Festival of Making attracts record crowds

Tens of thousands of people flocked to Blackburn town centre over the weekend of 12/13 May to ensure the National Festival of Making was a huge success.

Visitors came from all over the country to make the most of the glorious weather and the scores of attractions – from street theatre, music, film and exhibitions to markets and a tempting array of delicious street food.

It is the second year that the town has hosted the free two-day festival which celebrates the region’s manufacturing heritage and culture.

Visitor numbers are still to be confirmed, but early estimates are expected to be up on the 30,000 people who attended the inaugural event in 2017.

There were also even more hands-on opportunities than last year with an array of free workshops and fun events on Saturday and Sunday. As well as learning crafts like origami, jewellery making and leather work from experts, people could help to make a huge clay sculpture, print wallpaper or even engineer the perfect paper plane.

Those taking part included Blackburn’s MasterChef finalist Moonira Hinglotwala who held cake decorating demonstrations. Former Human League and Heaven 17 star Martyn Ware created a soundscape in the former Tony’s Ballroom and there was even a cinema made of cardboard!

The Taste Lancashire food and drinks marquee proved popular as did the BBC Introducing Stage in Cathedral Square, which featured the best up-and-coming musicians, and the high-tech activities in the STEAM pavilion.

Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Regeneration, was among the visitors and said:

“It was a fantastic success and we are very much looking forward to hosting the festival next year and building on the momentum.

The atmosphere was great. I thought the cardboard cinema was very impressive. I was also excited to get inside Tony’s Ballroom because it is a lovely art deco ballroom but one of the most exciting things was seeing so many young people trying out new skills and making things.

It was also great to see the festival attract so many people from the town’s different communities.”

Festival director and internationally-renowned designer, Wayne Hemingway, added that it had been “amazing” to attract so many people to the town centre.