Thousands of visitors flocked to this year’s Festival of Thrift as it marked a decade of delivering its nationally-recognised celebration of sustainable living.
The tenth anniversary event also saw the festival paying a fond farewell to Kirkleatham, its home since 2016. In 2023 the festival is staging its next move around the Tees Valley and is relocating to Billingham.
Following a launch parade through Redcar on Friday evening, over 50,000 festivalgoers have enjoyed the packed programme of eye-catching and engaging artists and performers and hands-on family fun that the award-winning Festival of Thrift is known and loved for.
There was plenty of dancing as the crowds joined Miss High Leg Kick as endangered birds raving to 90s classics and Things that Go on Things’ Compact Disco Lycra-clad dancers as they toured the site with a giant mobile disco ball. They processed with Europe’s only all-female Mariachi band, Mariachi Las Adelitas, watched a classical Indian dance performance Jham! by Srishti and enjoyed performances by emerging and established singers, bands and DJs.
There was also lots of debate and discussion in the Enlightentent where a programme of talks ranged from our love of trees and the need to save indigenous insects, to a live discussion about the impact of the climate crisis with people living in the Amazon basin and northern India, Booker prize winner Ben Okri, pictured below centre, reading from his latest book ‘Every Leaf a Hallelujah’ and special story-telling sessions for younger visitors with children’s authors.
Across the site, workshop sessions shared skills ranging from how to budget, make ceramics, stitching and sewing, spoon-carving and planting a terrarium to making organic beauty products and sustainable washing detergent and the ECOuture sustainable fashion show showcased designs by slow fashion designers and upcycled outfits created by pupils at Catcote Academy in Hartlepool.
Beside Kirkleatham Museum, large-scale artworks, ‘On The Shore (Version 2)’, by Culture Declares Emergency founders Ackroyd and Harvey, pictured below, and ‘Arrivals and Departures’ by Yara and Davina, created a thought-provoking impact on visitors.
Diners pulled up a chair to join the 36-metre-long table for the festival’s communal meal The Town is the Menu and over 220 stalls selling food, drink, and artisan goods from independent traders were located right across the site.
Festival of Thrift director Stella Hall, pictured below, said: “We’ve had an amazing weekend. What better way to celebrate Festival of Thrift’s tenth year than by joining our amazing audience of thrift-goers in singing, dancing, enjoying good food and drink and sharing skills and experiences.
“Our event is always lots of fun, but it is underpinned by a serious intent to share the benefits of living sustainably. People are facing serious cost-of-living challenges and we are in the midst of a climate crisis so our message has never been more relevant. Our year-round mission encouraging people to make the shift to thrift continues.”
Festival of Thrift is funded thanks to generous support from Arts Council England, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority as well as Darlington Building Society.