Baroness Sayeeda Warsi cropped

The Big Tent Ideas Festival, taking place in the grounds of York Minster on 17th June 2023, is to open with a special extra session on the evening of Friday 16th June with Baroness Sayeeda Warsi as the star speaker.

The former Conservative Minister and Party Chair, Baroness Warsi will open the public festival at 6.30pm with a speech on Constructive Political Debate and Civil Disagreement – a key tenet of the Big Tent philosophy.

Her commitment to cross-party working was amply demonstrated by her co-hosting last year of Channel Four’s reality show, ‘Make me Prime Minister’, alongside Alastair Campbell.

Also speaking at the opening event will be Big Tent Founder and Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman MP, and York Central MP, Rachael Maskell, while the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell will deliver a video message of support.

“This will be the perfect launch event for a day of non-partisan political debate, policy exploration, arts, drama, and lots of pleasant conversations in the Yorkshire sun, over a pint or two of Black Sheep,” commented Ben Rich, CEO of the Big Tent Ideas Festival, with his fingers firmly crossed.

Tickets will be available for guests who have registered for the Big Tent Ideas Festival on the 17th June but are limited in number. Invitations will be sent to those who have already registered – and to future registrations –  to enable them to book for the opening ceremony. The festival bar will be open during and after the event, adding to the festival atmosphere.

The Big Tent Ideas Festival will take place on Saturday 17th June with front-bench politicians, business and civic leaders, academics – and most importantly – the public coming together for a day of debate and thought-provoking activities. Panel discussions and interactive sessions, a Pitch Pit for local entrepreneurs, an art wall, a Community Fayre and a Speakers Corner will ensure that everyone has a way to have their say. The full programme can be found here.

Tickets for the Big Tent Ideas Festival are free but must be registered here

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