Resounding success for fourth Festival of Thrift

Festival of Thrift 2016

Over 35,000 visitors flocked to the award-winning Festival of Thrift in its new location at Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds near Redcar.

The large-scale, family-friendly event proved to be hugely popular with crowds flooding onto the site throughout the two day extravaganza to enjoy the jam-packed programme of activities.

Now in its fourth year, the Festival aims to entertain as well as inspire and educate visitors about how to live sustainably in style.

Throughout the event, festival-goers had a choice of over 140 things to do, see and take part in, including a series of workshops and demonstrations on subjects ranging from foraging for food and wild baking, to talks from a mum of five about how to be hard up and happy and about pursuing ethical careers in fashion by eco fashion champion Safia Minney.

Adults and children alike pitched in to make everything from jam and chutney to bread and cured bacon, join in a large-scale community meal inspired by tales from the Redcar area in the village’s hidden walled garden and enjoy home-made food, cooked to order and served up to diners in camper vans.

Festival Director, Stella Hall, said that the new location of Kirkleatham has proved to be a great fit for the event.

“We fell in love with the Kirkleatham site as soon as we saw it and visitors have loved it too.  It is wonderful to have been able to share the fun, enjoyment and inspiration that this amazing Festival produces with this beautiful part of the Tees Valley.

“A year after the devastating blow of the closure of the steelworks the weekend has also provided a positive focus for the area.  We have been able to celebrate some of the proud history of this area and share it with visitors who in turn can pass it on.”

The Phoenix Choir, formed for the Festival to celebrate 170 years of iron and steel-making in Redcar, appeared around the site in a series of pop-up performances singing mash-ups of traditional songs whilst artist Pauline Taylor from Infinite Arts worked with visitors to create 170 WISH flags to feature the thoughts, wishes, and dreams of the people who took part.

Ceramicist Guy Mitchell also worked with families throughout the weekend to create 170 commemorative tiles that will be fired and installed on the site in the forthcoming year.

Another important focus for the 2016 Festival was to inspire young people to take part, learn and share. The programme included activity workshops to pass on and share key skills, the opportunity to get expert advice in person at the People’s Encyclopaedia and inspirational stories from people across the world at Empathy Museum’s A Mile in My Shoes project.

Young bands from Redcar’s Tuned In venue entertained the crowds, students from Teesside University and CCAD demonstrated their thrifty fashion skills, whilst young and old alike enjoyed the experience of being pushed along Track close to the site of the track to the former Dunsdale ironstone mine, as they contemplated the canopy of the woodland at the Kirkleatham setting.

Visitors also had a rare opportunity to view Kirkleatham’s recently restored Grade II* listed stable block which was transformed for the event by a series of striking new artworks by five emerging artists from Tees Valley and County Durham exhibiting alongside established artist Steve Messam.

Festival of Thrift co-founder Wayne Hemingway said that the event had been given fantastic support in its new venue to help it share its underlying ethos of thrift and sustainable living.

“Living a life that doesn’t cost the earth is an important message for all generations and the Festival is unique in offering masses of creative and money-saving ideas and activities alongside an incredible cultural offering.

“Redcar and Kirkleatham have embraced the festival in style and we have had an incredible weekend.  The sun was shining, people were smiling and everybody was happy.  Bring on next year!”

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Photos of the 2016 Festival of Thrift (Credit Tracy Kidd) and logos are available to download here:


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.
* Sustainable transport options are available to help festival goers get to the site, Useful links:

About the festival:

* Footage of Festival of Thrift 2015:
* Festival team:
* Annual report 2015:
Observer ethical award 2015:


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