THE chief executive of Arts Council England has given Blackburn’s Festival of Making a ringing endorsement.

“Blackburn is a place that has got making in its DNA,” said Darren Henley during a visit to the town to see the last minute preparations for this weekend’s festival.

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“What I love about the festival is that it has a real sense of authenticity. There is a real sense of imagination, innovation and ingenuity in the town and what we will have this weekend is a festival of national significance.”

The Arts Council help funds the two-day event, which last year saw more than 40,000 enjoying the exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops, via the National Lottery Project Grants Fund.

“Someone might well ask ‘why Blackburn?’,” he said. “Well, first of all why not? But also there is a really positive reason for it to be in Blackburn as there is this great heritage of making things here.

“What is interesting if go around the town is that you can see it’s not just about the past - it’s about the future.This is a very future-facing place which is brilliant.”

The Festival of Making was the brainchild of Blackburn design guru Wayne Hemingway and has quickly become one of the country’s leading creative events.

READ > 10 things to do at Blackburn's Festival of Making

This weekend there will be a wide range of exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops all around the town centre as Blackburn becomes a hive of activity with events for the whole family.

“The word is out there that Blackburn is an interesting, curious, quirky, creative place,” said Mr Henley. “It’s the sort of place where curious, quirky people are starting to make their lives and to work which is brilliant.

“What’s great about this festival is it’s a point when a lens is put on that and it becomes a massive celebration of what goes on in Blackburn.

“That celebration is being talked about by people across the country. The next question should be how do we take the work that created here out on to the international stage and how do we bring the best creative talent to Blackburn?

“For me the way Blackburn is heading is very positive. It’s exciting, and you can feel the buzz around the place as people get ready for this amazing weekend.

“At Arts Council England we want to make sure we back winners and it feels to me that Blackburn is a winner.”