Countdown is on to the National Festival of Making!

Published 03rd Jul 2023

Start making plans – the National Festival of Making is this weekend and not to be missed!

Running over Saturday (July 8th) and Sunday (July 9th) the event is a unique celebration of UK making – from the kitchen table to the factory floor.

It boasts everything from workshops to impressive art installations, theatre and musical performances, makers markets, delicious street food, talks, tours, and more and runs at venues right across Blackburn town centre.

The festival programme is bursting with more than 50 things to see, do and experience with the vast majority being FREE to enjoy – click this link to check it out now!

Top picks of what’s new for 2023:


Over the weekend, marquees will be dotted across the town centre with events also taking place in venues including The Mall, Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, the Cotton Exchange, Tony’s Ballroom, Town Hall Square, the Making Rooms, Blackburn Cathedral and more!

And there’ll be two new information points too – in The Mall just off King William Street (next to Secret Santa) and just opposite the train station at One Cathedral Square.

Lauren Zawadzki, Co-Director of the National Festival of Making, said:

“The Festival is a great day out with some incredible exhibitions of both newly commissioned and touring work.

“Expect creative workshops, performances, print fairs and street food but it’s also a chance to show Blackburn in a different way, this is a town that has been innovative and creative for hundreds of years and given its continued relevance to design and manufacturing, we think that is something worth celebrating.

“Each year we build on the Festival, giving a platform to artists and makers and providing a positive, inclusive and joyous experience for all involved, whether audience member, maker or practitioner, and we think that sense of passion for creativity comes across throughout the Festival weekend.”

Launched in 2016, the ambition of the Festival of Making CIC was to create a nationally-relevant, cultural festival in Blackburn, while celebrating the unique manufacturing heritage and contemporary characteristics of the town and region more widely.

Today, the programme of work combines art, manufacturing, making and communities, with national and international artists commissioned to create world class works, a year round programme and the free family festival for all to enjoy.

Impressively, the festival has also been selected as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations for 2023-2026.

Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

“The National Festival of Making is a big deal and we’re incredibly proud to host it here in Blackburn and play an integral part as a Festival partner too.

“The Festival celebrates the unique making heritage of our borough, creating a distinctive sense of place while boosting our town’s tourism profile and supporting local businesses – it’s absolutely fantastic!

“Once again the talented Festival team has worked incredibly hard to pull together a packed programme of events for 2023 with something for everyone. This is our borough’s biggest event of the year and it just gets better and better every time.

“I look forward to seeing the town centre packed with residents and visitors enjoying all there is to offer!”

You can take a look at what’s planned now by clicking this link to the National Festival of Making programme for 2023.

The easy guide offers you 17 different categories to choose from and a breakdown on what’s available on each of the days and where.

You can also watch a video of the 2022 Festival for a taste of what’s to come – click here to view it on Youtube.

And, be sure to follow the National Festival of Making on Facebook, Twitter and Insta too.

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