By Leah Conway –
Slaithwaite locals are rallying together to raise funds for the return of the renowned Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival. A crowdfunding campaign will launch this week with the aim to fund the return of the lantern festival for all to enjoy.
The festival brings joy to the community with the building of willow lanterns and the Moonraker finale.
Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival organisers partnered with Spacehive – a successful crowdfunding platform in the UK – and Kirklees Council’s Growing Great Places funding.
The festival is a registered charity, so their work with Spacehive means they can pool individual donations, business sponsorship, group fundraising, gift ai and grants from trusts and foundations, all to raise funds to bring back the Festival for the first time since 2017.
The Moonraking festival is a community-driven celebration of creativity, crafts and storytelling that has been running since 1985 by Satellite Arts and Slaithwaite Community Association. The festival is derived from a popular legend, and every two years, during the February half term, local groups and families come together to create willow lanterns which are lit from the lantern procession around the village accompanied by music and street performances.
The event is well known and attracts thousands of visitors to the village.
Since 2017 the festival has had funding cuts and the challenges of Covid-19, so it has been unable to run.
Over the last two years of the pandemic, the festival has instead organised a “Moonshine Festival” with illuminated window art created by the community, which raised spirits throughout lockdowns.
Since the community enjoyed the moonshine festival, locals have called for the return of the Moonraking festival in 2023.
To raise support, the festival is asking for people to donate even £2 to support the community’s efforts.
The festival is also encouraging community groups and businesses to consider organising fundraising activities to contribute to the campaign. There is also the chance for businesses and local organisations to sponsor the events.
A bonus is that any money raised locally will then be matched by external funds.
Spread the word!
Festival director Gill Bond said, “We’d love to see some really imaginative fundraising efforts locally – the more fun the better! Perhaps you could run a sponsored activity, collection or challenge, run a school non-uniform day, sell a special item in your shop or restaurant to raise money for the festival? Please share your news and your photos with us and we’ll do everything we can to spread the word about you on our social media.
Every penny raised will go back into our local economy – supporting local creative practitioners, schools and community groups, local businesses and suppliers.
We have until 22nd July 2022 to reach our fundraising target. Let’s rake the moon in 2023!!!
Please donate and help to spread the word!”
You can donate through Spacehive crowdfunding. There have already been fundraising events organised, you can join in with a musical evening Moonlight on the Water at the Watershed on Bridge Street on Saturday 14th May at 7.30pm and a Moonraker’s Ceilidh dance at Slaithwaite Civic Hall on Saturday 9th July at 7.30pm.
Tickets are available on the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival Facebook page.