We Invented the Weekend is a bold and imaginative free festival for the North, celebrating all the ways we fill our free time in the very place the weekend was invented!
Back in 2019, in a workshop with local workers and residents, someone said to us “I was watching Who Do you Think you Are on the telly and the weekend was invented here”. What a claim! We did some research and found out it was true – a Salford-based workers rights activist called Robert Lowes (who also happens to be Sir Ian McKellen’s great great grandfather) led a campaign to allow workers to finish early on Saturdays to give everyone more free time. And with that, the weekend was born.
This felt like a story worth telling – and what better way to tell the world that with a new, bold and imaginative free festival for the North, celebrating all the ways we fill our free time in the very place the weekend was invented!
We Invented the Weekend raised over £350,000 in year one and has fantastic partners including the BBC, The Lowry, the University of Salford, Eat Well MCR, HOST, Ipsos, The Open University, the Royal Horticultural Society, Salford Community Leisure, Salford City Council, Salford CVS, Sounds From the Other City, the Science and Industry Museum, Unity Radio, the University of Manchester and hundreds of community organisations from all regions of the city. And then on the eve of the festival with all stages built, the artist and performers rehearsing and the delivery team on site, Queen Elizabeth passed away. Unfortunately we had to cancel the event.
Thankfully, the partners rallied round and in June 2023 the inaugural We Invented the Weekend took place throwing open all MediaCity and Salford Quays’ spaces and places to over 60,000 people (massively smashing all Media City footfall records) to celebrate the joy of free time with a programme over 270 free activities including sports, music, greening and gardening, theatre, dance, workshops, talks, food, charity, wellness, crafts and more. By bringing people to the space, activating the water, celebrating the history, and filling the place with creativity, culture and community activity, this event brilliantly communicates all of MediaCity values, lives up to its vision and activates the placemaking strategy.