A Raised Fist & A Helping Hand

Woody’s Work- #WSO2016: A Summary


We still have gigs to play and voices to raise; we still have fights to fight and causes to support; but our main week of #WSO2016 is over. And WHAT a week it was.

Woody Guthrie would be proud of us. I know it. He spent his whole life singing for, and fighting for, ordinary folk because he saw in us a humanity lacking in the rich and powerful; he saw in us a strength, a determination and a compassion that was worth the sacrifice and worth the struggle. Every single one of the thousands who pitched in and helped make #WSO2016 such a success has proved him right. This is Woody’s Work, and we are ON IT.


Between us, ALL of us, we have put on 262 events in 114 different towns and cities. We’ve had music of every genre; Quiz Nights; Discos; Car Boot Sales; Film Nights; Poetry; Lectures; History Walks….basically anything people could do that would bring the community together. You have NAILED IT, and every single one mattered.


And that is the beauty of WE SHALL OVERCOME- there are no superstars, there are no egos, there are no money men, there’s just you and me and a world to change- and we’re good for it. Whether the events raised £50 or £1000, whether there were 20 there or 2000- it doesn’t matter. What counts is that WE WERE THERE. When help was needed, we stood up. Every single red star on that map is a show of defiance. It is saying to those in power that we have had enough, that we are sick of what is effectively ideological warfare on the poorest and most vulnerable in our communities; we are sick of cuts to services; we are sick of sanctions, of poverty wages, of zero hours contracts; we are sick of being blamed, victimized and humiliated; and we are fighting back with compassion- we are giving people hope.


There are too many people to thank, and it would be unfair to miss anyone out, but I think it has to be noted that Ulverston, Glossop, Barnsley, Liverpool, Ashton-under-Lyne, Nottingham and the towns of North Wales all put on events every single night of our week and beyond. I know it was hard at times, and a great deal of stamina, both physical and mental were required, but guys, that was an INCREDIBLE effort. You know who you all are, and you have our admiration and eternal gratitude for going way beyond the call of duty and inspiring so many others in the process.


So where now?

Well, we still have events out there and they are running until December 17th up and down the UK, so check the gig guide on this site and make sure you support us.

After that, well, a new year beckons and #WSO2017 will take over with fresh impetus. We are running from October 6th-9th officially, so book your venues and let us know. We will start building a new gig guide as soon as we have confirmed dates. We have decided on a weekend because we want to focus efforts on those three days, BUT, we want to encourage anyone who wants to expand into the week before to do so. We know some of you will anyway, and we are happy for open mics, folk clubs and regular music nights to join us as they have this year. So we are officially 3 days…..but you know as well as we do what will happen, and we love you for it.


We also want to maintain an active presence throughout the year. Our Big Sis Pauline Town has led the way on this one running events on and off all year and keeping the WSO name out there. We want to encourage others to do this and create mini-WSO weekends here and there; whether they are sporadic or coordinated we don’t mind, but we are not going away. The politics which necessitates our existence is constantly attacking us, so we must be there to constantly stand in its way. So please stay active in the Facebook group, and please come to us with ideas, events and news. We will be there.

So there you have it. #WSO2016. Thousands of ordinary folk out there doing what we do.

Woody’s Work.

Damn right.

Joe x



Author: Matt Hill Songwriter

Storytelling singer-songwriter and community artist who offers a British take on folk and Americana. Formerly known by the stage name Quiet Loner. Recent projects include a songwriting residency in a museum, an album co-written with people at a homeless project and a stint as a resident musician in a prison.

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