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We Invented the Weekend: The Festival of Free Time. MediaCity and Salford Quays, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September, 2022

In partnership with the BBC, The Lowry, the University of Salford, the Royal Horticultural Society, Eat
Well MCR, Science and Industry Museum, The Open University Business School, HOST, Salford
Community Leisure, Salford CVS, Sounds from the Other City and hundreds of community
organisations from all regions of the city.

We Invented the Weekend is a bold and imaginative free festival for the North, from Salford, taking
place on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September 2022. The brand-new two-day event will throw
open MediaCity and Salford Quays’ spaces and places, to celebrate the joy of free time, taking in sports,
music, comedy, theatre, dance, workshops, talks, food, charity, wellness, crafts and more.

From water sports on the canal, community feasts and dance performances, to getting your hands dirty
with planting workshops and finding gems at vintage markets, festival-goers will meet new people, try
new things and make memories together.

The weekend was invented in Greater Manchester 1843, when Salford Lyceum director and workers’
rights activist Robert Lowes (also Sir Ian McKellen’s Great Grandfather) campaigned to win workers the
right to leisure time on Saturday afternoons. In this triumph, Greater Manchester gave an enormous gift
to the world and We Invented the Weekend will honour this, in true style, celebrating leisure time, free
time, quality time and me-time.

Organisations large and small from across the region are coming together to deliver the inaugural
festival at MediaCity and Salford Quays, which will be free and open to all. With large parts of the
programme co-created with Salford’s and Greater Manchester’s communities, alongside content
delivered by its internationally renowned culture producers, it will be a festival by the people, for the
people, celebrating the region’s rich diversity and making sure to acknowledge the millions of people
across the UK who work on Saturdays and Sundays too.

Key people and organisations involved in developing the festival are Wayne Hemingway MBE who is
Creative Director, Salford’s City Mayor, Paul Dennett, Tom Stannard, Chief Executive, Salford City
Council, Julia Fawcett OBE, Chief Executive of The Lowry, Gwen Oakden, Development Director at The
Lowry, Controller of BBC Radio 5 Live Heidi Dawson, Marketing Manchester’s International Marketing
Director, Victoria Braddock and MediaCity Place Director, Josie Cahill.

A process is also underway for a young person and member of the Salford community to join the soon to
be announced board, plus a community steering group made up of diverse representatives from across
the city will advise the board. We Invented the Weekend Festival Director is Kate Doyle who was
previously Head of Festivals and Events for the Science and Industry Museum and has an impressive
track record of festival delivery including MIF’s Festival Square 2021, Unity Arena and Festival No.6.

The full programme announcement will take place in early Summer and partners and activity for the
festival will include:

The BBC, including BBC Children’s bringing live activity including CBeebies Live Bedtime Stories,
the BBC Philharmonic and more to be announced
The Lowry, leading on dance and performance
The University of Salford, who will collaborate with The Open University Business School on a
Big Thinking strand
The Science and Industry Museum who will programme a range of fun STEM activities
RHS Bridgewater, leading on gardening activity
HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology, who will deliver a programme of fun and accessible
technology activities
– An exciting music partnership with Sounds from the Other City which will see the Salford
institution expand from their Chapel Street base into the Quays for the first time.
– And much more to be announced

There will be plenty of opportunities for people across Salford and Greater Manchester to participate at
We Invented the Weekend. The Salford Weekend Orchestra with the BBC Philharmonic will invite
people across the city to join a mass community performance, with all instruments and abilities
welcome. The piece will be composed by Michael Betteridge (Artistic Director of The Sunday Boys –
Manchester’s LBTQ+ low voice choir), and performed in the MediaCity Piazza during the festival.

Salford Community and Voluntary Services, in partnership with Salford Community Leisure, have
reached out to hundreds of community organisations across the city, with exciting contributions in the
works from a whole range of groups – cheerleaders to readers, gamers to bakers, litter pickers to disco
dancers and everything in between.

Wayne Hemingway MBE, Creative Director, We Invented the Weekend: “The weekend is an intrinsic
part of the rhythm of life. It’s hard to imagine life without the weekend, yet less than 180 years ago it
didn’t exist. Happily, Sir Ian McKellen’s great grandad put an end to life without it.
“Greater Manchester can rightly claim to have invented the weekend and is a place that knows how to
celebrate it. Whatever your bag, be it boxing or box sets, crafts or cricket, dancing or digging, reading or
raving, swimming or samba, kicking back or letting loose, whatever free time means to you, MediaCity
and Salford Quays is the place to be on September 10th and 11th for what has all the ingredients to
become THE national celebration of free time.”

Julia Fawcett OBE, CEO, The Lowry: “At The Lowry, we believe in the powerful influence of arts and
culture on wellbeing and happiness. Through our annual programme and the breadth of outreach work
we deliver, we’re dedicated to cultural enrichment for all of Salford’s communities all year round.

“The Lowry is so proud to be one of the lead partners for We Invented the Weekend, delivering the
performance strand of the festival with off-site programming and free creative participation
opportunities. As we emerge from the pandemic, this new festival is a wonderful way to come together
with our key cultural partners in the city to enhance our annual calendar of cultural events.”

Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor: “The City of Salford’s motto and the name of our strategy for culture,
creativity and the arts is ‘Suprema Lex’, which means ‘The Welfare of the People is the Highest Law’. The
welfare of the people of Salford is paramount, and as the cost of living rises, We Invented the Weekend
is set to deliver a programme of essential free cultural and creative activity that is open to every
community across our city.

We Invented the Weekend will be a great spectacle, reflecting our proud social history, whilst also
animating the fantastic public realm at Salford Quays in true Spirit of Salford style.”

Victoria Braddock, Director of International Marketing, Marketing Manchester: “We Invented the
Weekend is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Salford and Greater Manchester to the world. The
invention of the weekend is an incredible legacy, and we’re excited to be celebrating all of Salford’s
brilliant and creative communities on a national and international stage.”

Ben Allan, LGBTQ+ Officer for University of Salford Students’ Union: “We are incredibly excited to be
part of We Invented the Weekend, it’s a much-needed celebration of the talent, creativity and
community in Salford that absolutely everyone is invited to come and participate in.”

Heidi Dawson, Controller BBC Radio 5 Live: “We Invented the Weekend is a vital new addition to the
cultural calendar, reaching out to everyone across Greater Manchester, creating a free event that is
open to all. Now more than ever, it is essential that our communities are able to come together and
celebrate their free time, with no ticket costs, at this event that the BBC is excited to support.”

Katie Thistleton, BBC Radio 1 Presenter: “I’m hugely passionate about MediaCity and Salford Quays.
Working here has massively influenced both my career and my home life, and I can’t wait to be part of
this ambitious new event, re-igniting our community and bringing audiences from across Salford
together to celebrate their free time.”

Josie Cahill, Director of Place, MediaCity: “Working in partnership to deliver inclusive and ambitious
events such as We Invented the Weekend is at the heart of our placemaking plans both now, and for the

“Last year marked ten years since the first broadcast from MediaCity. We’ve been on an incredible
regeneration journey, and it’s time to celebrate that. As we look ahead to our next phase of
development, which will double MediaCity in size over the next decade, it’s our ambition is to continue
to create vibrant and sustainable spaces that are welcome to all.”

To find out more about the festival and sign up for updates, please visit

Follow the festival on social media at:

Facebook: /WeInventedTheWeekend

Instagram: @weinventedtheweekend

Twitter: @WITWeekend

For further information please contact: Tom McGarva
Sundae Communications

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