Festival of Thrift promises to 'repurpose' event amid pandemic

Organisers of the annual Festival of Thrift in Kirkleatham, near Redcar, say they'll still bring festival goers together, even though the event has been called off.

The coronavirus pandemic forced organisers to rethink the large-scale national festival of sustainability, which usually attracts 40,000 people.

Instead of completely cancelling the event, they say they have decided to 'repurpose' it. The details aren't quite finalised but it's thought there will be events both online and offline.

As part of their planning for the re-worked event, organisers are looking for an artist to help with the launch of 'Thriftest Upcycled', as it's being called this year. They are looking for a piece of artwork to create ‘One Beautiful Moment’ and that will be the focus of the launch on September 12.

North East artists are being asked to submit proposals for work to be showcased to kick-start the weekend’s activities. The works must have a 'sustainability' theme. Depending on what the artwork is - for example, a performance piece or an artwork, it may be viewed online as well as in a public forum that follows government safety guidelines.

Stella Hall, Festival of Thrift’s director, explained that the current challenging circumstances meant that this year’s commission has had to take a different approach.

Dawn Felicia Knox’s Transpire/Respire/Inspire installation (2019) was located at Middlesbrough railway station. Credit: Tracy Kidd / Festival of Thrift

We’re looking for proposals from artists that people can engage with online but also, ideally, has elements that can be accessed live in a way that meets social distancing measures. Artists are being asked to respond to the broad theme of future sustainability in their proposals, to be interpreted in whichever way they see fit.

Stella Hall, Festival of Thrift’s director
Cabinet of Curiosity exhibited an extraordinary green house at Darlington Indoor Market in 2019 Credit: Tracy Kidd / Festival of Thrift

Organisers say they are open minded about the artwork and how it is presented. The deadline for submission of proposals is Friday 10 July.