By Joshua Robinson –
Moonshine Festival of Illuminated Picture Windows 16th – 17th February
Villagers and visitors to Slaithwaite will have the opportunity to enjoy a village-sized art gallery this February half-term as locals light up their windows for Moonshine 2024.
Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival, the “odd festival in the odd year” is due to happen in February 2025, but this February organisers have invited the villagers to celebrate the creativity and positivity of Slaithwaite and the Colne Valley by creating illuminated window pictures that “tell a story”.
“Moonshine” was created in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, when lockdown restrictions made the traditional lantern festival impossible. Instead, Slaithwaite villagers created illuminated window art that people could enjoy safely as they strolled around the village after dark.
The response was positive with a display of illuminated artwork in over 400 windows in homes and businesses throughout the village.
Susanna Meese, Chair of Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival said: “Everybody in Slaithwaite loves seeing the village lit up for Moonshine. It’s exactly what Moonraking is about- people all over the village crafting their own special creations that come together to create a wonderful, magical experience for everyone. We’re thrilled, tickled, charmed, surprised, and sometimes moved to tears by local people’s creations. The fun of it all is we never know what will appear in the windows of Slaithwaite until it happens!”
“This year we’re delighted to say we’ve been offered the opportunity to display some specially commissioned window art in some of the windows at Globe Mills. It would be fair to say we’ve had our eye on Globe Mills as an iconic building to involve in Moonraking for a long time. We were thrilled when the team at Stada Thornton and Ross, many of whom have enjoyed Moonshine and Moonraking for years, agreed to us using some of their windows and they won’t be disappointed! Local artist Frances Noon has created some beautiful window art for 5 windows and they are going to look fabulous.”
In 2024 the organising team and villagers are saying a special thank you to Gill Bond, Slaithwaite Moonraking’s co-founder and Festival Coordinator since 1985, who has stepped down and handed the baton on to the rest of the team.
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Susanna Meese added: “Gill Bond and Andy Burton started the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival nearly 40 years ago and what a lucky lot we are! Moonraking has become a defining part of the village, playing a huge part in many families’ lives as well as catalysing the development of Slaithwaite as a hub for creatives and independents. I can’t imagine our village without Moonraking.”
“Thanks to the way Gill works, Moonraking has always been a collective endeavour, with a huge number of people involved and a very strong organising committee so we are well placed to carry the festival forward. Of course we’re always on the lookout for help- we have a job on our hands to raise the funds needed to stage the full festival in 2025. People can help support that by making a donation through our website and by buying Moonshine Materials Packs.”
Moonshine Materials Packs are available for £5 from Globe Arts, Waterside Barbers, Ruddi’s Retreat Café, The Clay Mill, Ryder & Dutton estate agents, Slaithwaite Post Office, Amour Hair & Beauty, Every Cloud Boutique, and A New Leaf Bookshop.
Moonshine Window Lantern workshops will be held at Globe Arts on Tuesday 13th February.
A map of window art will be accessible online through the Moonraking website at the beginning of February. Villagers are invited to submit the location of their window art through https://www.slaithwaitemoonraking.org.uk/moonshine-event-2024/
The Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival celebrates an eighteenth-century legend where smugglers caught red-handed with their bootleg barrels in the canal outwitted the militia by claiming to be “raking the moon” from the canal. The festival celebrates the quirky, non-conformist spirit of an area famous for Luddites, rebels, and strong community spirit.
For more information and to donate to the festival visit Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival’s website: https://www.slaithwaitemoonraking.org.uk/
And follow them on social media for the latest news and window images.