This article first appeared in the York Press
Nearly 2000 festival-goers in York have enjoyed a festival of politics, debate and discussion.
The event in Deans Park, by the Minster, kicked off last Friday with the Big Tent Leaders Summit.
The next day saw crowds also enjoy the Big Tent Festival with more political leaders joining the throng.
With glorious Yorkshire sunshine bathing the event, the people of York and Yorkshire were keen to have their say on a range of topics, challenging front-bench politicians on the cost of living crisis, transport and regeneration.
Radix Big Tent CEO Ben Rich said: “We were particularly pleased to see so many people of all ages getting involved.
“There was so much to do outside of the panel sessions – like making your mark on the art wall or learning circus skills – and it was fantastic to have so many children and families enjoying the event.
“We were also delighted so many young people wanted to have their say in their own and the city’s future.
In a Schools Manifesto session, pupils from Bootham and Archbishop Holgate’s schools presented a plan on behalf of students across the city, country and overseas looking at how they would want education to evolve.
The festival also featured panels including the Times Health Commission and the Education Policy Institute.
The York-based Helmsley group, also led a tour of Coney Street and the Riverside, where the development company has submitted ambitious redevelopment proposals, featuring flats, shops, plus bars and restaurants.
Younger pupils from Tang Hall Primary were able to show off the computer game they had built with the aid of Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Game Creators, visualising York in the future.
Speakers corner attracted a wide range of ages and subjects including a passionate and inspirational student from All Saints, energising the audience on the subject of the climate crisis.
From the launch with Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Science Minister, George Freeman MP and York MP Rachel Maskell on Friday evening to the final sessions on women’s fight for equality at work and how we can improve skills training to aid levelling up, Mr Rich says the event was full of constructive, cross-party debate.
The panel discussions will be synthesised into the Big Tent Ideas Report, to be published at the organisation’s annual summit in November and presented to politicians and policy-makers.
The Big Tent Leaders Summit and Ideas Festival was partnered by the City of York Council, Aviva, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York Festival of Ideas, the Design Council, York Minster, York BID, the Helmsley Group, the Institute for Social Justice, York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub, Historic England, the Religion Media Centre and NHSA.