Darnhill Festival returns with galactic theme for 2024

Date published: 01 July 2024

The award-winning Darnhill Festival is making a grand return next week (Saturday 6 July).

Organised in collaboration with the Darnhill Festival Association, Cartwheel Arts unveiled this year’s theme: "Searching for Safer Planets."

This year, the people of Darnhill will embark on a journey to find a new, safe planet. Although the festival addresses the serious issue of climate change, attendees can expect the usual vibrant and action-packed atmosphere. The event will be a celebration, not a sombre affair.

The 2024 festival promises the lively energy of a carnival, with a plethora of arts activities, sports, and family-friendly entertainment. 

Organised in partnership with Rochdale Youth Service, Rochdale Libraries, and various local organisations, the Darnhill Festival will bring an interplanetary magic to the community.

Highlights of the festival include a space-themed carnival parade featuring the creative works of local primary schools, Rochdale Youth Service’s The Yard, Rochdale Connections Trust, and community groups. Attendees can look forward to drumming and samba dancing from the Manchester School of Samba, stilt walkers from Artemis Productions, live music, and spectacular costumes.

Darnhill Festival 2022
Darnhill Festival 2022


The event is free and promises something for everyone, from the exciting carnival parade – which is sure to be an Instagram-worthy spectacle – to the fun-filled activities on the festival grounds.

The parade ends at the festival site, on Argyle Parade in Heywood, where audiences can enjoy:

  • Skylight Circus: Experience the thrill of the circus with have-a-go circus skill workshops to develop the talents you never knew you had.
  • Art activity tent: Unleash your creativity and explore the connection between art and well-being in a welcoming and inspiring space.
  • Live music: On the main stage, enjoy fabulous live sounds from singer-songwriters, local bands, and Oakenhoof folk musicians.
  • Family-friendly tent: There are many art activities for children and their grown-ups.
  • Silent disco: Listen to music inspired by a planetary theme on your phone.
  • Bouncy castle: It wouldn’t be a day out without a bouncy castle.
  • Drumming workshop: Discover your rhythm at the drumming workshops, where you can learn to create music and join in the vibrant energy of the festival.
  • Storytelling: Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of storytelling of the League of Curiosity with their Space suitcase, which mixes up visual arts and stories.
  • Theatre: DIY Theatre have created a sensory theatre performance.
  • Dancing: Get your groove on and enjoy some lively dance sessions.
  • Skateboarding: Show off your skills at the pop-up skateboarding area created by Skate Attractions, where beginners and experienced riders alike can have a blast.
  • The Yard: enjoy the work of the festival’s Young Producers – a group of Darnhill young people aged between 10 – 15 years – who’ve produced and programmed Planet (Silent) Disco down at The Yard young people’s centre.

This year's festival is supported by an Arts Council England project grant, the National Lottery Community Fund Awards For All, the Guinness Partnership, Rochdale Borough Council and Heywood Township.

The festival will live on in a photography exhibition of the event, which will tour to various venues, including Number One, Riverside in Rochdale, in July/August.

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing news@rochdaleonline.co.uk
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email news@rochdaleonline.co.uk or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online