The Wolverhampton May Day Committee was established in 1994, as a result of the threats of the last Conservative government to abolish May Day in Britain and replace it with a nationalistic holiday. Since our workers` holiday has been celebrated again in Wolverhampton it has gone from strength to strength and is now probably the most popular West Midlands event. The May Day Committee was founded by Wolverhampton & Bilston TUC and the local branches of the Communist Party and Indian Workers Association.
While not the blueprint for all May Day events, our shared experiences may be valuable. In our city, we have achieved some success. The event has filled a void and brings together the labour movement, for more than just one day a year, by building trust between individuals and groups.
The May Day event has now achieved a regular place in the labour movement activities within Wolverhampton and obtains a wide range of national and international speakers.
After initially growing each year, for the last few years our audiences have averaged about 200 people, drawn from political and trade union movements but more so from the differing local communities within which the venue is always held. We have always had the intention of holding a march in addition to a rally. We have however never done this, perhaps for several reasons. The event`s cultural side has grown increasingly and it is this that attracts the bulk of the audience primarily. Due to the very few numbers each year (usually 2 or 3 comrades) who do all of the organising, the whole event has never been able to develop. The same programme has been adapted from year to year. The main fear is that a march would attract too few people and split the organisers on the day who would be needed for setting up for the rally.
budgets are guide only - not been updated
Each year we celebrate workers` day on 1st MAY. We feel that is important to mark the actual day and have even held it on election nights. Invariably local elections or national ones are held in early May and so some won`t turn up due to canvassing and others turn up to be inspired. Chesterfield is always on the Bank Holiday Monday. Birmingham is held on the Saturday. London is held during the day on 1st May. Merseyside and Tyneside are held during the weekend.
When the 1st falls on a weekend, events have become much bigger than the evening meetings. Therefore special consideration needs to be given to the structure and activities of the day. DECIDE - afternoon or evening?For a 4 Hour meeting on weekends - most arrive for the last 2 hours.
This helps to create a political focus to the event. Poverty, anti-fascism, asylum, health campaigns. Useful to relate to a local or regional TU campaign focus for that particular year.It is very useful when appealing for sponsorship / donations.
TWO PRINCIPLES OF ACTION.
1) Town Centre / March and Rally + events
2) 2) Hold event in local community where progressive work can be developed.
In Wolverhampton we have developed strong work within Whitmore Reans and have consistently held our events within that community. We have usually used the Pegasus pub or Community Centre.
Type of room – to hold around 200 –400 people. Community Centre or pub function room. BUDGET: free-£100
DECISION: Start Time
Doors open ½ hour before, so people can visit stalls. Need entertainment to turn up and provide at least background music prior to the start.
If using a Community Centre, then get local pub to run the bar and use their licensing. Check in advance, may need a month`s notice.
STAGE AREA / ELECTRICAL POINTS.
At least 6 electrical points and to supply 2 big extension leads.
Adjustable lighting in room – not too bright.
PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT FACILITIES – best provided by either live band (and to pay for a mixer) or DJ with a sound system and microphones.
We have used local radio DJ`s in the past BUDGET - £100.
Always had:• CPB• IWA• Trade Union Speaker
OCCASIONAL INVITED SPEAKERS:
• Sinn Fein• Local Labour MP`s• CSC / PSC/ Anti War etc• International• Local Trade Union dispute speakers• Possible future speakers: Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Committee, Secular Society• Big name speaker – need to book well in advance. Easier if a weekday.
Think about inviting women speakers and black speakers.
Budget for travel expenses
see write ups from our 1st May events to see the types of performers that we have booked. We have always striven to give a variety of cultures space each year.
Over the years we have also had a school Steel Band, local Gujarati dancers, Banner Theatre, bands etc
Artists may offer to perform free. We BUDGET £30-£40 for individuals to perform or £100 for groups.
Mendhi - hand painting is very popular BUDGET £40Small frequent 10-15 minute slots between speakers.• Music played in intervals
Bouncy Castle - BUDGET £50 - essential to have at least 2 people to supervise children, if necessary to be paid. Finish 1 hour prior to end or at dusk (whichever is first).On weekends significant numbers of families arrive and therefore a greater amount of activities need to be organised for the children. Including possibly:
• Magician• Face Painting – works well - BUDGET £30 - £40• Video – Set-up in separate area Jugglers – Use local contacts – youth groups etc• Hair Braiding – Local volunteer?• Workshops – not usually a crowd-puller if it is a family event.• Helium cylinder for balloons. Ask stalls to provide their own balloons with logos or get red balloons. You should have biodegradable balloons if you launch lots. If staging a launch of balloons – it is a nice photo for press, who may not otherwise turn up. Get someone e.g. striker or MP to launch.
Need to further develop names and contact details for each of these in advance. Need a lead singer for singing of Internationale at end to get the crowd going. Print the words in the front of the programme.
Check if tables are available at venue. Stalls make a huge difference to the event. Guarantees at least some attendance in the very early part of a meeting.
Don`t charge for voluntary stalls. If a TU wishes to have a stall then an offer of a free stall with an advert in the programme – price by negotiation.
