We Invented the Weekend announces programme of free performances and activities for 2024

  • The first programme announcement from the free two-day weekender which returns this June includes  highlights from CBeebies Bedtime Stories, Yoga with Scottee, Manchester Lit & Phil, DJ Paulette and a celebration of personal style and community spirit with The People’s Catwalk – Sunday Best 
  • Plus, boat trip takeovers from Salford Pride, Age UK, Melanin Markets, Sounds From The Other City and Unity Radio
  • Whatever age or background, We Invented the Weekend has something free for everyone and anyone to experience this summer


We Invented the Weekend, the bold and imaginative free festival for the UK, from Salford, will return to Greater Manchester on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June and has today announced the initial programme of free performances and activities which will animate and throw open the many places and spaces of MediaCity and Salford Quays. We Invented the Weekend celebrates the differences in how people spend their free time in the location where the weekend was originally invented in 1843.


As the concept of the weekend emerged, so did the practice of saving special outfits for Sundays. There were work clothes and best clothes and Sunday was a time to showcase individuality and honour the occasion of free time. In a first for 2024, attendees are invited to participate in The People’s Catwalk – Sunday Best where tradition meets modern expression in a celebration of personal style and community spirit. The Sunday Best Catwalk promises to be a joyous spectacle of style, featuring individuals, groups and communities from all walks of life strutting their stuff in their finest attire to celebrate Sunday Best.  It’s going to be unmissable with some familiar faces here and there in a heart-warming showcase of local community groups.


Returning for 2024’s We Invented the Weekend will also be CBeebies Bedtime Stories, inviting families and attendees to take a moment to relax with festival guests and celebrities reading stories across the weekend. Expect bedtime stories from CBeebies House Stars, Evie, Joanna and Dodge with more guests and presenters to be announced. 


Wayne Hemingway MBE, co-founder of the We Invented the Weekend festival said “It is wonderful to see that We Invented the Weekend is already an event in the calendar adored by thousands of families and people across the region. 2024’s programme already promises to deliver another unforgettable weekend celebrating Salford’s gift to the world… the weekend. Everyone and anyone can pop to MediaCity and Salford Quays on the 15th and 16th June and enjoy a weekend of trying out or watching what the weekend means to us. And it’s FREE!!”  


The Lowry is also set to host numerous activities across the weekender including dance training for all the family and a festival favourite art class from Salfordian Goggleboxer Helena Worthington, plus festival attendees can also take part in a Northern Soul all-dayer in The Lowry’s iconic compass room. On top of this there will be loads of free activities including performances,, backstage and LS Lowry tours, talks, workshops and a large flashmob on the Plaza celebrating songs from the much-loved Six The Musical.


Julia Fawcett OBE, Chief Executive of The Lowry said:The Lowry are proud to be one of the founding partners of We Invented the Weekend which gives us all the chance to come together, be creative and have some fun. We will be hosting events and activities across the weekend, from flash mobs to art workshops, and we can’t wait for everyone to experience the magic of this festival again this Summer” 


Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett added: “We Invented the Weekend is a rich celebration of culture, the people and the heritage of Salford. It is a time for everyone to come together and experience the different ways people spend their leisure time in true Salford style. Last year’s We Invented the Weekend was a truly memorable and impactful moment for the city and boasted exactly what Salford is all about; community spirit. I can’t wait to be back and experience all the many other activities and organisations attending in June.”


Heidi Dawson, Head of BBC Salford said: “We Invented the Weekend has something for everyone. It’s completely free, accessible and inclusive and that’s why we believe the first year of the festival was such a huge success for the region. 2024’s packed programme will continue to have something for people of all ages and backgrounds and the BBC in Salford is delighted to be part of the festival and bringing activities for everyone to enjoy.”


There will also be several musical offerings across the weekend including a music programme delivered by Sounds From The Other City, a Saturday headliner presented in collaboration with Unity Radio, an all killer no filler set from all-female Eves Drop Collective as well as Manchester music royalty, DJ Paulette. On top of this, We Invented the Weekend’s hugely popular boat trips will return with special takeovers from Salford Pride, Sounds From The Other City, Unity, Age UK. Living Room Dance Club will also perform an extended DJ set to keep the crowds pumping and families can let loose with the Playhouse Project.


There will also be a plethora of free activities for the family to get stuck into and learn something new including the Cardboard Playground, design workshops from Jamie-Lee Wainman Design. Quayside MediaCity will also be activated over the weekend with 11 Central and Kargo.MKT providing the finest food and drink offerings in MediaCity. There will also be countless amounts of sporting and wellness focussed activities for everyone to get involved in, from Bee Pedal Ready, Yoga with Scottee and Northern Rolling, to a BMX showcase from British Cycling and the BMX team.


Attendees can also expect activities hosted by RHS Bridgewater, Manchester United Foundation Street Reds and Manchester Lit & Phil.


The University of Salford will also host 2024’s We Think Big talks at the centre of the festival site.  The programme will include talks from industry leading panellists including university academics, journalists, environmentalists and thought leaders across topics including  music, sport and of course the weekend.


A Charity Super.Mkt pop-up will also return to MediaCity supplying a curated collection of fashion, accessories and homewares from a dozen of the UK’s best local and national charity retailers. Attendees can also visit Melanin Markets and join the textile MCR sew social meet up. The festival will be announcing more programme additions over the coming months.


We Invented the Weekend will take place 15th – 16th June in MediaCity and Salford Quays. Last year, the festival saw 60,000 visitors descend on MediaCity, bringing over £3.2m to the local economy. More information can be found here


All events are free and mostly un-ticketed, a small number of events may be bookable, further information will be available in the coming months.