This Saturday the Big Tent Ideas Festival arrives in Bristol.
Together with Radix, a think tank for the radical centre, they will host a packed schedule of debates, workshops and talks in Queen Square, involving speakers from across the political spectrum.
The festival will be structured around four key issues: achieving net zero, improving equality, provision of better public services, and the future of the media.
There will also be a speakers corner for festival-goers to highlight issues that matter to them and a Dragon’s Den style tent to allow local entrepreneurs to pitch for real investment.
A number of key political figures from across Bristol are set to attend the event. Mayor Martin Reeves will join journalist David Goodhart to discuss ‘cancel culture’, and a number of Bristol’s representative MPs are due to appear in debates covering a range of local and national issues.
Our very own Martin Booth, editor of Bristol 24/7, will be at the event to moderate a discussion on the future of the media. Meanwhile, deputy editor, Ellie Pipe will be involved at the invite-only summit on Friday to discuss how the new culture of hybrid working is transforming our cities.
The Big Tent Ideas Festival is not just an opportunity to hear from political representatives and traditional conversation shapers though.
Established in 2017 the festival was set up to tackle “the deepening disillusionment with the increasingly shrill, populist, partisan politics of the Westminster bubble”.
It sets out to achieve this by putting public participation at the heart of the festival. Attendees on the day should expect lots of opportunities to engage in conversations on issues that affect them, as well as the chance to challenge policy-makers on the best methods of achieving positive change in their community.
As Big Tent chief executive, Ben Rich, puts it: “The idea that a handful of politicians in Westminster have all the answers is laughable, so Big Tent ensures everyone has a platform to begin to address these massive issues, as well as challenging our current and, maybe, some future leaders.”
The festival comes to Bristol at a particularly important moment in the city’s political make-up. Just last month residents voted to abolish the position of the mayor in favour of a new committee system that promises to open up avenues for greater democratic participation in local governance.
Campaigners from the ‘Scrap the Mayor’ campaign hailed the victory as a big win for local democracy claiming that “the committee system will allow more people to be involved, to be engaged in democracy.”
The Big Tent Ideas Festival promises to tap into that appetite by offering the chance for the public to contribute to the conversation on the future of Bristol and shape the agenda of the city.
Tickets are still available for the festival this Saturday and you can view and download their full program of events here.
Photo and Video: Big Tent Ideas Festival
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