Plans are afoot to take the fourth annual Festival of Thrift to the stunning location of Kirkleatham in Redcar on 24th and 25th September 2016.
The award-winning, free family festival shows people how being creative saves money, is better for the planet and brings together communities.
Heading out of its birthplace in Darlington for the first time since the inaugural Festival in 2013, the festival team wants to show how the event can inspire and support the economic future of communities throughout the Tees Valley.
The festival will return regularly to Darlington in future years. A ten-year plan is currently being drawn together for future festival locations, working towards 2025, the 200th anniversary of the world’s first passenger steam railway which journeyed between Darlington and Stockton and the year for which Tees Valley is bidding to be UK Region of Culture.
A proposal detailing the festival’s aims, values and programme will be presented at the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council Cabinet Meeting at the Leisure and Community Heart on 1st March where councillors will give the final decision as to the 2016 Festival taking place at Kirkleatham. HRH The Prince of Wales visited the estate last week, as part of a wider visit to the borough, as The Prince’s Foundation is working with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council to develop plans for its regeneration.
The proposal also follows the recent visit to Tees Valley by Lord Heseltine to discuss plans to drive forward investment opportunities to the region. Lord Heseltine has been appointed chair of the Tees Valley Inward Investment Initiative with a specific remit to boost the region’s international profile.
The Festival of Thrift is the UK’s National Celebration of Sustainable Living. It brings together international and emerging artists, superscrimpers, makers and designers, as well as stallholders selling all manner of homemade, home-grown, upcycled, recycled and thrifty produce. The festival brings people together to share skills through workshops, talks, films and a whole lot of hands-on joining in and making. This year, the festival will concentrate on sustainable business development, if the move to Kirkleatham is agreed, the programme will also include locally grown produce, food and drink inspired by the kitchen gardens and traditions at Kirkleatham.
Stella Hall, festival director said: “I’d be delighted to head out to Redcar this year. Redcar received such a huge blow in 2015 with the demise of the steel works which coincided with last year’s festival. “We hope to show how each of us has skills and creativity we can contribute, to create a sustainable community.
“The Festival of Thrift is dedicated to shining a light on the Tees Valley, celebrating the area’s individuality and the strength of its people.
“We will be heading back to Darlington for 2017, but the opportunity of holding the festival at Kirkleatham this year was too good an opportunity to miss.
“The site is the epitome of great regeneration. Kirkleatham has a fascinating museum collection, a stunning church and mausoleum, almshouses, railway cottages, park and woodland within walking distance.
“Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council will be sensitively developing the stables on site, with an eye to business start-ups. Together with the new adventure playground, it’s a complete gem of a festival location.”
Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Councillor Sue Jeffrey said: “The festival organisers and Darlington Borough Council have worked extremely hard to make the festival a huge success and we would work closely with them to replicate that in Redcar.
“We would be delighted to welcome the festival in 2016, particularly to such a special site which perfectly suits the festival’s values. It would be a real boost to our communities to host such a fantastic event.”
Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council said: “Darlington’s ingenuity gave birth to the festival and we are delighted to see those ideas developed and explored in other settings and places, but look forward to welcoming the festival back home.”
The festival has continued to grow in size as well as reputation. In 2015 the festival welcomed 45,000 visitors throughout the weekend at its first home at Lingfield Point, Darlington and scooped the Observer Ethical Award for Arts and Culture – a national coup for a home-grown festival. In the same year it won the North East Tourism Event of the Year.
This year’s festival will invite the UK’s thriftiest and most sustainable stallholders and build on some of the great programmes from previous years including Alternative Village Fete with its mix of wandering performance and music stages, Oxglam recycled fashion shows, Bistros du Vin with local and amateur chefs and Fix It Café, helping to save waste by fixing everything from a child’s music box to a broken computer. Workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, The Big Talks and Peoples’ Encyclopaedia will all be about sharing skills and showing how each of us has something special to offer. The most exciting elements will emerge from the history and heritage of the site itself and will be announced in the coming months.
For more information visit festivalofthrift.co.uk and sign up to receive email newsletters, keeping you up to date as the festival programme develops over the next few months.