The Ringing World Coverage of the 2023 Festival

The Ringing World is a magazine printed every week since 1911 by ringers, for ringers, about ringers and ringing. Across two dozen pages, the weekly periodical contains articles, advice, reports, training material, notices of ringing events, and items of interest for bell enthusiasts. It also contains the definitive and authoritative record of change ringing peals rung throughout the globe.

If something of note is happening within the ringing community, The Ringing World is the first to report on it, which is why the National Bell Festival was thrilled to be featured in the New Year issue, published Jan. 6, 2023. Inside the back cover was a run-down of our tribute to the Emancipation Proclamation on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, along with our announcement of the Emancipation Bells.

Reprinted below is the text from that article, but we encourage you to subscribe to The Ringing World so you’ll never miss an issue.

Bells ring out for freedom 

Reprinted from The Ringing World, No. 5828, January 6, 2023

The National Bell Festival has announced the planned construction of a new bell tower in Washington, D.C., to honour the legacy of American abolitionists. Called the Emancipation Bells, the structure will house two belfries: one containing a concert-grade grand carillon of 52 bells each named after prominent Black abolitionists, and the other containing a ring of 12 swinging peal bells named for antislavery allies and activists. The carillon will be cast by Royal Eijsbouts in the Netherlands and the peal bells will be cast by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough. A large central bell will be suspended between the two belfries and will toll four times a year on dates connected to the emancipation of slaves. A surrounding amphitheatre and outdoor performing arts space will seat 200 for community performances, lectures and events. 

New Year’s Day 2023 marked the 160th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, when U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the document declaring that all persons held as slaves within rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free”. To commemorate the occasion and to reflect on 160 years of civil rights progress, the National Bell Festival led a tribute from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on New Year’s Day. 

Sixteen dignitaries took turns tolling a historic bell 10 times, amounting to 160 distinct tolls. The bell featured in the commemorations was cast in bronze by the Fulton Bell Foundry of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1863 – the same year as the Emancipation Proclamation. With a 32-inch diameter, the bell’s sonorous tolls resonated across the adjacent Reflecting Pool. 

The National Bell Festival is on a mission to celebrate and restore bells in America. Each year the festival rings in the New Year with free community events across America and around the world. The non-profit organisation also works throughout the year to restore historic bells and bell towers to their former glory. To link your New Year’s Day ringing to the festival on BellBoard, please visit The Ringing World event page.

Cover image: A man seated at a wooden table holds a magazine displaying The Ringing World article on the National Bell Festival.