THE date for Blackburn to host a major celebration of UK manufacturing, art and design has finally been set for May 2017.

Originally, the first National Festival of Making was scheduled for this month.


Now, after its organisers decided to go the extra mile to ensure the ambitious plans matched East Lancashire’s and Britain’s manufacturing heritage and potential, it will take place on Saturday, May 6, and Sunday, May 7.

Blackburn was chosen for the high-profile event because 25 per cent of the population still works in making and manufacturing. The town’s home-bred design guru Wayne Hemingway is in charge of organising the ‘not for profit’ social enterprise.

Events and projects announced today include a ‘Weekend Festival’ with hands-on activities, the ‘Art in Manufacturing’ show where 10 specially-commissioned artists will work with makers to create innovative and experimental new worksand a series of special ‘Front Room Factories’ films highlighting the historic role of home-based textile workers.

Mr Hemingway, joint founder of the National Festival of Making Community Interest Company and boss of HemingwayDesign, said: “This is a new kind of festival for a new age of making.”: one centred around not only quality, skill and ingenuity, but which fits into a welcome diversity of people and a networked, digital age“By commissioning artists to work with manufacturers in Blackburn and Darwen, the festival is provoking new and exciting ideas.

“We’re here to underscore that this area still has a successful manufacturing economy and can provide inspiration to others.”

Explaining the delay, he said: “We wanted to go further in developing events that matched our ambitions.”

“Good things come to those who wait.”

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss, said: “Our borough is the obvious home for the country’s first national Festival of Making.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how we can make the most of this opportunity.”

Khalid Saifullah, boss of Star Tissue and chairman of the Hive Business Leaders Network, said: “Blackburn is steeped in manufacturing history. But it is the pursuit of innovation and ingenuity that means the region still has making at its heart.”