A FESTIVAL bringing together activists, local residents and artists and musicians returns next weekend from a two-year absence.
The Big Tent Festival in Falkland, Fife, has hit the reset button to focus on the original “local action” message that made it such a success.
More than 10,000 people attended the last running in 2010 and this year welcomes heavyweights such as The Proclaimers and author Ian Rankin.
Other guests include land reformer Andy Wightman, broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, journalist Neal Ascherton, former Welsh minister for the environment Jane Davidson and musicians Karine Polwart and Salsa Celtica.
Some of Scotland’s best craft-makers, a local food village and free childrens’ activities will also be in Falkland on 21 and 22 July.
Ninian Stuart, co-founder of the Centre for Stewardship, a social enterprise operated by a small charity based on Falkland Estate, said: “We had run Big Tent for five years and it had grown beyond what we had expected it to be, but also we had a sense that it had grown beyond the site in infrustracture. So in practice, we wanted a year’s breather to partly move things on in Falkland and also capture that earlier spirit.”
The festival was originally conceived as an “antidote” to eight white men meeting at Gleneagles for the G8 Summit with “local action” to change the world. The “Big Tent” was meant to build a broad coalition for change.
Mr Stuart added: “Big Tent’s 2012 programme is our best yet – I think it’s deeper this time and there’s more to it. Our focus is all about change – the changes happening in the world around us, and the changes we need to make in our own lives.
“Many of our talks are about reconnecting people to the land and to our local places, whether in urban or rural Scotland. Falkland provides a great place to do this with its outstanding heritage, vibrant landscape and growing community of active change makers.”
Weekend events include the talk “Living with Less” by Carol Craig of the Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing, and a session where MEPs Catherine Stihler and George Lyon will be challenged to do more for the environment.
The two-day festival also includes the debate “Food, farming and the future”, a session on how to look after heritage during a recession, the launch of a new Wild Harvest handbook, and displays of huts built by local residents from storm-damaged wood. The Big Tent site will also play host to participants making “stuff”, from crafts to “dens of democracy”, according to organisers.
Saturday will also see Gerry Loose of Carbeth Hutters, Andy Wightman, Lesley Riddoch and Carol Craig propose a new vision of hutting in Scotland.
Protest singing, bands to listen to and a chapel without a roof for quieter sessions will also be featured.
A debate on “Scotland’s democracy” run by the Electoral Reform Society and a session titled “One Small Step” hosted by Lesley Riddoch will close the weekend.
The festival’s website, www.bigtentfestival.co.uk, has a full line up.