Experience the first-ever Middlewood Locks Fest

Apr 17, 2024

A free canal-side neighbourhood festival will take place at Middlewood Locks in Salford on Saturday 18 May 2024 to celebrate the re-opening of parts of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal for the first time in 15 years.

‘Middlewood Locks Fest’ promises an action-packed fun day for all the family, including boats, music, art workshops, a makers’ market, heritage activities, contemporary performances, water-based activities, live entertainment and local street food vendors.

Key highlights will include performances from the Fat Cat Brass Band and other live music programmed by ‘From the Other’, a unique sound walk created by local and international ‘Hidden Canal’ artists, and a makers’ market presented by artists from Islington Mill and Hot Bed Press.

Stalls will also be hosted by Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society, the Ramblers, the Irwell Catchment Partnership, Salford’s Health Improvement Team, the Angel Centre and Salford’s Local History Forum. The Canal & River Trust will also be hosting explorers activities for families, and young people from the local St Philip’s CE Primary School have been working with artists to make decorative items for the event.

Visitors will be able to jump on board rafted canoes for water-based activities and take part in a series of fun ‘lost and found’ themed workshops led by an enormous magpie puppet, The Collector!  A live DJ set with mesmerising fire and sound installation will provide for a fabulous sunset finale.

The new festival is being made possible through sponsorship from ourselves and Get Living. Organised in collaboration with the outdoor events production team at Walk the Plank, the event is also supported by Creative Embassies, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Salford City Council, Salford Community and Voluntary Services (CVS), Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society (MBBCS) and waterways charity Canal & River Trust, which looks after the canal.

The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal was made famous in the song ‘Dirty Old Town’, written by Salford born folk singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl and performed by The Dubliners and The Pogues. Hollywood legend James Mason starred in the film ‘Spring and Port Wine’, based on a play by Bolton’s own Bill Naughton, filmed at various locations along the canal.

Nicola Wallis, Group Sales & Marketing Director at Scarborough Group International (SGI), said:

“We are so excited to host our first ever Middlewood Locks Fest next month.  Community engagement has always been a high priority at Middlewood Locks and our free community events really help to support inclusivity, bringing people together in celebration.


“Running right through the heart of Middlewood Locks, the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal provides important peace and tranquillity for our residents and visitors and of course is a vital green corridor supporting biodiversity. Whilst no longer used for industrial trade, this waterway provides sustainable connectivity and the reopening of parts of the canal, for the first time in 15 years, is certainly worth celebrating.”

Kim Quickfall, General Manager at Get Living, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting the first Middlewood Locks Fest, which will not only celebrate the rich history of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal and the wider area but will also bring people together to enjoy local art, crafts, and entertainment. As long-term stakeholders, we are very proud to be a part of the community here at Middlewood Locks as it continues to grow and flourish.”

James Long, engagement manager at charity Canal & River Trust, said:

“Salford is a city shaped by its canals, which offer green corridors in some of our most densely populated communities, offering a place for people to relax, walk, cycle, paddle or simply be inspired.


“We’re delighted to be involved in what promises to be a really positive event for the community, which is free and open to all. The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal at Middlewood is a ‘hidden gem’ and with the event and boats returning, it’s wonderful seeing it come to life for everyone to enjoy.”

Paul Hindle, Chair of the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal Society, said:

“We are delighted to welcome boats back to this section of the canal, and to celebrate the role canals can play in promoting recreation, tourism, environmental improvement and wellbeing in the local and wider community.”

Ben Turner, Salford Producer at Walk the Plank, said:

“It’s great all these different elements are coming together for what’s going to be a fantastic event for all ages as well as being a chance for Walk the Plank to share their experience of delivering events on our doorstep in Salford.”

Further details for Middlewood Fest can be found at Middlewood Locks – (middlewood-locks.co.uk)

Further details for the soundwalk can be found at  Hidden Canal | Walk the Plank

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