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Greater Manchester’s newest festival set to return for second year after creating significant impact.

We Invented the Weekend, the bold and imaginative free festival for the UK held in Salford, is set to return to MediaCity and Salford Quays in June 2024 after a recent study revealed it delivered a total impact of more than £3.2 million* for the local economy in its inaugural year.

With 60,000 visitors in attendance across the two days of the festival – which was held in June 2023 – the festival is celebrating helping MediaCity to achieve its highest footfall in its 12 year history.

A separate study commissioned by the festival also revealed a third of attendees to We Invented the Weekend were from Salford, with a significant 25% of visitors classed as visiting from outside of Greater Manchester, further highlighting the draw of the festival and its unique programme in exposing new audiences to MediaCity and the wider Salford Quays.

The impact on MediaCity’s existing tenants was also substantial, with 40% of festival attendees visiting a restaurant or café, 27% visiting a pub or bar, and 40% partaking in shopping.

With more than 160 event and content partners – from household names, such as BBC, RHS and Sounds From The Other, to community-run organisations – We Invented the Weekend put on over 200 free activities for visitors as the cost-of-living crisis was at its peak.

The founding partners of the festival, which include MediaCity, Salford City Council, Quays Culture, The Lowry, and HemingwayDesign, have ambitious plans for its second year. The collective are looking to bring on board more content and event partners as well as benefactors to increase the variety of the festival, grow numbers and ensure the festival remains free for the people of Salford and beyond.

Hailed for generating ‘incredible social value’ by Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett, We Invented the Weekend celebrates how people spend their leisure time, situated where the weekend was originally invented in Greater Manchester, 1843.

The breadth of the programming saw an array of exciting performances and participatory moments , including showcases from the BBC Philharmonic, Factory International, Sounds From The Other City, and community dance groups. Charity Super.Mkt’s first venture into the North created a buzz and great support for ten different charities, while CBeebies Bedtime Stories LIVE and painting classes at The Lowry captivated the kids and families throughout the weekend.

Wayne Hemingway, co-founder of We Invented the Weekend, said: “This was four years in the making, including a last-minute postponement in 2022 out of respect for the Queen’s death, so to achieve what we did in the first year on a reduced programme that still offered more than 200 free activities, was beyond anyone’s expectations.

“It showed how well the concept of the festival resonated with all types of demographics, the draw of MediaCity and Salford Quays as a truly unique destination in the North, and the power of community and social spirit. We Invented the Weekend is here to be a mainstay of the UK’s cultural calendar as we look to realise the full potential of the festival and in turn reach a growing audience.”

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “These amazing figures from last year’s event speak for themselves. They validate the approach we have taken as a partnership and highlight not only the huge appeal the event has, within the city and beyond, but also the real positive impact and benefit it brings to the city. It’s proven to be a festival that offers something for everyone, locals, visitors and business alike. There’s a real buzz about this festival and there’s anticipation for next year. We’ve set a high benchmark and that raises expectations, but I’m all for that and I’m confident we’ll deliver another successful and unmissable event in 2024.”

Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCity, said: “We’re now just over a decade in MediaCity’s development and are continuously looking at ways to increase the destination’s placemaking potential as we get set to embark on our next phase of evolution for residents, workers, and visitors. We Invented the Weekend has been a huge success in that regard and spawned new partnerships and opportunities for the local economy that will continue for many years to come.”

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