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After returning to MediaCity and Salford Quays for its second year, We Invented the Weekend has once again set the standard for free festivals in the UK, after tens of thousands enjoy two days of free performance, talks and participatory activities.

The ambitious and imaginative free festival champions differences in how people spend their leisure time, situated where the weekend was originally invented in Greater Manchester through campaigning action in 1843.

2024’s programme reinforced the significant social value brought to the region by the festival with highlights from the weekend including Peggy Seeger – the widow of Salford folk legend – Ewan MacColl, exclusively debuting an abandoned verse of Dirty Old Town on the Piazza stage, British Cycling, DJ Paulette and the BBC’s Gladiators.

Wayne Hemingway, Co-Founder and Creative Director of We Invented the Weekend said: “For the second time running we have seen Greater Manchester come together to celebrate the something we all have in common; the weekend. We have seen people from all walks of life engaging with what We Invented the Weekend is all about – discovering something new and celebrating free time.”

“We are incredibly proud to offer We Invented the Weekend to the public completely free and it is with huge thanks to our sponsors, brands and local community groups for understanding the social value of a free festival and the power it has to bring people together.”

Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett also said “This year’s We Invented the Weekend has been a special celebration of Salford’s cultural legacy. The festival has showcased positive growth from last year and has been another success for the city. We all have a clear passion for Salford and We Invented the Weekend visually showcases this community spirit in a truly unique way.”

Offering more than 200 free activities across the weekend, the festival presented an array of performances, workshops and mass participatory moments including showcases from BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Sounds from the Other City, Mr Motivator, CBeebies Bedtime Stories and Opera North.

Charity Super.MKT also returned offering vintage fashion and other hidden gems, as well as Melanin Markets and a pop-up shop from ethical clothing brand Community Clothing, with founder and Great British Showing Bee star Patrick Grant also delivering a talk based on his new book: ‘Less: How to Stop Buying So Much Rubbish’.

A jam packed schedule of activity was hosted by a key partner of the festival; The Lowry, with an aerial dance duet from All or Nothing and a high-energy exciting flash mob inspired by SIX The Musical.

Title partner Auto Trader engaged with families with a focus on electric vehicles, getting people to try out electric bikes, challenge themselves with some mini tech challenges and test their driving skills on driving simulators. On the Piazza, hundreds of visitors took part in the Free Time Parade, celebrating what the weekend means to them, while the festival’s first ever Sunday Best People’s Catwalk supported by the University of Salford saw individuals, groups and communities from all walks of life strut their stuff in a fashion show in a celebration of personal style and community spirit. Over 5,000 people took part in Healthy Cities activities which will see the Bupa Foundation plant 5,000 trees across Salford and Greater Manchester.

2024’s We Invented the Weekend offered a musical programme for the books for everyone to enjoy with DJ Roesh, Unity Radio presents Zed Bias, Eve’s Drop Collective and Playhouse Project, whilst Hacienda legend DJ Paulette closed proceedings on the Sunday under the Salford sun.

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