THE COUNTDOWN is on to a festival celebrating Newport’s rebellious past and unique heritage.

Newport Rising Festival is aptly named after the historic day, November 4 in 1839, when thousands of Chartists marched for the right to vote, with many losing their lives.

The festival will be the first of its kind in Newport, and will run from Friday November 2 until Sunday November 4.

Newport Rising Festival includes a full programme of events, such as film, theatre and live music, across multiple venues, with official announcements to be made in the lead-up to the festival.

Details of a torch-lit march on Westgate Hotel, which organisers hope will be a highlight of the three-day event, have been confirmed.

The procession, which will take place on November 3, will ‘carry a torch for democracy’ and start at Belle Vue Park, where thousands of Chartists gathered 179 years ago.

It will be similar to a live street performance, with simulated gunfire, performers, a light show and crowd interaction.

Democracy is about choice, and those taking part in the march can choose how they wish to travel; the journey will include stilt-walkers, drummers, roller-skaters, and more, making it a ‘riot of fun.’

Festival chairwoman, Melinda Drowley, said: “It’s incredibly important that we remember the sacrifice

that the Chartists made; in 1839 many died so that we might have the vote and have a voice.

“But Newport Rising is not just only about the events of 1839, it’s also about right now, and following the example of the Chartists to inspire people to act and make changes today, in a city that is on the rise”

The march will be followed with live music from Rusty Shackle, Upbeat Sneakers, and Goldie Lookin Chain’s Adam Hussain and Graham the Bear, amongst others.

Performances will be at Newport Market’s Gallery Space and Le Pub, with other venues to be announced.

Event co-ordinator, David Daniel, said: “I hope this event will be the beginning of something special for the city that will grow into a festival that we, the people of Newport, can claim as uniquely ours.”

The festival is being led by local charity Our Chartist Heritage (OCH), with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Newport City Council, Newport Now, Fusion Project and Tiny Rebel Brewing Co.

Although this is the first festival celebrating Chartism is Newport, organisers are hoping to make Newport Rising Festival an annual event and are already working on a Chartist community play to be featured at Newport Rising 2019.

The OCH are able to fund this project, through £77,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding which they successfully secured earlier this year.

Some funding has already been used to host a public vote for Chartist based roundels to be introduced to the Chartist trail, with a design based on the original Chartist membership card winning.

The festival will also include a spoken word event and a Chartist ceremony, with details to be announced closer to the time.

Anybody who wants to get involved with OCH can get in touch at or go to