What’s On

“Smiling faces everywhere.”

This is what happened in 2022…

Watch the short film from last year on YouTube.

See below for details of what happened in 2022. We’ll be updating with information about this year soon.

Walkabout Performers:

  • Glimpse the historic architecture of Finsley Gate Wharf through A Few Feet Up’s tall periscope, if you can keep up with them that is!
  • Watch in amazement as record breakers Paris Bubbles paint the sky with colours by creating magical displays of bubbles.
  • Despite all the odds, an unknown subspecies of the dodo has been discovered! Much larger than their extinct cousins and able to fly (sort of), Charles and Amelia, two relics of a bygone era, are very excited to be travelling the world to see what they’ve been missing, and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is their next stop. Thingumabob Theatre’s Flying Dodos
The Flying Dodos

Take a Ride:

  • On LIFE BOAT, the slowest ride on Earth. Relax with family and friends in a hammock on board and rock gently, turn slowly; listen to the Life Boat Alphabet as a meditative drum beats & the chain rattles…

Drop in Workshops:

  • Brightwork colouring station. Spend some quality chill out time colouring in a special design commissioned by the Festival from artist Cath Ford versions for all ages).
  • Join artists Kerris and Leonie from The Bureau Centre for the Arts to upcycle old vinyl banners into flags to either take home, or flags that will be used to make bunting for future Burnley Canal Festival events. Or both! The theme will be Canalside Wildlife, so take a walk along the canal have a look at the flora and fauna found alongside the canal, and get some inspiration for your flag! Fun for all the family.
  • Take home a tote bag that you’ve screen printed with The Super Slow Way logo, helped by artist Andrea Westall – it’s free and yours to keep!
  • Free face painting and henna (mehndi) hand art. Fantastic face painting by the talented Miffy’s Crazy Faces and henna art from Guinness World Record holder Samina Hussain. What will you get?
  • Join artist Emma Blackburn and explore roads, waterways and stories in ‘where to’, bookmark making workshop. You’ll have an opportunity to play with a variety of materials such as wood, yarns, marker pens and techniques like wrapping, sewing and drawing to make your own experimental bookmark to take home.
  • Make small leaf plates with Zara Saghir using air-drying clay so that you can take yours home on the day.
  • Make a Knot Bracelet with Super Slow Way. There is a small payment for this one – your postcode!
  • The Canal & River Trust are also organising the following workshops:
    • Canal Art Workshop – A free family friendly drop in activity using paint. It might get messy, but it will be fun! 11am-4pm
    • Victorian Garden Walk & Talk – A free guided walk around the Wharf garden (approx. 20 mins). Starts at the Forge. 11.30am & 2.30pm
    • Sewing Workshops with Gawthorpe Textiles – Learn techniques for recycling and repurposing fabrics. A free drop in workshop in the Forge’s Education Room. 11am-3pm
    • Wildlife Photography Trail – Can you find all the amazing close ups of insects that live near the canal? Pick up a Trail Map from the Forge and see how many you can find around the Festival site.

A live music stage including:

  • Burnley Alliance Silver Band – These firm Festival favourites will be kicking off proceedings in style with the march A Life on the Ocean Wave! 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 day. (11-11.45)
  • Becky Langan – Born in Rochdale, Becky is a percussive fingerstyle guitarist who employs a combination of extended techniques that explore the outermost reaches of the acoustic guitar. Since reaching the semi-finals of Guitar Star on Sky Arts TV, Becky has since grown an appreciative audience from all over the world, with one of her videos achieving over three million views. (12-12.45)
  • David John Jaggs – as well as being front man of fabulous North West indie-pop band The Ragamuffins, David is an acclaimed solo performer, with a soulful soaring voice and a choppy guitar style. (1-1.45)
  • Blowjangles – this famous street band play a mixture of Ska, Reggae, bit of 60’s stuff but generally big and bouncy tunes that get your feet tapping, or even dancing! (2-2.45)
  • Baxter Rhodes – Baxter is an independent acoustic singer-songwriter from east Lancashire. “English Americana with a northern edge” – Solfest. “A gifted singer and song-writer … as magical and mystical as Pendle Hill itself” – Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues Festival. (3.45-5)

On The Water*:

  • Try out a canoe with a free taster session. Setting off from the towpath close to the Wharf. 11am-2.30pm & 3.30pm-4.30pm
  • Take a free trip on the waterbus. Round trips to Burnley Wharf leaving (approximately) every 30 minutes from 11am. Our boat takes 10 passengers a time. You can sign up for a timed sailing on the day – see the Festival crew member by the mooring spot at FGW.
  • Opal’s Comet – look out for this vivid artwork transported on an inland waterways pilgrimage along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. The Golden Barge and its musical crew will be sailing from Reedly Marina to the Festival throughout the day, performing as they go. Catch them on the towpath and/or welcome them to the Wharf at 3pm where they will give a very special performance.
  • * The water levels on the canal are currently very low. Changes to the above activities may be forced upon us if they drop further.

Go on an Adventure:

  • Towpath Explorers – Don’t miss their new adventure trail. No prior knowledge necessary!  Explorers of all ages and their families can sign up and test their mettle while exploring some of Burnley’s unique canalside.

Food & Drink:

  • The team at Finsley Gate Wharf will be serving up their usual delicious menu, and in addition they’ll be a barbecue with burgers; hot dogs; chicken fajitas, and of course – chips!
  • The bar will be open for a full range of alcoholic and soft drinks – and very importantly, they sell ice creams too!
  • The Ninja Coffee van will be joining us – you can’t miss it, it’s bright orange! They’ll be serving a full range of hot drinks.

And you can visit:

  • The Forge at FGW and watch a Blacksmith at work (11am-4pm)
  • The Weavers’ Triangle Visitors’ Centre (12noon-4pm). A short walk along the towpath you can 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 (1pm-4pm) 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. Entry to both is FREE although donations are gratefully received.

(The programme and all information may be subject to change without prior notice.)