About

A FREE, family-friendly event over the August Bank Holiday weekend

Saturday 25 August 2018 – 11am-5pm
Sunday 26 August 2018 – 11am-4pm

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Folk dancing meets hip hop…  A performing troupe of free runners…  Giant papier mache birds….  And a heritage brass band from Rajasthan!  What do they have in common?  They were part of Burnley Canal Festival, which takes a regular delight in the unexpected, especially when it promotes some aspect of canal culture but does it with a contemporary twist…

The Festival returns in August, when this dynamic celebration of Burnley’s peerless canal heritage will occupy its regular slot on Bank Holiday weekend.  The free family event runs over Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 August, and if you sampled last year’s event, you’ll know this is one not to miss…

“What a great time our family had, with new and unique experiences, not your run-of-the-mill local festival…”

Launched in 2012, the Canal Festival has grown each year, steered by volunteers and supported by partners including Burnley Council and Canal & River Trust.  The Festival is now a part of the Super Slow Way arts programme and is managed by Mid Pennine Arts, the charity based in Burnley canalside, and events company Deco Publique, creators of brilliant events like Blackburn’s National Festival of Making.

More than by 12,000 people thronged the canal towpath for the 2017 event, held over three sites linked by narrowboat rides and an Explorers’ Trail for all the family.  2018 will be a bit different, as MPA Creative Director Nick Hunt explains.

“This year we will focus on Sandygate Square as the heart of the Festival.  Two other sites are not available to us in 2018, but Sandygate was designed as a public event space and we want to realise its full potential.  It is ringed with wonderful heritage buildings, and we want to showcase some more of that to Festival goers.”

As ever, the Festival will rely on its sponsors.  “Last year we had brilliant support from Burnley Bondholders, Calico and Barnfield & Burnley Developments.  We’re looking forward to working with sponsors old and new” said Nick.

All the Festival ingredients return, with lots of opportunities to have a go at arts and crafts workshops, plus music, performances, street food, stalls, canoe taster sessions, narrowboats and more.  Once again, the Towpath Explorers will devise a mystery quest, to encourage all the family to explore some of Burnley’s brilliant canalside.  Festival entry will be free and most activities will also be free.

“The best family event I have ever been to! We had the best day ever, lots of laughs, great chat, mega fun! We will be back next year! “

Look out for regular updates on this website and our Facebook page

Burnley Canal Festival is co-produced by Mid Pennine Arts and Deco Publique in collaboration with the volunteers of the Festival Committee representing local communities.

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