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Organisers of We Invented the Weekend (WITW), the free-to-attend festival held across MediaCity and the Quays in Salford, have announced its title and event sponsors who will help deliver the event’s “biggest edition yet”.

The event, co-created by fashion designer Wayne Hemingway MBE, celebrates how people spend their leisure time and is situated where the weekend was originally invented in Greater Manchester in 1843.

Last year’s debut event saw record footfall numbers for MediaCity, with 60,000 visitors over the two days of the festival, with a programme of more than 200 free activities. The event brought in more than £3 million to the local economy.

Manchester-based Auto Trader has been announced as WITW’s 2024 title partner, while The Bupa Foundation and The University of Salford will be event partners.

Hemingway said, “We Invented the Weekend is setting the new standard for how free festivals operate in the UK. It is becoming increasingly evident that nationally known businesses and brands are understanding the social value of a free, inclusive festival of this scale and what it offers to society.”

As event partner for 2024, the University of Salford will also host 2024’s We Think Big talks at the centre of the festival site, including talks from university academics, journalists, environmentalists and thought leaders. The university will also help programme one of the mass participatory moments at the festival, ‘The People’s Catwalk – Sunday Best’.

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said, “It is great to see the festival being backed by regionally-based household brand names – it’s a clear indication of the festival’s appeal to commercial and socially-aware organisations.”

MediaCity managing director Stephen Wild said, “We Invented the Weekend is the perfect example of partners coming together to make an area accessible for everyone and anyone who might not normally visit MediaCity and Salford Quays. It showcases the area in an imaginative and engaging way while bringing cultural experiences for the whole family to enjoy.”

The founding partners of the festival are MediaCity, Salford City Council, Quays Culture, The Lowry, and HemingwayDesign.

The 2024 programme will also include activities and workshops hosted by Manchester Lit & Phil, CBeebies Bedtime Stories, RHS Bridgewater, The Lowry, British Cycling, Sounds From The Other City, Manchester United Foundation Street Reds and Charity Super.Mkt.

We Invented the Weekend 2024 will take place from 15–16 June.

Image credit: Mark Waugh