Rebel Town Festival postponed until later in the year due to Delta variant

The Folk of Jarrow / Rebel Town Festival, due to be held in Jarrow on Saturday, July 3 has been postponed due to concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of covid.

The annual event is organised by Follonsby Wardley Miners Lodge Banner Community Heritage Association and the Durham Miners Association. They are hoping to rearrange the event for some time in August.

In theory it was possible for the event to proceed as planned, but social distancing considerations made it difficult to guarantee public safety.

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On the agenda for the day was to have been a banner parade through Jarrow town centre, stalls, musical and attendees could have enjoyed a drink.

The banner parade has not been seen since 2019. Picture by Kevin Brady.

There is a political slant to the occasion and guest speakers pencilled in included Jarrow MP Kate Osborne and former National Union of Mineworkers leader Arthur Scargill.

The event marks Jarrow’s role in the history of Britain’s industrial relations since the 1830s, particularly the story of the 1832 Seven Men of Jarrow, who were deported to an Australian penal colony for a crime they almost certainly didn’t commit.

It was to be the fifth festival, although 2020’s event was also cancelled due to Covid.

Dave Douglass, secretary of the Follonsby Wardley Miners' Lodge Association, said: “I’m very disappointed because people were coming from all over the country to attend.

Arthur Scargill and Jarrow MP Kate Osborne were to address crowds at the Rebel Town Festival on July 3. PA/3rd party pictures.

“The precautions we were going to have to take made it really impractical. We’re now looking for another date and we’re hoping for some time in August.

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“We would like to apologise to people, but it was beyond our control.”

Tom Hall, director of public health at South Tyneside Council, said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of infections across South Tyneside, largely driven by the more transmissible Delta variant.

“The number of infections in the borough, and across the region, have been rising rapidly. In light of this, it is important that we all continue to follow public health guidance around hands, face, space and fresh air.

Covid has led to the postponement of the 2021 Rebel Town Festival.
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“Large scale events continue to pose a risk to public health which is why we have discussed the Government advice with the organisers who have decided to postpone this event until we move to Step Four of the Government Roadmap and infections have started to reduce.”

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