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Darlington's Festival of Thrift attracts over 10,000 people
ORGANISERS behind the country’s first ever Festival of Thrift are celebrating its success and say they want to make it an annual North-East event.
The festival took place over two days at the Lingfield Point business park in Darlington and featured 70 stalls and a host of thrift-related attractions including swap shop stalls, craft workshops and guest speakers.
Visitor numbers exceeded 12,000 on its first day with people travelling from as far afield as London and dozens taking to social networking sites to praise the event.
Wayne Hemingway, who founded the Red or Dead fashion label, came up with the festival idea and said he was delighted at its success.
He added: “I think it’s great that it has happened outside of London because I think London gets enough, and I don’t think we would have necessarily had more people visit if we had held it there.
“We have had fantastic national coverage, and support from the Arts Council, Darlington Borough Council, the best festival director in the country and a team of people who have been nothing less than brilliant – without all them this couldn’t have happened.
“Other places will be wanting to do this, hopefully we can keep it here and work with the same team but I suppose that depends on the support of the community; we need sponsors and businesses to get on board again and I think we can make it even bigger and better next time.
“This has been a great start, but I think we are only at about 25 per cent of what can be done.
“Let’s blow everything out of the water and make sure that Darlington is the Festival of Thrift in the same way that the Glastonbury Festival couldn’t be held anywhere else.”
Festival director Stella Hall added: “It has just surpassed all our expectations in terms of visitor numbers and the breadth of stalls and activities.”
Among the more unusual attractions were the Bistro Du Vans – retro camper vans fitted out as mini-restaurants – and a team creating a caravan from scratch using old wooden pallets.
Designer Max McMurdo, who came up with the caravan idea, is the director of Reestore which takes rubbish or unwanted items and turns them into funky furniture or decorative pieces.
His company won backing on the 2008 Dragon’s Den series and he praised the Festival of Thrift for celebrating all things sustainable.
He said: “I was really pleased to get involved and do something a bit masculine to show that thrift isn’t all about ‘girly’ things like sewing and baking – it’s for everyone.”
Lingfield Point was chosen to host the festival after curators Wayne and Geradine met with site owner John Orchard and were impressed at the business park’s sustainable ethos.
Among the thousands who travelled to the venue was 29-year-old Rob Fawcett who said the 200-mile round trip from his Hull hometown had been “definitely worthwhile”.
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