Reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson joins the ‘dream lineup’ for Morecambe’s first poetry festival

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Award-winning reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson has joined the illustrious line-up of the first-ever Morecambe Poetry Festival.

Johnson will take the stage at the opening night of the Morecambe Winter Gardens on September 16 with TS Eliot Award winner Joelle Taylor.

Along with legendary punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke, Linton’s addition to the festival completed “a belt lineup led by the two godfathers of the UK spoken word scene”, said festival founder Matt Panesh.

Stage times and show tickets have now been released for the three-day Word Party which will take place in the Lancashire seaside town from September 16-18, 2022.

The full lineup was also announced as follows:


Linton Kwesi Johnson and Joelle Taylor 7pm (£15)

Dr. John Cooper Clarke & Mike Garry 9pm (£25)

Pass all Friday shows (£25)


John Hegley 4pm (£5)

Lemn Sissay & Henry Normal 8pm (£15)


Alt course from noon to late

Atila the stockbroker and Kate Fox 7 p.m.

Star names from across the UK will take to the main stage while next door at Johnny’s Warehouse Bar, the Alternate Stage will offer local poets the chance to take part in the festival alongside the stars.

On Friday, September 16, Linton and Joelle Taylor (pictured below) will be first at 7 p.m., followed by Dr John Cooper Clarke and Mike Garry at 9 p.m. and an after-party poetry club with Mike Garry, Thick Richard and a Open Mic.

On Saturday, John Hegley will present a family show at 4 p.m. with Henry Normal & Lemn Sissay in the evening show at 8 p.m.

Sunday, it will be the turn of Atilla the stockbroker and Kate Fox before the closing party.

The Alt Stage will open at noon on Saturday and Sunday with a host of poetry club nights and an Open Mic.

A weekend pass for the alternative stage costs £10.

Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in Jamaica and came to London in 1963.

In the 1970s he was in the Black Panthers and worked at the Keskidee Center, the first home of black theater and art.

Johnson’s first collection of poetry, Voices of the Living and the Dead, came out in 1974.

In 2002, he became the second living poet and the first black poet to have his work included in Penguin’s modern classics. Johnson’s debut album, Dread Beat An Blood, was released in 1978; he has since published 14 more.

Matt Panesh (pictured below) said: “I am delighted Linton is coming to Morecambe. Together with John Cooper Clarke, they are the godfathers of the outsider scene of punk poets. It really is a brilliant formation for our first outing.”

Matt, leader of the West End Players, was inspired by his work as artistic director of the Edinburgh Festival’s PBH Free Fringe, where he brought together a community of poets to present over 1000 performances over the three weeks.

“Securing Cooper Clarke from the start has been key to building this high caliber line-up and I am grateful to all the poets who have responded so positively to my call to bring the best of the UK’s spoken word to Morecambe” , did he declare.

“It’s my dream line-up. I want this to have a real impact on the city, because we know that access to the arts can change lives and lead to cultural renewal. Now that Creative Lancashire is also offering support, it’s gaining real momentum.

Creative Lancashire – a service provided by Lancashire County Council – has agreed to sponsor the festival.

Ed Matthews-Gentle of Creative Lancashire said: ‘Literature and poetry have always been an important part of Lancashire’s heritage, from Jeanette Winterson to Joelle Taylor and we want to see that grow and play a bigger role. in our story, so when we saw what Matt was up to, we were excited to support the event.

From 5 p.m., there are 18 and over.

Tickets are available here.

See here for our exclusive story when we broke the news of the Morecambe Poetry Festival in May

Morecambe Poetry Festival Debuts – Beyond Radio

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