The Slow Boat To Burnley – Burnley Canal Festival 2016


From the centre of the industrial revolution to the heart of a modern revolution in slow living, Burnley Canal Festival returns in August 2016 to mark the bicentenary of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and give visitors the chance to rest, reflect and take to the water.

Super Slow Way has commissioned Mid Pennine Arts and Deco Publique to work with Burnley Canal Trust to create the all new, all slow, Burnley Canal Festival 2016, in celebration of the Bicentenary of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Artists will join dancers, bands, boaters and residents in staging a ‘creative revolution’ two centuries after industry came to dominate the north of England, creating new artworks and performances along the banks of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August 2016.

Starting at Sandygate Square , families can discover slow culture across food, craft, making, art and performance visitors as a contemporary, experience-led expression of the Super Slow Way programme. Highlights include the ‘Lifeboat’ – the slowest ride on earth, a participatory installation about slowness, kindness and gentleness; performances from East London Dance Collective, Folk Dance Remixed, with a collision of dance styles including maypole, hip-hop and clogging and live music stage programmed by More Music.  Stalls of artisan crafts and food and drink will also be on site.

At Finsley Gate Wharf visitors will find Super Slow Way resident artist Stephen Turner who will invite them to see the Exbury Egg to discuss the creation of his remarkable, wood-built capsule and tell all about his stay on the canal, working in the heart of the Burnley Wood community and exploring its heritage. Burnley Wood Beauty is a space for creativity where flora and fauna comes to life through art and making workshops inspired by the land and the nature that resides within it.

A series of artist installations will create bold visual statements that dress the canal and all three festival spaces. Inspired by Brightwork traditions and the locale, artist Lucy Birbeck creates banners to guide you along the towpath; new gateway’s welcome you to the canal towpath; David Boultbee and Becky Atherton, Artists in Residence at Sandygate Square, create interactive surprises and artworks and communities will work directly with internationally renowned participatory artist, Alwin Reamillo as he joins the Canalside Community Centre.

Taking to and speaking directly to the water, there will be the opportunity for intrepid visitors to jump into a canoe for a supervised paddle and also join artist, Jeni McConnell as she leads Tell It To The Water, a workshop that asks people to write their hopes and reflections on the canal on soluble paper before committing them to the water forever, tied to rocks and stones. Barges and narrow boats, including the heritage short boat and visitor experience and the Kennet, will pack the waterway throughout the weekend to remind visitors of the canal’s busy past and optimistic future.