AN estimated 40,000 thrift–lovers flooded into Darlington’s Lingfield Point this weekend to attend the second ever award-winning Festival of Thrift.
Proving once again that thrift, upcycling and recycling is not just a ‘flash in the pan’ festival goers were treated to a two day extravaganza jam-packed with creative and money-saving ideas and activities and an incredible cultural offering.
With workshops, talks and demonstrations on everything from homemade bread and butter, to limestone walling, talks from University of Teesside social entrepreneur Steve Thompson to Green fashionista Lucy Siegle, designer Wayne Hemingway and Superscrimper Nicolette Lafonseca there was also plenty of inspirational upcycling and recycling to help change the way they live. Specially commissioned work from sculptor in residence Shane Waltener combined with exhibitions, films, performance and fashion shows to create a unique event unrivalled anywhere else in the UK.
Directed by Stella Hall and supported by Co-Founders Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway and John Orchard, a director of Marchday – the owners of Lingfield Point, the festival once again proved a huge hit both regionally in the North East and nationally.
Festival Director Stella said: “We’ve had a phenomenal weekend! A host of organisations and individuals have been working for months to pull together an incredible festival for a second year running.
“It was so motivating to see people engaging with artists and craftspeople and their ideas and learning new skills which will essentially be game changers in their daily lives.”
The Festival of Thrift made its debut in 2013 where it attracted a whopping 27,000 visitors, exceeding all expectations. The festival was an apt response to the current UK economy and struck a chord with families wanting to save money and live more sustainably.
It was this success that secured it for a second year running, and thanks to an array of financial partners and supporters in kind the festival site and programme were expanded offering even more for visitors to do.
Co-Founder Wayne Hemingway said “The Festival of Thrift really is making its mark both here in the UK and world-wide. It’s a fantastic festival with a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
“Everyone has a smile on their face while they are here, people genuinely love the idea of making do and mending and it’s been brilliant to be a key part in that.
“I’ve always believed in the ethos of thrift and sustainable living, and this just proves that so many people do or are beginning to share the same ideas.
“We’ve been thrifty all our lives and it is a factor of my life I’d never change. It’s been great to be back in Darlington at Lingfield Point – and it was great to see that so many people from last year turned up again and this time brought even more friends and family.”
Visitors got actively engaged in the Swapshop, fixed stuff at the Fix – It Café, paraded the catwalk as Best Dressed Thrifters and were treated to tips and tricks from well known Thrifters including Max McMurdo, Lucy Siegle and Nicolette Lafonseca Hargreaves, had delicious home cooked lunches in the Bistro Du Van restaurants, a festival soundtrack from the Charity Shop DJ and incredible art from renowned artist Francisco De Pajaro – the weekend did not disappoint.
John Orchard, Co-Founder and Director of Marchday owners of Lingfield Point, said: “Having the Festival of Thrift return for a second year at Lingfield Point has been a dream come true. The ideas behind both what we do here and what the festival celebrates complement each other perfectly.
“It’s not your average festival ground, especially with it being mainly commercial property buildings, but like us here at Marchday, people love the heritage of the old Paton and Baldwin site.
“It’s been an honour to host the event again and bring it to Darlington; I know the residents in the town are incredibly proud to say they come from the birth place of Festival of Thrift!”