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Celebrating thrift!

— September 2013

Associated media

'Make do and mend' is back - this time with designer style

The UK’s first national Festival of Thrift, curated by award winning designers Wayne Hemingway MBE and Gerardine Hemingway MBE at Darlington’s Lingfield Point, will take place on 17 September.

The Festival of Thrift is a chic celebration of creative common-sense living featuring upcycling, recycling and finding the fun in sustainable living. Wayne and Gerardine are leading that celebration and are delighted the first national Festival of Thrift is taking place in the North East.

Wayne Hemingway said:

Thrift is very close to our hearts as we – along with many others – are concerned at the disposable nature of our society.

Gerardine and I have always had fun being thrifty and have always loved the challenge of turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse – from turning old curtains into cushion covers or skirts during our Camden market days in the 1980s, to our current home – turning an old broken boat into a sofa.

We have been inventive in our thrift over the years and that’s been part of the fun. It’s also why it is great to be part of a festival celebrating sustainability and recognising it’s cool to be thrifty.

Lingfield Point is the perfect place to host this festival as the whole site has an evocative history and a vibrant contemporary use. The site is proving that thrift and upcycling can move far beyond the home and can be at the heart of regeneration.

Thrift is about re-using, upcycling, creating and making in a way that inspires and saves, not just your pennies but our whole planet.Taking place on 21 & 22 September the festival will feature scores of hands-on activities from exciting innovations in art and technology, to discovering the magic in vintage items through upcycling.

The Festival of Thrift will be held at, and is supported by, Lingfield Point in Darlington. John Orchard of Marchday, the owners of Lingfield Point, explained why they decided to get involved.He said:

Lingfield Point is itself upcycled from the old Patons and Baldwins wool factory, thrift is embedded in our buildings.

Instead of demolishing the old factory we’ve saved an immense amount of energy and resources by upcycling the buildings into magnificent workspaces instead.

It’s wonderful that we’ve got the opportunity to hold this festival in our community at Lingfield Point.

It supports the thrifty ideals that we hold close to our heart and gives people the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful buildings that many of their parents and grandparents worked and danced in before them.

The Festival of Thrift will be held on outdoor and indoor sites at Lingfield Point with pop-up artworks, allotments, performances, exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations, talks, market stalls and foraging tours.

Launched from Darlington town centre with a mass bike ride, the thriftiest form of transport, the festival will be a must for everyone who knows or wants to learn new skills and have fun doing it!

This festival is a life-changing, life-affirming event where you will be able to learn new skills and a whole new way of living.

The whole site will be bursting with activities and attractions including:

The Alternative Village Fete: A bustling area featuring everything from specially commissioned live art stalls and performance, live music, communal dance, to stalls selling everything from vintage fashion to homemade food and drink

Roving street performers across the site include the Vintage Tea Club ladies, Paul Henri’s Chapeau Magique making extraordinary paper hats and Theatre Hullabaloo’s new show for under-fives weaving together stories old and new

The Multi–Thrifty Swapshop, an all-weekend event featuring everything you might want to exchange from glamour clothing to garden shears, aided by the notorious Charity Shop DJs.

Upcycled Fashion shows, exhibitions and our very own Museum of Thrift

Ideal Thrifty Homes, from specially designed room sets to furniture workshops led by Teesside University and FRADE on how to create interior magazine looks through upcycling.

Craft workshops: Led by crafters including Lingfield Point artist-in-residence Becky Sunter who will show you how to create your own fashions and must-have accessories with the left-over bits-and-bobs in your workbag 

Street food stalls galore and food workshops covering everything from home-smoking, pickling, plucking, sushi, sourdough and more.

Fantastic food: Picnic on site with bespoke picnic hampers, themed Bistro du Van eateries created by local chefs, hourly foraging trips and a Thriftea Party with self-made crockery and cake stands.

Pop-up allotments growing food in borders, bee-keeping and beehives, animal husbandry including tips on keeping hens and building your own henhouses.

Lovingly restored vintage vehicles... and much more besides! 

The festival will be a life affirming celebration of Darlington’s thrifty work ethic – and instead of charging you an entrance – it will save you money!

Festival Director Stella Hall has worked on everything from the Preston Guild 2012 Festival to Enchanted Parks and is former Creative Director of Culture 10, responsible for the North East’s EAT and Juice festivals. She is currently the creative producer for Media City, Salford.She said:

This festival places creativity at the heart of our shared sustainable future, it positions artists and designers as inspirers to action and change through workshops, exhibitions and performances that will give all the family confidence to create while having fun on a budget.

Food and drink will also be a large part of the festival with Simon Preston, director of NewcastleGateshead’s celebrated EAT! festival curating exciting pop-up restaurants and eateries in addition to sustainable production, allotment advice and plenty of regional food and drink producers.

For more information on Festival of Thrift visit

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