EXAMPLES OF STALLS: Palestine Solidarity, CND, Stop the War, National Union Teachers, Morning Star, UNISON, Communist Party of Britain, Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Indian Workers Association, Wolverhampton & Bilston TUC, Fair Trade, Troops Out.
Very well received part of event. Arranged at interval in middle of event, when most people are there.
We provide Asian buffet. 2 Somosas, Chick Pea Curry and Salad each. Paper plates, Serviettes, Plastic spoons, banqueting roll and tape to attach it.2 servers of the food. Plastic gloves/aprons.
BUDGET £100 to serve 200 people plus £30 dispoables
We use the same recognisable artwork each year. It is easy to adapt.
Include a contact mobile number - only one is best.500 A3 POSTER – 2 Colour – include the text `Not for flyposting` on poster. Use for: Flyposting, TU workplaces, Community Centres2000 A5 leaflets - for mailings and door-to-door leafleting in the area of the venue. This does work and is a very necessary task if you want to involve the local community.
BUDGET £150 It will take years to have a comprehensive mailing list though mass mailings to branches are a fall back position.
Mailings and leaflets to:• Trades Union Councils• Labour Party – poor attendance• Local trade unions via Trades Council Mailing• Local campaign groups: i.e. Anti-war• Voluntary / Community Centre – Worth doing, gets occasional links• Faith based organisations – no response• Leafleted local streets within walking distance – Do get a response• Advertise on Campaign and Trade Union web sites.• E-mail circulars
The reality, as always, is to get individuals to state where they will distribute leaflets and how many they need. If possible ask if they need a hand.
BUDGET £30 per mailing of 100, postage, envelopes etc.
ADVERTS• MORNING STAR - Always put adverts well in advance in the Monday Column and then a box on the day or a Saturday before. BUDGET £45•
What`s On Magazines - often free listings and widely read, but have a long lead time and may need 2 months notice, so just send what details you have.
Iternet adverts - type in "What's on in ..your town" and advertise for free on whatever sites come up e.g. Skiddle
• TU & TUC newsletters and magazines often are crying out for articles - need to send well in advance - include review of previous years and notice of next event.
• When we have used local radio DJ`s at the event, we advertised cheaply on their station. Need to provide own tape, they can help if necessary. Need 2-3 weeks notice. BUDGET £40.• Ask TUs to place advert or put one in if they make a donation or sponsor the event.
The programme acts as a promotion of the event, a keepsake, and is an opportunity to get the fundamental political messages across. DON`T CHARGE for it.• Front Page - Copy of poster (Constant)• Inside cover – list of stalls and Internationale (Constant)• Page 1 - Programme of events• Page 2 - General TUC advert on why to join a TU• Page 3 – Anti Fascist advert – UNISON West Midlands• Centre pages – main political article (four column layout) • Page 6 - local campaign adverts• Page 7 – Local Labour MP`s quotes• Page 8 - Workers Memorial Day (Constant)• Back Page – Map and directions for venue - quite important(Constant)Fill gaps in the programme with progressive adverts – regardless of payment.
We print (for mailings and at event):500 12-page A5 booklets. Cover 160gram coloured card, paper insert 100gram (prevents ink bled through)We will be aiming to produce a 16 page for 2005.Get copy done at least 1 month in advance – last item to complete prior to printing should be programme of events. Once confirmed – print.
FUNDING• All activities are provided by us to the audience free of charge on the day – except the bar.• Appeal letters to local trade union branches – but nothing beats personal contact. Follow up.• Appeal to a union region to sponsor the event. UNISON West Midlands who are invited to address the meeting for 5 minutes regularly sponsor us, including an A5 advert in the programme. We`ve had £250-£300.• Local T.U Branches have donated between £10 & £200. Advert in programme included.• Via Trades Council - apply to Regional TUC Development fund - up to £250 available. • On occasions we have held a collection at the end – divided between Morning Star and Trade Union dispute. Need to work out what the best time to take it will be, people may leave before end. Just after food is best.• Alternatively a raffle can be considered. Need to work out in advance who will be the sellers.
DECORATE VENUE• Outside - flags posters on venue. Make sure directions signs for cars or toilets are in place if needed.• Need 5? volunteers to set-up up hall, an hour before start.• Cover tables with banqueting role, decorate and arrange stalls. • Red cloth for table if you have speakers, especially if on a platform.• Ensure `stage` area for speakers and DJ etc stays clear.• Flags• Morning Star banner• Trade Union banners• May Day Committee banner - do you have one?• Display boards• Posters – be aware of management restrictions re sellotape, blue tack etc.• We intersperse entertainment and speakers throughout the event.• Bring gaffer tape, blue tack, marker pens, blank posters.
Three to seven days in advance for daily newspapers and radio2 months for `what`s on` magazines
Always difficult to get publicity. Best if personal contact can be made. Need local `newsy` event to stand best chance.
Possibly send letters to local newspaper
Get Mobile number for all speakers and entertainment – Best to have a back up speaker
ORGANISE A PHOTOGRAPHER - or ask the digital camera users to send you copies.
If it is to be videoed, would anyone want a copy? Is it worth it?
Can be expensive to print T-shirts or enamel badges and large quantities are often required to order. You can then waste a lot of time selling enough to break even.