The festival takes place in Blackburn town centre, across 24 venues. Some of these are temporary venues like marquees and gazebos, others are shop units, heritage buildings and galleries.
Lots of activity happens around the area of the Town Hall on King William Street and Cathedral Square, so head to either of those locations if you’re not sure where to start!
We hope that the festival is for everyone! Whether you’re coming with a family and looking for a fun day out in the North West or you’re an established maker interested in expanding your skillset or meeting other like-minded people. Maybe you’re interested in experiencing some of the Art in Manufacturing exhibitions, eating delicious food, watching spectacular performance, taking part in a workshop, hearing insightful talks, shopping at the markets, watching film screenings or just soaking up the atmosphere.
Some activities have age guidance. For example some of the workshops are not suitable for young people under a certain age and there are activities specifically for Early Years. This information is stated clearly in the programme but if you’re not sure, just ask the artist!
Young people under the age of 16 should always be accompanied by an adult. Unfortunately it is not possible to leave your child in the care of an artist, volunteer or any member of staff, even if they are taking part in a specific activity for young people.
During the afternoon, the Dirty Faces Cinema will become a space suitable for 18+ only due to content advisories in the films. Specific trigger warnings and age ratings can be found on the door of the venue.
Depending on where you’re travelling from, the town centre is easy to find and get to.
There are plenty of buses and trains from local towns and cities and the bus station and railway station are very close to the festival activity. It’s less than an hour from Manchester by train, and plenty run to the town from Preston, which is a popular connection point from trains coming from further afield.
If you’re nearby, the town centre is easy to find on foot – head towards King William Street or Cathedral Square.
If you’re travelling by car, there’s lots of parking around the town. Click here to view a list of car park postcodes to put into your satnav.
There are 38 disabled parking bays located near to the entrance/exit doors to The Mall Shopping Centre. Designated disabled parking bays are also available on Church Street, just outside the Markets main entrance.
Fast (22kw) charge points for electric vehicles are located in Feilden Street, Brown Street & Weir Street car parks in Blackburn. There is a maximum stay of 4 hours & parking is free when charging. The tariff is 25p/kWh.
Slow (7kw) charging points are available in The Blackburn Mall car park.
For more information contact Blackburn Visitor Centre, based in Blackburn Market, for a full range of tourist & travel information. Contact them on 01254 688040 or email email@example.com for more details on parking, bus, train and coach travel.
Alternatively, visit www.visitblackburn.co.uk/shopping/transport-and-parking
You do not need a ticket to visit the festival! Most of the activities are completely free, including all performances, talks, exhibitions, film screenings and most workshops.
Some workshops have a small charge to cover material costs, and some workshops are bookable in advance where there are specific timings and limited capacity. You can see the bookable activities here.
There are loads of workshops, performances and activities that are drop-in and free (over 100 in fact!) so don’t worry if you haven’t booked anything in advance.
There are some markets and street food stands where locally made or handcrafted products can be purchased.
You can use our online programme to see the full range of activities going on over the festival weekend. Use the filters along the left hand side to see activities by type.
You can download a PDF version of our programme here.
Over the weekend, you will be able to pick up a printed programme from any of the festival venues.
You can also chat to our friendly Festival Volunteers who will be happy to assist you with finding your way around the festival.
If you would like specific advice, head to our Info Points. These can be found at:
The Festival takes over public spaces and venues in and around Blackburn Town Centre. The pedestrianised areas are very accessible for pushchairs and people who use a wheelchair however some of the activities take place in temporary marquees and gazebos where access may be restricted.
We strive to work towards an accessible programme of events but regret that not all venues are fully accessible to our whole audience at present. Please find details below of venues that are not fully accessible at this time, or which have alternative access.
Unfortunately, Tony’s Ballroom is on the upper floor with no lift access. The room capacity is limited to 50 people at one time and so there may be a small queue at the venue entrance. There is single step access to Prism Contemporary, Uncultured Creatives Studio (14-16 Lord Street West) and 29 Northgate.
The Cotton Exchange has new lift access designed into the building, and is accessible to people who use a wheelchair. The Making Rooms has alternative level access through the side entrance on Museum Street.
If you require any assistance or information, you can reach our team by speaking to one of the Event Staff who are wearing purple reflective vests. Alternatively you can head to the Festival Info Points on King William Street and Cathedral Square or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Note: it may take us longer to respond to emails over the festival weekend).
Located in the heart of the town, Blackburn Library provides areas for anyone in need of a private area for breastfeeding throughout the festival weekend. Just ask at the Library front desk and the staff will direct you.
You will find baby changing facilities here too, in the children’s library on the ground floor.
Baby changing facilities can also be found at:
Toilets can be found across the town centre including in the following locations:
Whilst the Festival weekend can get very busy, Blackburn Library provides areas for anyone in need of a quiet room or a private area throughout the festival weekend. No need to book, just turn up and ask at the front desk.
More about what these sessions involve can be found on the individual event pages.
Due to the size of the Thingamabobas venue, we strongly advise booking the sensory friendly session in advance to avoid disappointment.
Our team of festival staff and volunteers are aware that some members of the public may have Access Cards which indicate the type of reasonable adjustment a person may need in accessing the services at the festival.
We will do our best to support anyone who presents us with an Access Card. If you feel comfortable doing so, when presenting your card please share with volunteers/staff members what the symbols on your card indicate or what specific barriers we might be able to remove for you to enjoy the festival to its full potential.
Unfortunately, we may not always be able to remove all barriers due to the busy festival environment and crowds, however if you would like to contact us before the festival with any questions or to hear more about how the festival works, please contact us at email@example.com
We have official photographers at the event taking photographs and film. These photographers will be identified by a lanyard.
There will be signage displayed at all events acknowledging that photos and video will be taken. If you do not wish to have your image or the image of the child in your care captured, please speak to the photographer at the event or contact us using the details below.
You have the right to request that your image be removed from the digital server and from any unprinted / unpublished publicity material on the web by contacting:
Marketing Coordinator: Emma Colbert: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing and Audience Development Manager: email@example.com
Images may appear on our website, social media platforms and email newsletters, in our printed materials produced for promotional purposes including leaflets, posters and adverts, in materials sent out to the media, or in reports to funding bodies. We will not include personal email or postal addresses, or telephone or fax numbers on our website or in printed publications. Please note that websites can be seen throughout the world, and not just in the United Kingdom, where UK law applies.
Dogs are allowed in the outdoor areas in Blackburn Town Centre. The Festival weekend can get very busy so you may not feel that it is not the right environment for your dog. Assistance dogs are welcome in the indoor venues and marquees.
Over the festival weekend, we have a number of different food vendors and producers. The street food vendors will all be offering at least one vegetarian or vegan option. Some of the food vendors will be offering halal food options. Please speak to the traders for full information on ingredients.
There are also plenty of local cafes and eateries in the town centre, including Blackburn Market which is open on Saturdays.
If you become unwell during the event or need to receive first aid, Heart Medical are onsite to provide these services. Notify a member of event staff or security in hi-vis and Heart Medical will be radioed to attend.
In the event of an emergency, also call 999 immediately.
In the event that a child becomes lost during the festival, please notify a member of event staff or security in hi-vis.