Organiser Matt Panesh looks forward to 'brilliant' line-up at Morecambe's first poetry festival

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Two legendary performers described by organiser Matt Panesh, pictured, as “godfathers” of the spoken word scene in the UK, will be headlining the first Morecambe poetry festival next month. Linton Kwesi Johnson and Dr John Cooper Clarke top a bill that also includes TS Eliot prizewinner Joelle Taylor, John Hegley, Lemn Sisssy, Henry Normal, Attila the Stockbroker, and Kate Fox at the festival, taking place from 16-18 September. 

Matt Panesh 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. 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.”

The leading poetry names at the festival will be appearing at Morecambe’s Winter Gardens stage, while next door at Johnnie’s Warehouse Club the Alternate Stage will offer grassroots poets the chance to take part in the festival as well.

First up on Friday will be Linton Kwesi Johnson and Joelle Taylor 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 and 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 midday Saturday and Sunday, and feature poetry club nights and an open mic.

Morecambe resident Matt Panesh was previously artistic director for Edinburgh’s PBH’s Free Fringe, where poets put on more than 1,000 performances over three weeks. He added: “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.” More details

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