Thursday 27 June 2024

Darnhill Festival 2024

The award-winning Darnhill Festival is back for 2024! Together with the Darnhill Festival Association, Cartwheel Arts is delighted to announce this year’s festival theme, Searching For Safer Planets, and the full programme.

The people of Darnhill are searching for a new and safe planet. The festival has a climate change theme, but visitors shouldn’t expect doom and gloom. The carnival will be its usual fun and action-packed self.

This year's festival promises carnival energy, lots of different arts activities, some sports and family-friendly fun.

Organised by the Darnhill Festival Association and Cartwheel Arts in collaboration with Rochdale Youth Service, Rochdale Libraries, and local organisations, Darnhill Festival 2024 will bring interplanetary magic to the heart of the community. From an exciting carnival parade—we encourage phones ready for some Instagram action—to all the fun of the festival site, the event is free and has something for everyone.

The festival starts with a space-themed carnival parade featuring the creations of local primary schools, Rochdale Youth Service’s The Yard, Rochdale Connections Trust and community groups. Expect drumming and samba dancing from Manchester School of Samba, stilt walkers from Artemis Productions, live music, and out-of-this-world costumes. 

The Young Producers—young people from Darnhill based at The Yard youth space—have played a key role in the festival’s development by programming a Silent Disco, a glitter painter, a smoothie bar, and arts for well-being. 

The parade ends at the festival site, where audiences can enjoy: 

Skylight Circus: Experience the thrill of the circus with have-a-go circus skill workshops to develop the talents you never knew you had.

Art Activity Tent: Unleash your creativity and explore the connection between art and well-being in a welcoming and inspiring space.

Live Music: On the main stage, enjoy fabulous live sounds from singer-songwriters, local bands, and Oakenhoof folk musicians.  

Family-Friendly Tent: There are many art activities for children and their grown-ups.

Silent Disco: Listen to music inspired by a planetary theme on your phone. 

Bouncy Castle: It wouldn’t be a day out without a bouncy castle. 

Drumming Workshop: Discover your rhythm at the drumming workshops, where you can learn to create music and join in the vibrant energy of the festival.

Storytelling: Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of storytelling of the League of Curiosity with their Space Suitcase, which mixes up visual arts and stories. 

Theatre: DIY Theatre have created a sensory theatre performance. 

Dancing: Get your groove on and enjoy some lively dance sessions.

Skateboarding: Show off your skills at the pop-up skateboarding area created by Skate Attractions, where beginners and experienced riders alike can have a blast.

The Yard: enjoy the work of the festival’s Young Producers – a group of Darnhill young people aged between 10 – 15 years – who’ve produced and programmed Planet (Silent) Disco down at The Yard young people’s centre. 

The festival site has deckchairs and pop-up food stands for a great day out. 

Darnhill Festival 2024 is a space for everyone to celebrate their local community. 

This year's festival is supported by an Arts Council England project grant, the National Lottery Community Fund Awards For All, the Guinness Partnership, Rochdale Borough Council and Heywood Township. 

The festival will live on in a photography exhibition of the event, which will tour to various venues, including Number One, Riverside in Rochdale, in July/August. 


Cartwheel Arts
110 Manchester Street
OL10 1DW


T: 01706 361300 

Company number: 2161995
Charity number: 519394

Copyright Cartwheel Arts