WORK is already under way to bring the National Festival of Making back to Blackburn next year after 30,000 people from all over Britain descended on the town for the event.
Blackburn's design guru Wayne Hemingway, its director, wants to make the celebration of manufacturing and craft annual event in his home town.
The attendance at the first-ever National Festival of Making was double the organisers’ expectations and now Mr Hemingway and the rest of his team are seeking funding for next year.They are drawing up proposals for a bigger and better version in 12 months time.
The event on May 6 and 7, was the number one topic trending on Twitter with people travelling from as far away as London, Scotland, Bath, Birmingham and Carlisle.
Mr Hemingway, 56, said: “Plans are already under way for next year’s National Festival of Making.
“I want to see it as an annual event staying in Blackburn for ever, and it will evolve and get better.
“This year was the first ever such festival and I think the huge attendance, far exceeding our expectations, and celebratory atmosphere in the town made the case for an annual event and proved Blackburn is the ideal location.
“We now have the find the funding for this huge free festival and make sure other towns and cities which will have looked at its success cannot take it away.
“To say I am dead chuffed would be an understatement.“
Making Rooms, the town’s three story digital hub, reported six months’ worth of visitors over the two days and the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery attracted 10 times its normal weekend attendance.
The Community Clothing shop owned by Sewing Bee celebrity Patrick Grant, welcomed 500 people to its Community Quilt demonstration with a 1,400 percent increase on its typical sales.
Visitor surveys revealed that 80 per cent would visit Blackburn again and now saw the town ‘in a new light’.
Harry Catherall, chief executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “This was a fantastic event and a great opportunity to show off our town.
“I kept hearing over the weekend was that it was as if ‘Blackburn has woken up’ and I think that says it all.”
The festival was funded by the Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Superslow Way and the borough council.
This inaugural event was given Blackburn because of its role in the industrial revolution.