Thousands expected at joyous Bankside festival to celebrate unity in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox

By Emma Pengelly

A festival with more than 100 performers celebrating what we have in common will hit the streets on Sunday June 23.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan hosted a launch party on June 4, pictured, for The Great Get Together which will open between Union Street, Redcross Way and Flat Iron Square in Southwark running from midday to midnight.

Environmental charity Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) will host the free festival which is in memory of MP Jo Cox and hopes to top last year’s 9,000 attendees.

BOST chairman Tim Wood said: “I’m overwhelmed by the amount of events we have going on this year and the quality of acts that are performing.

“We are so grateful to all those members of the local community and small businesses who have worked together tirelessly for this celebratory and commemorative event focused on kindness, compassion and inclusivity.”

The event weekend marks what would have been Jo’s 45th birthday – the Labour MP was sadly assassinated in a politically motivated attack on June 16 2016.

This year’s event is to reject divisive politics and celebrate what unites people.

In her maiden speech to parliament in 2015 Jo said: “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”

Jo’s sister Kim Leadbeater said: “I am delighted to be in Bankside again, ready to cheer on and encourage the fantastic work of Bankside Open Spaces Trust, who are leading efforts to host another excellent Great Get Together celebration.”

The event aims to bring people together in solidarity over a variety of activities including a dog show, a bake-off, wacky races, comedy, child-friendly zones and a street market as well as performers on five separate stages.

Labour MP Neil Coyle, the Mayor of Southwark Sandra Rhule and Lib Dem councillor Adele Morris are set to open the event.

BOST vice chairman Joseph Bonner said: “Hosting The Great Get Together allows us to work with a host of partners: residents, businesses, other charities, and organisations to get together and celebrate our vibrant community.

“Most of the musicians, singers, dancers, and performers are from – or connected in some way – with the area so it’s a real showcase of diverse talents.”

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