Close this search box.

Free festival ‘celebrating the weekend’ set to return in 2024 after huge success

As We Invented the Weekend gears up for its 2024 return, the festival's groundbreaking impact on Greater Manchester continues to unfold.

In exciting news for Greater Manchester, the imaginative free festival, We Invented the Weekend, is gearing up for its return to MediaCity and Salford Quays in June 2024.

We Invented the Weekend is a free festival, incorporating everything from water sports on the canal, community feasts and dance performances, to getting your hands dirty with planting workshops and finding gems at vintage markets.

The weekend was invented in Greater Manchester in 1843, when Salford Lyceum director and workers’ rights activist Robert Lowes (also Sir Ian McKellen’s great-grandfather) campaigned to win workers the right to leisure time on Saturday afternoons.

Greater Manchester gave an enormous gift to the world, and We Invented the Weekend is set to honour this again, celebrating leisure time, free time, quality time and me-time.

The festival, which made waves in its inaugural year, is set to build on its success following a recent study that unveiled a total economic impact exceeding £3.2 million.

Record Footfall: 60,000 Attendees Celebrate a Historic Year

With a remarkable 60,000 visitors over the two festival days in June 2023, We Invented the Weekend played a pivotal role in achieving MediaCity’s highest footfall in its 12-year history.

The festival’s unique program captivated attendees, creating a huge buzz.

Diverse Audience: Attracting Locals and Beyond

A commissioned study revealed that a third of festival attendees hailed from Salford, emphasising the strong local connection.

Additionally, 25% of visitors came from outside of Greater Manchester, underlining the festival’s broad appeal.

This diverse audience showcased the draw of We Invented the Weekend in exposing new audiences to the charms of MediaCity and the broader Salford Quays area.

Boost for Local Businesses: Impact on MediaCity’s Tenants

The festival’s positive impact extended to MediaCity’s existing tenants, with 40% of attendees visiting restaurants or cafes, 27% enjoying pubs or bars, and 40% engaging in shopping activities.

Collaborative Success: 160+ Partners Elevate the Festival

We Invented the Weekend boasted over 160 event and content partners, ranging from well-known names like BBC, RHS, and Sounds From The Other to community-run organisations.

The festival offered more than 200 free activities, addressing the cost-of-living crisis and creating a dynamic cultural experience.

Ambitious Plans for Year Two

Founding partners, including MediaCity, Salford City Council, Quays Culture, The Lowry, and HemingwayDesign, have ambitious plans for the festival’s second year.

The goal is to bring on board additional content and event partners and benefactors, enhancing the festival’s variety, increasing attendance, and ensuring it remains free for the people of Salford and beyond.

Praise and Anticipation: Mayor Dennett and Partners Reflect on Success

Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett hailed We Invented the Weekend for generating ‘incredible social value’ and expressed anticipation for the upcoming year.

Co-founder Wayne Hemingway echoed these sentiments, emphasising the festival’s resonance across demographics and its potential as a cultural mainstay in the UK.

Looking Ahead: A Decade of MediaCity’s Evolution

As MediaCity celebrates over a decade of development, Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCity, highlighted the festival’s role in enhancing the destination’s placemaking potential.

He expressed excitement about the festival’s success and its contribution to new partnerships and opportunities for the local economy, signalling a positive outlook for the years to come.

We Invented the Weekend is poised to continue its success story, promising a memorable and unmissable event in 2024 for residents, visitors, and businesses alike.

Did we miss something? Let us know: [email protected]

Want to be the first to receive all the latest news stories, what’s on and events from the heart of Manchester? Sign up here.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

Got a story worth sharing?

What’s the story? We are all ears when it comes to positive news and inspiring stories. You can send story ideas to [email protected]

Close this search box.