Max McMurdo to appear at the Festival of Thrift

Max McMurdo

TV presenter and award winning designer and manufacturer of upcycled products Max McMurdo is heading to the Festival of Thrift.

Max has recently been seen on shows including Channel 4’s ‘Shed of the Year’, ‘Gok’s Fill Your House For Free’  and a special episode of ‘George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces’ which followed Max selling his house and building a house boat.  Max will be selling and signing his new book ‘Upcycling’ from the Gumtree bus at the Festival at Kirkleatham Museum and grounds near Redcar on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September.

He said: “I am very excited about returning to visit the Festival of Thrift.  It’s such a unique event and helps people find the fun in learning how to reuse, recycle and upcycle, saving both money and benefiting the environment, which is everything I am passionate about.

“With a bit of time and effort scrap items can be transformed into great designs that will last longer and look better than any high street chipboard nonsense and I will be giving tips and advice at the Festival about how to go about making fabulous eco-friendly items.”

Max’s appearance on the Gumtree bus is one of countless highlights at the hugely popular, fun-filled, free, family-friendly event which is now its fourth year.

Stella Hall, Festival Director, says that the Festival has invited a huge range of artists who share their skills along with an interest in upcycling, recycling and the environment to show that creativity is not limited to experts.

“Max has shown brilliantly that eco-friendly products do not have to be dull and worthy they can be contemporary, stylish and desirable as well as taking the environment into consideration.

“It’s wonderful that he will be at the event to share his passion and inspiration for beautiful items of waste that can be refashioned and upcycled into highly desirable objects.”

The packed Festival programme has been carefully designed to entertain and amaze visitors in equal measure with the range of activity on offer.  There are over 140 things to see and do throughout the weekend and lots for children including den building, campfire cooking, storytelling and chocolate making.

Stella added: “The event shows that we can all be experts, share knowledge and stories and build a creative community.  Everyone can make, learn and go away with something new to pass on; be it skills, knowledge, stories, thrifty purchases or even new friends. Artists and craftspeople like Max are at the heart of it.

The programme includes Redcar, the Town is the Menu, a huge community meal in the walled gardens, jam and chutney making at Jamallot or Jamalittle – if you are little – and campervan dining.  There’s also the chance to tell what you know to the cameras at Between Us, We Know Everything…, get expert knowledge in person from the People’s Encyclopedia and take a stroll to find out about another’s life in Mile in my Shoes.

Visitors can bring along broken things to the Fix it Café, choose a tune from DJukebox’s converted portaloo and enjoy a range of live music, take a journey gazing up to the woodland canopy on Track and join forces to take part in a super-sized team version of Massive Battleships.

At the centre of the site in the historic stable buildings, rarely open to the public, Navigator North has commissioned five emerging artists from Teesside, working with lead artist Steve Messam, to create stunning new artworks celebrating the region using recycled materials whilst OxGlam will present a catwalk show with upcycled outfits inspired by Kirkleatham Museum and a Day at Redcar Races.

In addition to lots of free drop in activities, there is a wide range of reasonably-priced workshops are on offer throughout the weekend for both young and old to learn a variety of new skills including blacksmithing, bacon curing and fish smoking to gardening for children and making thrifty kitchen cupboard beauty products.


For further details:

Diary date listing and event details

Event: Festival of Thrift

Date: Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 September 2016

Place: Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds, Redcar, North East TS10 5NW

Time: 10am – 5pm

Cost: Free event. Parking £5 per car. £2 per motorcycle.

Twitter @Thriftfest , Facebook @festivalofthrift


Media enquiries:

Rachel Smith, , 07905215712



  • The Festival of Thrift is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and enabled through a partnership with Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council,
  • It is sponsored by University of Teesside, UK Steel, Coast and Country, Gumtree and Northumbrian Water and supported through awards from Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and Teesside Community Foundation via the Teesside Offshore Wind Farm community benefit fund.
  • Additional support in kind has been made available by PD Ports and Seaview Restaurant, Saltburn on Sea.
  • The Festival was born in Darlington in 2012 and is growing up across the Tees Valley region, with a move to Kirkleatham for its fourth event.
  • In 2015 the Festival won the Arts Award in the Observer Ethical Awards, which celebrate the people, organisations and campaigners who are leading the way to ensure we have an ethical future.
  • The Festival won gold for the North East Tourist Event of 2015.

2016 event

  • The Festival of Thrift takes place on Saturday September 17 and Sunday September 18 2016 10am – 5pm at Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds near Redcar on the north east coast.
  • It is located in the tranquil village of Kirkleatham, in and around Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds, a Grade II listed building which dates from 1709 and now houses Kirkleatham Museum.
  • Kirkleatham village has one of the best collections of Georgian-style buildings in England and the almshouses on the Festival site, which were were built in 1676, are architecturally and historically notable.

Useful links:

About the festival

Footage of Festival of Thrift 2015:

Festival team: 

Annual report 2015: 

Observer ethical award 2015:

Max McMurdo:

His first book, UPCYCLING – 20 Creative Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials, shows you how to create beautiful and innovative furniture, lights and storage for your home using old or discarded materials.

Published by Jacqui Small, 15 September 2016, £20.00, Hardback


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