Women Fest founder plans training camp for climate rebels | Environment


The woman behind the UK’s first female-only festival is setting up a climate activism training camp to instruct hundreds of young people in civil disobedience before a series of environmental protests planned for the coming weeks.

Tiana Jacout is putting on the Spring Uprising festival in Bristol this month for people taking part in the ongoing school strikes and the Extinction Rebellion protests planned for 15 April.

The two-day event will offer the usual festival diet of live bands and DJs alongside civil disobedience training and sessions on climate solutions.

Jacout said: “With thousands of people coming together to face the climate and ecological emergency, this event is intended to help people prepare, organise and celebrate for this historic moment in time together.”

Last month more than 10,000 young people took to the streets across the UK as part of the growing school strike movement. Up to 150,000 people around the world are expected to take part in a global school strike on 15 March.

Separately, thousands of protesters are expected to descend on London on 15 April as part of a global climate action organised by Extinction Rebellion.

The group, known as XR, has established groups in countries around the world and has the support of hundreds of senior academics and scientists.

It is demanding that the UK government tell the truth about the scale of the ecological crisis and enact legally binding policies to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025. It also wants the creation of a citizens’ assembly to oversee the transformation to a sustainable economy.

Activists closed down five London bridges for several hours in November, and they say this time they intend to bring widespread disruption to London until their demands are met.





Tiana Jacout



Tiana Jacout. Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Observer

Jacout said the festival was a chance for people who were considering getting involved in climate campaigns to “come together, get trained, get organised and have a damn good time doing it”.

She added: “One of the real challenges of being in this movement is that every week there is a new scientific study coming out that shortens the time we have left to take action. That is why we need to come together and look after each other. Taking part in civil disobedience is high adrenaline and you need to be looked after and cared for. That, along with training and preparation, is what this festival is about.”

The event, on 16 and 17 March, has sold more than 700 tickets and has the backing of music industry and festival organisers such as Boomtown, Buddhafield and Burn Punk. A dozen music acts including Sam Lee, Dizraeli, Mesadorm, Bellatrix, Pete the Temp, Honeyfeet, Nick Mulvey and the High Breed have been confirmed.

Jacout, who staged Women Fest last year, said that although non-violent civil disobedience was at the heart of the emerging environment protest movements, “many of the people who have come forward to join may not have been in that situation before”.

“As we saw from our demonstrations in November we are entirely peaceful and although there were lots of police around it was all calm and friendly, but we think that people can’t be too well trained or briefed and the more support we can give each other the more successful the rebellion can be,” she said.

The event will include a talk from school strike activists and video linkups with XR groups around the UK and the rest of the world.

“This is the next step in our response to the threat to life we all face, a potentially life-changing event for attendees,” Jacout said. “For people who have not been involved in XR before, this is perfect moment to come down and see what we are about, to meet and make friends and get properly involved.”



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