Skip to main content Skip to footer

We Invented The Weekend Announces 2023 Dates and Line-up of Free Performances and Activities

We Invented the Weekend is a bold and imaginative free festival for the UK, which will be taking place on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th June 2023. The brand-new two-day culture-led event in Salford will see festivalgoers getting involved in all sorts of free activities and at its core, celebrate differences in how people spend their leisure time, situated where the weekend was originally invented in Greater Manchester, 1843.


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


We Invented the Weekend will take place across both MediaCity and Salford Quays, including a main stage on MediaCity’s main piazza, satellite stages and a dedicated BBC stage across the festival site, activities on the water and a whole host of indoor spaces, including the newly announced Central Bay waterfront food and drink destination.


Across the two-day weekender CBeebies Bedtime Stories LIVE will descend onto MediaCity and delight children of all ages, with festival guests and celebrities reading stories. BBC Children’s will continue to spark attention at We Invented the Weekend with everyone’s favourite CBBC and CBeebies’ stars making an appearance on the festival main stage.


We Invented the Weekend will also be hosting the first ever Junior Art Battle Manchester, where young artists will compete in live painting competitions to be named champion. In a world-first, the event will take place in The Lowry theatre and gallery complex, which sits in the heart of Salford Quays, named after the early 20th century-painter L.S. Lowry. Young artists will take part in the Junior Art Battle Manchester in the Compass Room, which sits adjacent to the historic L.S. Lowry collection.


Community Clothing, an ethical clothing brand based in the North, will be leading a swap shop over the two day weekend, whilst their founder and presenter of BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee, Patrick Grant will join Wayne Hemingway MBE to discuss sustainable fashion and the history of the local textile industry, paying tribute to the Greater Manchester workers who fought for our right to have Saturday’s off*.


The festival will also be hosting over 100 ‘We Get Creative Workshops’ delivered by talented designer makers from the region. The workshops will be welcoming, age inclusive and free to join. As part of an extensive set of workshops designed to boost creativity and positive emotions, festivalgoers can expect Hot Bed Press – a workshop designed for attendees to create their own designed tote bag. Ghetto Fabulous will also host a workshop aimed at teaching the whole family how to ‘werk’ the runway and pull a picture-perfect pose. Manchester Street Poem will create a giant participatory artwork to describe what the weekend means to festival goers.


At The Lowry, a key partner of We Invented the Weekend, there will be a whole host of activities as part of the ‘We Get Creative Workshops’ organised by the festival, including Lowry by The Lowry, which will allow the whole family to let loose with the paintbrushes in the iconic setting. Local Goggleboxer, Helena Worthington will host the experience in true Salfordian style.


From a musical perspective, the powerhouse of North West talent and fronted by Pops Robert, Lovescene will be making an appearance as part of the ‘We Get Creative Performances’ as well as an unmissable Unity Radio Mainstage takeover, SFTOQuays brought to the festival by local heroes Sounds From The Other City  and Get Your Docks Off musical themed boat trips on the ship canal. ‘Playhouse Project’ are also set to get the whole family going with soulful house, rare funk and broken beats on the MediaCity weekend stage, amongst a plethora of other DJ sets across the site


Wayne Hemingway MBE, co-founder of the We Invented the Weekend festival said “We Invented the Weekend is the first festival of its kind which celebrates free time in its unrivalled and universal joyous form. The festival represents an opportunity for everyone to come together and enjoy an ambitious, nationally significant free and inclusive event. The art of ‘Try Outs’ is at the core of the festival; it’s about experiencing something new and inspiring and seeing how others celebrate their weekend. Boxing or box sets, arts and crafts or dinner and drinks – whatever free time means to you, we’ll have it here. We can’t wait to welcome our audience in June.”


Salford Community Leisure will be on hand to showcase Try Outs in the Weekend Arena. Festivalgoers will be able to get active with everything from tennis and street cheer, all the way through to cricket and parachute games. Joining this year’s programme will be Great Height Climbing Wall with Salford Youth Services and Wicked Wickets with the Lancashire Cricket Foundation in a whopping inflatable Bowling Cage. Northern Rolling will also be bringing their massively popular skate workshop as the perfect opportunity for the kids to learn how to Ollie like the pros. Manchester United Youth Foundation are also set to bring their hugely successful Street Reds programme to We Invented the Weekend, giving young people the chance to learn new skills and get active.


The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) will be joining the stacked line-up to host gardening

masterclasses with award-winning designer and TV presenter Lee Burkhill. The RHS will also be hosting talks from Jason William, aka the Cloud Gardener, as well as inviting Bread-and-Butter

Theatre Company to perform their hilarious horticultural antics. And everyone is welcome to the

Plant and Seed Swap where visitors can bring their spare plants, cuttings or seeds and get new plants for free!


The 2023 programme will also see the introduction of We Think Big talks in collaboration with the University of Salford, where industry leading activists, campaigners, mayors and entrepreneurs will discuss big societal issues including the future of work, sustainable travel and ethical fashion in front of a live audience.


We Invented the Weekend will take place 3rd – 4th June in MediaCity and Salford Quays and is expected to attract more than 150,000 people to the area. More information can be found here.

Make a home at HOST

Join a new kind of collaborative community with the most exciting opportunities for innovation and business growth

Cookie notice

Find out more about how this website uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience.