Review: Billy Bragg, Wickham Festival

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Billy Bragg sees signs. He sees them in the political reawakening in Scotland, in the ascendency of Jeremy Corbyn, the taking down of the Confederate flag in South Carolina... and in the rise of AFC Bournemouth.

And he hopes that these signs mean the caring, compassionate brand of politics he’s been espousing all his life are stirring again.

Last night’s headline set at the Wickham Festival showed why he’s still as relevant as ever.

Whether it’s the opener Half-English, pointing out the mixture of culture in this country, or the closing There is Power in a Union, extolling the need to stand together, his heartfelt stance genuinely inspired the crowd - frankly, as politicians ought to but often don’t.

But it wasn’t just lecturing - Handyman Blues laughed at his own inability with a ladder while arguing he should be allowed to sit around and read the paper in order to create art later.

And by the time of the encore highlight New England, we were all won over. His fight against all forms of cynicism, from the personal to the political, will continue.

And it will be fought by all who saw him last night.

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