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Reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson joins "dream line-up" for first Morecambe Poetry Festival

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Award-winning reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson has joined the illustrious line up for the first ever Morecambe Poetry Festival.

Johnson will take to the stage on the opening night at the Morecambe Winter Gardens on September 16 with T S Eliot Prize winner Joelle Taylor.

Along with legendary punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke, the addition of Linton to the festival has completed "a belting line up led by the two godfathers of the spoken word scene in the UK" says festival founder Matt Panesh. 

Stage times and show tickets have now been released for the three day word fiesta taking place in the Lancashire seaside town from September 16-18 2022. 

The full line-up has also been announced as follows:

 

Friday

Linton Kwesi Johnson & Joelle Taylor 7pm (£15)

Dr John Cooper Clarke & Mike Garry 9pm (£25)

Friday all shows pass (£25) 

 

Saturday

John Hegley 4pm (£5)

Lemn Sissay & Henry Normal 8pm (£15)

 

Sunday

Alt stage noon to late

Atila the Stockbroker & Kate Fox 7pm

 

Star names from around the UK will take to the main stage while next door at Johnny’s Warehouse Bar, the Alternate Stage will offer grassroots poets the chance to take part in the festival alongside the headline stars. 

First up on Friday September 16 will be Linton and Joelle Taylor (pictured below) at 7pm, followed by Dr John Cooper Clarke and Mike Garry at 9pm and an after party poetry club with Mike Garry, Thick Richard and an Open Mic.

On Saturday, John Hegley will perform a family friendly show at 4pm with Henry Normal & Lemn Sissay in the evening show at 8pm.

Sunday will be the turn of Atilla the Stockbroker and Kate Fox before the closing party.

The Alt stage will open at noon on Saturday and Sunday featuring a whole host of poetry club nights and an Open Mic.

A weekend pass for the Alternate Stage is £10.

Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in Jamaica and came to London in 1963.

In the 1970s he was in the Black Panthers and worked at the Keskidee Centre, the first home of black theatre and art.

Johnson’s first poetry collection, Voices of the Living and the Dead, came out in 1974.

In 2002 he became only the second living poet and the first black poet to have his work included in Penguin’s Modern Classics. Johnson’s first album, Dread Beat An Blood, was released in 1978; he has since released 14 more. 

Matt Panesh (pictured below) said: “I’m delighted Linton is coming to Morecambe. Along with John Cooper Clarke, they are the godfathers of the punk poet outsider scene. It really is a brilliant line up for our first time out."

Matt, head of the West End Players, was inspired by his time working as artistic director for Edinburgh Festival’s PBH’s Free Fringe, where he brought together a community of poets to put on more than 1000 performances over the three weeks.

"Securing Cooper Clarke early on was the key to building this high calibre line up and I’m grateful to all the poets who have responded so positively to my call out to bring the best of the UK’s spoken word to Morecambe," he said.

“It’s my dream line up. I want this to have a real impact on the town as we know access to the arts can be life-changing and bring about cultural renewal. With Creative Lancashire offering support now too, this is gaining some real momentum.”

Creative Lancashire - a service provided by Lancashire County Council - has agreed to sponsor the festival.

Ed Matthews-Gentle, from Creative Lancashire, said: “Literature and poetry have always been a strong part of Lancashire heritage from Jeanette Winterson to Joelle Taylor and we want to see that develop and play a bigger part in our narrative, so when we saw what Matt was putting together, we were delighted to support the event.”

5pm onwards is 18+.

Tickets are available here.

See here for our exclusive story when we broke the news of the Morecambe Poetry Festival back in May

Morecambe Poetry Festival to debut - Beyond Radio

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