Celebrate festival in Whalley Range

Whalley Range Festival removes cost barriers, offering affordable fun for all

  • The Celebrate Festival has been confirmed to go ahead in June 2024 at Manley Park, Whalley Range.
  • This year’s festival has taken additional measures to be cost-of-living friendly.
  • Over its 27-year history, the festival has provided opportunities for local entrepreneurs, enabling long-term growth and visibility within the community.

The annual Celebrate Festival has taken a big step to remain affordable for the local community and businesses, promoting togetherness during tough financial times. 

This year’s festival is notable for its commitment to being cost-of-living friendly, with free activities and no entrance fee to ensure accessibility for everyone.

The organisers emphasised the importance of supporting the local community and businesses during these challenging times.

Due to cost-of-living pressures, two in five people have cut down on eating out, travelling, and socialising outside the home.

celebrate festival
The Celebrate festival allows people of all ages to come together and learn more about what their community offers. Photo Credit: The Celebrate Festival

Carol Packham, the treasurer of the festival, said: “We’ve decided to make all festival activities free this year to eliminate any affordability and accessibility barriers.

From facepaint to outdoor dining and music, the Celebrate Festival has something everyone can enjoy.

Several free activities, such as inflatables and a climbing wall, will be available for children, as well as advice and support for all ages.

Carol said: “The festival is also a way of linking people to community resources. There will be age-friendly workshops for older people and cost-of-living and health workshops, which are free of charge.”

The festival’s mission is to celebrate the talent, diversity, and resources of Whalley Range while encouraging participation from people within the area.

group of singers at celebrate festival
A study found that 37% of people have cut down on paid cultural activities, such as cinema, theatre, museums, concerts, or festivals. Photo Credit: The Celebrate Festival

“It’s about creating a welcoming space where everyone can come together and enjoy themselves.”

The treasurer of the Celebrate Festival, Carol Packham

Additionally, Whalley Range has a diverse community; the festival challenges negative perceptions and promotes a positive image of the area.

The festival, which reflects Whalley Range’s diverse community, brings people together from all walks of life, regardless of socioeconomic background or ethnicity.

The Celebrate Festival supports the community by remaining low-cost and barrier-free

The Celebrate Festival’s main aim is to support small local businesses, musicians, and stallholders from the Whalley Range community.

The festival has ensured that fees are kept low to allow local businesses to promote their services. This allows businesses to hire a stall without feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis.

stall at celebrate festival
The Office of National Statistics found that small businesses across the UK are experiencing a loss in sales. This is due to increasing rent and energy costs, as well as a reduction in consumer spending on non-essential items. Photo Credit: The Celebrate Festival

Carol said, “One of the criteria for the festival is that we try to prioritize local people who are sharing their skills or musicians and also local traders. We have remained low-cost, and the £25 fee hasn’t changed since the festival started.”

Fees for commercial stall holders and advertising in the festival programme have never increased.

‘The Celebrate festival gave us the opportunity to start our business’

The owner of Tibetan Kitchen, Jane Woolry

Jane Woolry, the owner of Tibetan Kitchen, attended one of the first Celebrate festivals to promote her local business.

Tibetan Kitchen had its first food stall at the Celebrate Festival and owns several cafes and catering businesses.

Tibetan Kitchen food stall at the Celebrate Festival in Whalley Range
Tibetan Kitchen has participated in food stalls at the Glastonbury Festival and shares their passion for food with the local community through workshops and events. Photo Credit: Tibetan Kitchen.

Jane said: “The Celebrate Festival means so much to us. We try to have a stall there every year. The festival gave us the opportunity to start our business and get our food out to the community. And over the years, it’s helped us.”

Tibetan Kitchen has supported the community by giving free meals to those in need, and proceeds from their weekly ‘Tuesday Fantastic Coffee Shop’ go towards community well-being projects.

The festival is a great opportunity to meet regular customers and new customers.

Jane recommended that local businesses in the Whalley Range area should offer their services at the Celebrate festival, as it’s a great way to connect with the community.

man walking through celebrate festival
The bike repair service will return to this year’s 27th festival, making bike repairs more affordable and accessible for all ages. Photo Credit: The Celebrate Festival

The Celebrate Festival allowed the Tibetan Kitchen to experiment with new ways to sell their food, such as trying out a food truck and testing new recipes. 

Those attending the festival this year should visit the Tibetan kitchen stall, as they have hinted at offering new hot food and unique homemade cakes.

Crossing Oceans

This 27th Celebrate festival will focus on fun, creativity and well-being but also look at serious issues that affect the local community.

This year, there will be designed displays to discover, all themed around ‘Crossing Oceans’ to celebrate the diversity of Whalley Range and explore wider climate issues.

The festival’s theme coincides with the UN Day of Oceans, which falls on June 8th.

Whalley Range has multiple community projects that raise awareness of problems like air quality and food sovereignty.

People making the Celebrate Connections pop-up music banners at a  workshop
If you live in Whalley Range and want to participate in the Celebrate festival, you can volunteer in various ways, such as handing out programmes or help setting up. Photo Credit: The Celebrate Festival

To overcome the cost-of-living crisis, the organisers have previously cut costs by using recycled materials for banners and erecting the marquees in the morning rather than overnight.

There has been a real sense of community as locals prepare for the festival by running workshops and pop-up events across Whalley Range, allowing all ages and backgrounds to come together.