The hugely popular Festival of Thrift is fast approaching and, in the spirit of one of the 2019 event’s key themes of celebrating the moon landing, the organisers have released a countdown of highlights of this year’s packed programme.

A weekend of exciting and inventive activities designed to appeal across the board is set to blast off when the event marks its seventh year in a return to the woodlands of Kirkleatham on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September.

  • 10. VIEWPOINTS, the Festival’s arty offshoot, bookends this year’s event and sees artworks focusing on the 2019 Festival’s other key theme of clean air popping up across the Tees Valley from 12 – 19 September. A lung cleaning station, a giant artwork created with ink made from exhaust fumes, dancers wearing pollution-sensing costumes, enormous painted canaries, the return of Cow-car, an extraordinary paper-based green house and a series of mindful observation pavilions are set to get people talking about one of today’s most pressing environmental issues.
  • 9. The Festival’s opening parade ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, will travel from Kirkleatham to the bandstand on Redcar seafront from 6.30pm on Friday 13 September to kick start the weekend. Led by Stellar Projects, it promises an entertaining spectacle which will enhance the feel-good atmosphere of Thrift whilst addressing an important issue. It will feature local community groups together with professional performers and musicians, and will culminate in Human Sensor, commissioned by Invisible Dust, a futuristic dance performance in data sensitive costumes which will log the air pollution en route.
  • 8. This year the Festival’s fantastically family-friendly Pink Zone provides an area dedicated to provide an awesome array of activities specifically designed for younger visitors. Enjoy a magical journey on the Bewonderment Machine, a visually stunning cycle-powered carousel, be transported to worlds of adventure and mystery with storyteller Ian Douglas, help Space Rebel Princess achieve her dream of becoming an astronaut and dance along with Club Groovy.
  • 7. Enjoy a musical medley with a line-up of amazing home-grown musical talent, a cycle-powered stage and bands making music across the site. Mr Wilson’s Second Liners and their New Orleans meets 90s club classics are back by popular demand, a programme of emerging north east musicians, including inspirational Tyneside rapper Kay Greyson, will perform all weekend, the InfantHercules male-voice choir led by former Wildcats of Kilkenny front man, Mike McGrother, is scheduled to make show-stopping arrival on site on Saturday morning and the festival’s very own Phoenix Choir will provide a stunning soundtrack as they process around the site.
  • 6. Heaps of hands-on fun with rocket-building, an interactive mystery-solving adventure, inventing and making is on offer. Build rockets out of reclaimed wood at the Woodshed Workshop, download the alien app and join Manic Chord Theatre to solve gravitational goings on, invent something to help save the planet with Little Inventors, recycle old bits of computers to make instruments with Noisy Toys, make music with Junkyard Orchestra and bring along unused fruit and veg to the festival’s jam and chutney-making factory Jamallot and Jamallitle.
  • 5. Feast on a foodie time-travel adventure as The Town is the Menu serves up 900 years of history on a plate. Invest £7 and join the 36 metre long communal table for an unforgettable three-course vegetarian lunch inspired by Guisborough in its 900thanniversary. Savour the flavours under a big sky, with spirit-lifting live musical performances with a witty and seasonal menu created by The Ugly Duckling, a cooking collective that produces nourishing food that is respectful of the planet.
  • 4. Figure out how to get out of the Eco Challenge Escape room.  Take on the challenge of this family and teenager friendly game and solve the green-themed interactive tasks and puzzles to unlock the room in a game developed specially for the festival on behalf of one of the Festival of Thrift partners, SABIC. Book free tickets via the Festival’s website.
  • 3. Have a go at something new with workshops galore. Book up in advance or drop in to a wide array of workshops to learn a range of things you always wanted to try or never knew existed. Weaving, printing, jewellery-making, stained glass and lampshade making, spoon-carving and wild baking are just some of the things on offer. Take a seat at one of our talks and debates or in Tees Valley Nature Partnerships World Café and discuss sustainable issues from nature preservation to plastic consumption.
  • 2. Support the fight against fast fashion and dress to be Best in Show! The Festival of Thrift’s world-famous sustainable fashion show OXGLAM, made possible with make up by Stockton Riverside Collegemakeup students and outfits designed and donated by Oxfam and Teesside University, is heading back to the catwalk to showcase looks that don’t cost the earth and visitors will be under scrutiny as organisers hunt for the best thrifty dressers whose outfits are out of this world to reflect this year’s themes.
  • 1. Shop sustainably from stalls selling upcycled, recycled or second-hand wares and some wonderful food and drink. Tempting one-off purchases from a whole array of independent traders and food providers are featured across the site with something for every budget and taste.

Festival of Thrift director, Stella Hall, urged people to go to the Festival’s website and plan their visit in advance to help make the most of the event.

“The programme is available to view now so if people are planning to come for a few hours, a full day or all weekend they can check what’s on and, with our new interactive website, plan their own bespoke journey.

“A lot of visitors find that they can’t get around the full site in just one day, so our countdown aims to give a few ideas of what not to miss, what to book in advance and what to bring along.”

Stella added that, though she is keen to encourage walking and cycling to the event, the festival has also invested further in car parking and stewarding to make things as smooth as possible for those arriving by car.

“There is comprehensive signage for a range of routes into the festival site so drivers should ignore their sat nav and any local knowledge for the quickest route in.  The Festival’s a hugely popular event so we cannot guarantee there won’t be queuing at peak times but we’re doing our best to minimise it.

“If you can walk or cycle to Kirkleatham, please do, but we appreciate that people travel from far and wide so this is not always practical.

“However you travel we are really looking forward to welcoming you to a truly memorable Festival of Thrift.”

The full programme for the Festival of Thrift and a site map is available at www.festivalofthrift.co.uk