2025 Festival Dates: 5 & 6 July

STOP PRESS! Lancashire looks forward to the new June 2019 Festival of Making

27th November 2018

Major industry, contemporary artists, diverse communities, artisan and modern makers will come together again for a summer of invention as Lancashire looks forward to June 2019 and the return of acclaimed ‘must-visit’ festival.

Returning to Lancashire for a third year, The National Festival of Making will take place in Blackburn on Sat 15 and Sun 16 June 2019.

A uniquely innovative fixture on the UK festivals calendar, 40,000 people attended the 2018 edition to take part in an array of making activities, encounter outdoor performances, innovations in science and technology and art installations alongside the finest in food, drink and handmade design.

Festival organisers, including co-founder, Wayne Hemingway MBE, call on artists and British manufacturers to get involved in an even more ambitious event next summer.

Britain’s revolution in hands-on creativity, contemporary manufacturing and tech-led making shows no sign of slowing and the festival that shouts loudest about the brilliance of the nation’s makers, The National Festival of Making, will return to Blackburn, Lancashire on Sat 15 – Sun 16 June 2019. Entering its third year, the free-to-attend festival moves to a summer date for the first time. 

Attracting 40,000 people to Britain’s making and manufacturing heartland of Lancashire in 2018, visitors to the ambitious, town centre event can expect to encounter more makers in workshops for all ages and backgrounds, find the work of renowned artists in unusual locations and indulge in independent market shopping.


10,800 individuals sat down to make, in over 100 workshop sessions during the festival weekend last year, engaging people with makers as diverse as leatherworkers, engineers, ceramicists, chefs, technologists and fashion designers. Shortlisted in the prestigious UK Festival Awards for Best Family Festival and Best Non- Music Festival, recognising the festival’s inclusive atmosphere of discovery and celebration, as well as clinching Visit Lancashire’s Tourism Awards, Large Event of the Year accolade, the festival is set to grow to meet demand.

Delivered with the engagement of the communities in and surrounding Blackburn, from major manufacturers to home makers and their ‘Front Room Factories’, festival organisers are launching a call-out for ideas and new collaborations .The groundbreaking ‘Art In Manufacturing’, a co-commission between The National Festival of Making and Super Slow Way, pairs artists and industry to make show-stopping installations and performances, and returns for 2019. Artists and manufacturers are asked to get in touch with festival organisers to start the conversation and exchange ideas.

Elena Gifford, Creative Director of The National Festival of Making and Deco Publique, says: “As our headline commissioning programme and ‘Art in Manufacturing’ enters its third season, we look back on the huge support of the private manufacturing sector and the unforgettable experiences of working with fearless, diverse manufacturers such as The Cardboard Box Company, Cherrytree Bakery, Graham & Brown and WEC Group, all significant employers and innovators in their fields.

“For 2019 we look forward to building on those relationships and establishing new ones – extending the unique platform we create for visual artists, sculptors, performers and makers to work with manufacturers and create unusual and inspiring artistic experiences for our thousands of visitors. It’s time to do it all again in the spirit of collaboration and boundary- breaking, with creatives and makers of all distinctions invited to consider how they can be part of the festival in a new Open Call for Artists.”

The promise of ‘a new kind of festival for a new age of making’ was made by co-founder, supporter and Lancashire-born designer, Wayne Hemingway. The pledge by the Red or Dead founder (which established its manufacturing base in Blackburn in 1983), now leading HemingwayDesign to realise socially-conscious, creative design projects and festivals, was fulfilled with tens of thousands attending an exciting, brand new festival concept. The first of its kind, The National Festival of Making successfully united food and drink, technology, major manufacturing, engineering, art, craft and design.

Wayne Hemingway says: “What has been achieved by The National Festival of Making in just two years is nothing short of remarkable. Blackburn hadn’t previously been renowned as a place of weekend festivals. Most importantly, The National Festival of Making is helping the region reclaim its status as Britain’s making and manufacturing hotbed. This is something that has always been in the ‘place DNA’ of the region and will stand it good stead for its future well-being.”

From textiles to terracotta, Blackburn, neighbouring Darwen and Lancashire are at the heart of making history in Britain, a place where the Industrial Revolution blossomed and where manufacturing and entrepreneurship still blooms. The National Festival of Making aims to raise national, if not international awareness of the benefits of making and inspire others to consider their own talents, aspirations and making potential.

Lauren Zawadzki, Festival Director of The National Festival of Making and Deco Publique, says: “For two years the festival has created a living experience of making in Blackburn town centre with and for communities – we continue to challenge ourselves to create an inclusive, meaningful and high quality festival that provides making for everyone. Through hundreds of partnerships and extensive community engagement, Lancashire has taken the festival on as its own, but this is also a nationally relevant festival weekend and one that increasingly will attract culture visitors to Blackburn and Lancashire. If you’re interested in making of any kind, there is nowhere better to be this June than in Blackburn.

Councillor Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration and Growth, said: “It’s exciting news that Blackburn will be hosting this award-winning festival for the third year running. The Festival provides a massive boost for the town’s tourism profile and supporting businesses in the borough, which is very much a priority for our Council. This year, the event promises to be even bigger and better and we are really look forward to welcoming more visitors to showcase how Blackburn has transformed over recent years and what the town has to offer.”

“As a Council, we’re passionate about supporting the creative arts and we like to be
innovative, showcasing events like The National Festival of Making and including many others like the recent Blackburn Open Walls, which saw artists from around the world use buildings as a vibrant outdoor gallery. Initiatives like these really help put Blackburn on the map and make it a place that visitors want to come to. Announcing the dates for the 2019 National Festival of Making is a fantastic way to celebrate Lancashire Day and everything that’s great about the county.”

For updates about the festival programme and information on how to get involved, sign up to the mailing list. Further news and opportunities will also be posted on social media at:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/festofmaking
Facebook: www.facebook.com/festofmaking
Instagram: www.instagram.com/thefestivalofmaking



2019 Trusts & Foundations

The National Festival Of Making Delivery Team

National Festival of Making is supported by the Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Brian Mercer Trust and Foundations and Partners. This project is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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