What’s On

“Smiling faces everywhere.”


We had a fantastic weekend in 2018, despite some less than pleasant weather on the Sunday. You can see what went on below. We’re busy working on plans for 2019 and will post information soon.

Here’s what happened in 2018…

Download a PDF of the events programme – Programme – page 1 & Programme – page 2 – or you can pick one up at the Festival.

  • Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band – With a diverse repertoire spanning Rajasthani folk songs, Bollywood hits, Bhangra beats and pop songs (you’ve not heard ABBA until you’ve heard these guys play it!) these vividly costumed artists will bring to Burnley the joyous music that governs life in Rajasthan.  If you saw them last time you know how much fun they are to watch and listen to, dancing to this uplifting music is practically unavoidable!  Saturday only – don’t miss (12-12.30pm & 2.15-2.45pm)
  • Burnley Alliance Silver Band (Saturday only – 11-11.45am) These firm Festival favourites will be kicking off proceedings in style. Make sure not to miss this thriving brass ensemble. They play a wide assortment of modern and traditional music and will give us the perfect start to the weekend.
  • Children’s fairground rides, games and food stalls (£2 all rides – Hook a Duck £3 with a prize)
  • Free drop in arts and crafts workshops where you can:
    • Make your own kite inspired by the traditional Japanese carp kites, but in the style of fish from British canals and folk art.
    • Make a cotton reel puppet.  Are you a lover of recycling, a hater of waste… we’ve found the most glorious use for old cotton bobbins.
    • Create a mosaic tile using interesting materials like seeds or pebbles.
    • Make a printed bird.  We are so fond of our canalside flora and fauna that we love to celebrate it at every opportunity.  Join our printing workshop inspired by the birds of the waterways. Print, cut, mount, stick and construct complete with flapping wings!
    • Help paint a giant castle!
  • Try out a canoe with a free taster session from the Desmond Family Canoe Trail.  There will also be the opportunity to go on longer guided trips, also free, for those who fancy paddling further afield!
  • Charity and information stalls
  • Free face painting and henna hand painting.
  • Music Stage sponsored by AMS Neve. A glorious array of global sounds from grass roots to global artists. Expect an exceptional programme of incredible music including folk, blues, soul and reggae to name a few. As the Festival expands to a two day music programme expect to hear a world sound landscape to suit every musical palette.
    • SAT                            
      11:00 – 11:45          The Burnley Alliance Silver Band
      12noon – 12:30      Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band
      12:30 – 1:15            Ivan Campo
      1:30 – 2:15              Gideon Conn
      2:15 – 2:45              Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band 
      2:45 – 3:30              Nidd
      3:30 – 3:45              East Lancashire Clarion Choir
      3:45 – 5pm             Hiroshima Twinkie
    • SUN                           
      11 – 11:45               Jam Factory
      12:00 – 12:45         Trevor Babajack Steger
      1:00 – 1:45             Rimka
      2:00 – 2:45             The Long Nights
      3:00 – 4pm             Red Hippo
  • Towpath ExplorersThe Weavers’ Quest. A family treasure trail where you will take on the role of weavers in the 18th Century cottage industries of Burnley’s Weavers’ Triangle.  You are challenged to expand your range of skills and goods by following the trail, on it you will meet colourful characters who will help you on your way, and you can collect items to build your weaving expertise. At the end of the trail you can return to the Explorers’ Cotton Exchange to see how successful you have been and rate your success against other weavers. Will you get on to the leaders’ board?  Visit the Explorers tent on Sandygate Square to head off on this FREE adventure for all the family, 11am-2pm and 2.30pm-4pm both days.
  • Go on a 30 minute round trip on the beautifully restored 12-seater barge Ruby. (£3 adults and £2 for children 1 and over – under maritime regulations from the age of 1 children have to count towards the 12 passengers.)
  • Relax with family and friends in a hammock on board LIFEBOAT, the slowest ride on Earth.
  • Join us over the weekend and you might get to go on the journey of your wildest dreams, aboard a famous travelling machine, The Flycycle! With Captain Bigshot, you’ll fly up, up and away, crossing continents in turbulent adventures, high in the sky, all ages are welcome. Together you’ll weave unforgettable stories.
  • Meet the fabulously tall, and flowery, Mr & Mrs Flora
  • See the wonderful narrowboats who join us for the weekend.
  • Best Dressed Boat & Best Dressed Boater competitions (Sunday)
  • Picnic area and food stalls, this year we have:
    • The Wishing Whisk – Sweet treats – cupcakes, cake pops, cake jars, brownies…
    • Shirley’s Pies – Extremely tasty pies and the ever popular Lancashire hotpot
    • Deli Delite – Delicious handcrafted Asian treats
    • Yorkshire Peddlers – Amazing artisan ice-cream
    • Polly’s Caravan – An array of teas, scones and fabulous cakes
    • LJS Funfairs – Sweet and savoury fairground favourites
  • Head over the footbridge to the UCLan Canalside Carnival in and around Victoria Mill supported by our principal sponsor the University of Central Lancashire (UClan).  Lots of fun and free activities. Inside the building you can have a go on a Giant Operation game, take part in the Viaduct Building Competition, plus lots of other fun games.
  • Outside learn how to juggle, spin a plate, throw and catch a diabolo or keep a hula hoop up. Circus skills are great way to learn and have fun. Rag Tag Arts will have you up to the scratch of any Ring Master in no time.
  • Watch family favourite Punch & Judy 
  • Be amazed by the extraordinary bubble making of Ebublio Magic Bubbles.
  • See the Old Lanky Boaters with Whimbrel and ‘Captain Jack’!
  • Plus cafe in Victoria Mill serving sandwiches, cakes and hot & cold drinks.

And you can visit:

  • The Weavers’ Triangle Visitors’ Centre (11am-4pm each day). Make sure you take time to visit the Weavers’ Triangle Visitor Centre during the Festival. Step into the past with a Victorian schoolroom, an Edwardian bathroom and an authentic weaver’s dwelling – you can even have a go at weaving yourself! Fun awaits the whole family with a children’s corner, winding trails and tricky quizzes. You can also visit the Oak Mount Mill Engine House which houses a steam engine dating from 1887. The engine is now operated by an electric motor and can be seen in action on special occasions – like the Festival
  • Oak Mount Mill Engine House (1-4pm) – details above
  • The Bobbin Cafe next to Oak Mount Mill – this licenced cafe will be doing a special Festival menu from 9.15am-5pm on Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sunday.
  • TilBea’s Licenced Bistro on Sandygate – as well as food and drink throughout each day, Ann at TilBea’s has also programmed music acts for each evening, so you can move straight from one music stage to another. Saturday has band Furious Styles at 5pm, and soloist Dylan at 7pm. Sunday sees Ste’s Trio from 4pm, an Irish band bound to keep the party going.
  • Glass Monkey Studio next to Oak Mount Mill – gorgeous fused glass and jewellery plus the chance to book for glass making workshops – 10am-5pm both days.

(All information subject to change.)