Business Backs Salford’s We Invented the Weekend

WE Invented the Weekend at Salford Quays, MediaCityUK. Pic: Mark Waugh

We Invented the Weekend, the bold and imaginative free festival for the UK held across MediaCity and the Quays in Salford, will be returning 15th and 16th June and is today announcing the title and event sponsors who will help deliver the biggest We Invented the Weekend yet.

Hailed for generating ‘incredible social value’ in 2023 by Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett, We Invented the Weekend celebrates how people spend their leisure time, and is situated where the weekend was originally invented in Greater Manchester, 1843. It saw record footfall numbers for MediaCity, with 60,000 visitors over the two days of the festival.

Wayne Hemingway MBE, co-founder of We Invented the Weekend, 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. We are grateful to our partners across the private and public sector who are placing a clear focus on culture and its value to people’s well being The scale of We Invented The Weekend, and the scale of support in only its second year maybe unprecedented for a free festival and will demonstrate once again that MediaCity and Salford Quays provide a wonderful destination for events.”

Auto Trader, the UK’s largest automotive marketplace, is announced as We Invented the Weekend’s title partner. The Manchester-based business will focus its activities on showcasing environmentally friendlier options for transport, from electric cars to e-bikes all of which are available on the Auto Trader platform.

Auto Trader’s title sponsorship includes giving all festival attendees an extra entry into their monthly Electric Car Giveaway, where people have the chance to win both a brand-new electric car and caravan, ready for the summer days ahead. Tapping into the ethos of the festival, Auto Trader will highlight green activities people can get up to at the weekend, including setting up an e-bike track and promoting the joys of caravanning and electric cars, all of which have been growing in popularity in recent years.

Nathan Coe, CEO at Auto Trader said: “Auto Trader is proud to support We Invented the Weekend and our colleagues are so excited to be involved in this event which is inclusive and free to all.  Community is so important to us and we’re incredibly proud of being a Manchester-based technology business, so it’s really special to be involved with this festival.”

Bupa and the Bupa Foundation are supporting the ‘We Get Healthy’ strand of the festival. You can expect Bupa clinicians onsite, as well as the chance to ‘Step up for Salford’ by joining in organised runs, dance-a-thons and a family-friendly mini marathon (1.6 miles, rather than 26!).

Anna Russell, Director of Sustainability for Bupa Global & UK and Director of the Bupa Foundation said: “As part of our commitment to creating Healthy Cities, we’re glad to be back supporting this fantastic festival and getting everyone moving and having fun, all for a good cause.  We’re expanding our Green Community Grants programme this June. This allows schools and community groups to apply for funding to improve local green spaces. Last year we supported over 230 projects across the UK, and this year we hope to support many community projects that improve both people and planet health across the UK, including in Greater Manchester. Applications will open 1 June at”

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.  The programme will include talks from industry leading panellists including university academics, journalists, environmentalists and thought leaders across topics including  music, sport and of course, the weekend.

The University of Salford will also help programme one of the mass participatory moments at the festival named ‘The People’s Catwalk – Sunday Best’, which will be a joyous spectacle of style, featuring individuals, groups and communities from all walks of life strutting their stuff in their finest attire to celebrate Sunday Best.

Sam Grogan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience at The University of Salford said: “We are delighted to be returning to play our part in this hugely exciting festival that has truly been welcomed with open arms by the people and students of Salford. Our We Think Big talks will provide stimulating and inspiring discussion that will be of interest to all whilst The People’s Catwalk promises to be a must-see affair!”

Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett added: “We Invented the Weekend’s first year was significantly positive for the region, bringing in over £3 million to the local economy and attracting over 60,000 people. 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.”

Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCity which hosts and invests in the Festival 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 which include MediaCity, Salford City Council, Quays Culture, The Lowry, and HemingwayDesign are anticipating a hugely successful second year for We Invented the Weekend. The sponsorship announcement is the next step in driving MediaCity’s placemaking strategy and the event partners in June will help animate the many places and spaces of MediaCity and Salford Quays.

The wider 2024 programme will also include an array of 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 will take place 15th – 16th June in MediaCity and Salford Quays. All events are free and mostly un-ticketed.