Festival of Thrift

The award-winning Festival of Thrift is the UK’s only national celebration of sustainable living.
Type: Placemaking & Events
Date: 2013 - present

Next event: 23rd & 24th September 2023, Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees

Back in 2013, we held the very first Festival of Thrift at Kirkleatham, Redcar; a free, fun and family-friendly celebration of everyday living, with upcycling, recycling and sustainability at its core. It had everything: great food, fantastic music, interactive entertainment, market stalls selling beautiful hand-crafted wares, workshops and thought-provoking art.

Year on year the festival has grown in magnitude and support, with 40,000 attending the last event in 2019. Eager to experience all that The Festival of Thrift had to offer and proving that ‘thrift’ isn’t just a flash in the pan but a genuine response to the economy and the state of the world that is creaking under mass-consumption.

With the Observer Ethical Award for Culture and Arts 2015 and Tourism Event of the Year under its belt, The Festival of Thrift has become an annual staple to the calendar and it’s economic and social impact is significant with the festival being a significant financial fillip for around 150 small sustainable businesses.

In November 2022, the festival was granted National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status by Arts Council England, an incredible achievement for everyone involved in the project. You can read more about this here.

We believe culture has an important part to play in the future economic development of Tees Valley, which is why we have put it at the forefront of our Strategic Economic Plan and Devolution Deal. The Festival of Thrift and its growing success is a key part of the cultural renaissance in the area, and we are delighted to see it taking a prominent place in the Tees Valley annual calendar of cultural events in the area. Engaging people with creativity around such an important agenda as living sustainably is critical in a region which is leading the world in low carbon technology.

David Budd, Chairman of the Tees Valley Combined Authority