute to collective art projects.

The Sanctuary is the event’s ‘regenerative culture space’ – featuring the Extinction café – and the Ethical Food Quarter will invite food waste organisations and responsible traders to serve their wares.

Em Weirdigan, Green Gathering festival director and Solutions Zone curator, said: “I’m massively excited to be part of a movement that’s about rebellion, about civil disobedience…and about seeking practical answers alongside people who’ve been working on solutions to climate change and community breakdown for years.

“By rebelling, we can catapult both the severity of the crisis and the fact that there are solutions into the spotlight. Just like The Green Gathering, this Spring Uprising is a festival beyond hedonism – it’s about gathering together to save the planet.”

Robin Boardman, from Extinction Rebellion Bristol, said: “This will be a powerful coming together of energy, ideas and trainings about how to take Extinction Rebellion forward to challenge to the UK government.”

Extinction Rebellion