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Marking 20 years since the Morecambe Bay Cockling Tragedy

Posted by More Music on 10 January 2024

The twentieth anniversary of the Morecambe Bay tragedy will be commemorated by More Music with an event on Morecambe’s West End Beach on Sunday 4th February 4.30pm – 6pm. This will be followed at 6.30pm by an event with music and food at More Music featuring the Long Walk Chinese Ensemble and flautist and cook Guo Yue.

Please support our event fundraiser here.

Listen to the Morecambe Bay Podcast as Pete Moser tells us about the event here.

The death of the 24 Chinese people highlighted the desperate plight of exploited migrant workers who often travel thousands of miles in the search for a better life and confirmed to us all, the danger of the Morecambe Bay and it’s shifting sands. The Morecambe Bay cockling tragedy led to the government giving its backing to the Gangmasters Act, aimed at stamping out “cruel and evil” gangmasters and to safeguard the welfare and interests of workers in agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering.

At this event we will think about their lives and commit to making the world a safer, better place for all. Please join More Music to send your wishes and thoughts out on the tide and in the wind.

On the West End beach by the Battery there will be music, warm drinks, braziers, lanterns on which people can write messages and thoughts and finally the lighting of a fire in the shape of a boat. We will also write these words, by Lemn Sissay, on the wall behind the beach

“There’s a time of day you can talk to a wave when you live by the side of the sea

You can hear its words in the whispering spray when you live by the side of the sea

The tales it tells of the storms and swells, things you hear but never can tell

When you live by the side of the sea”

At More Music an ensemble of musicians and singers will perform a selection of six songs from the Long Walk. This piece was created in 2006 in Morecambe as a musical and theatrical response to the tragedy and told the story of leaving home, travelling, arriving, working and then finally dying in the shifting sands of the Bay. It was originally conceived by Pete Moser and Lemn Sissay with words and music developed by the community over many months, and the project then was repeated in Liverpool, Gateshead and Hong Kong. It started a 12-year development of More Music community music projects in Hong Kong and Southern China.

Guo Yue is an internationally renowned flautist who has performed regularly at WOMAD and at events across the UK. He is also a brilliant cook and published a book about his life ‘Music, Food and Love” which tells the story of growing up in Beijing during the cultural revolution.

Sunday 4 February

Beach Event by the Battery | 4.30pm – 6pm | Free

A sculptural bonfire, lanterns, music and hot drinks on West End beach.

Long Walk Chinese Ensemble featuring Guo Yue at More Music | 6.30pm – 8pm | pay what you feel (£5/£10 suggested) Book your place here

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