Making and doing, not just viewing – marking another memorable event

Last September we celebrated sustainable living at the Festival of Thrift’s fourth outing at Kirkleatham in our own unique style, attracting visitors from all over the UK and helping to boost the local economy.

Our recently published annual report for the 2019 event is an uplifting and upbeat read packed with images and details of another successful year for our hugely popular festival.

Over 37,000 people visited or engaged with the festival’s extended programme last year, which took in a bigger launch parade and a Tees Valley-wide display of artworks focused on the theme of clean air.

Festival director Stella Hall commented: “We welcomed new visitors and old friends from all over the UK to our beautiful site at Kirkleatham, encouraging visitors to walk, cycle and even take a rocket to get there as we commemorated the Moon Landing and breathed in the Clean Air – our key themes for the year.”

The event delivered significant economic benefits to our Redcar home generating £1,333,211 spend in the local economy.

In keeping with the Festival of Thrift’s core aims, a post event survey of visitors revealed that 90% feel the Festival gets the audience immersed and involved in the arts, skills and sustainability whilst 60%  feel more informed about thrifty concepts and ideas and 71% agreed that they felt inspired to save money by recycling, upcycling or reusing.

The 2019 festival programme’s reach and impact went beyond the weekend celebration at Kirkleatham.

Stella Hall added: “The moon landing symbolised for us the aspiration we all feel to achieve something big together, plus we wanted to overturn ideas of us as a smog filled region as we celebrate some of the cleanest air in the country, thanks to the hard work of businesses, authorities and individuals across the region.

“Showcasing all this, our opening night parade doubled in size and our Viewpoints artworks programme extended our reach to Darlington, Middlesbrough and Redcar seafront, as well as taking over the town’s Palace Arts Gallery.

“This year, more than any time since we began, issues around sustainability and climate change have risen up local and national agendas, so we are more relevant than ever.”

Local businesses also benefitted from the event with priority given to local and regional traders to be part of the festival’s diverse offer for visitors.

Amongst the array of carefully selected food and drink providers, crafters, artists, up-cycled, recycled, sustainable and thrifty producers, 60% are based in the Tees Valley.

With the aim of ensuring the best impact to the local economy, the festival also showcases traders on its website for six months of the year.

Of the event’s 200 traders in 2019, 44% made between £1000 and £2000 over the festival weekend, with an average stall purchase of £24.40.  Of those that stayed overnight for the event, 11% stayed in a hotel or B&B in Redcar.

Stella Hall said: “The Directors would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all partners, artists, makers, visitors, traders and supporters who contributed to our shared success.”

The Festival of Thrift organisers are currently working hopefully towards another event in September this year.

Stella added: “Whether or not we manage to host a large-scale Festival in this momentous year of 2020, we are sure we will all be living more sustainable lives in the future.

“We send love and strength to you all in the hope we will be able to share our new knowledge together soon.”

Read the Festival of Thrift’s 2019 annual report here

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