Oldham Council's Arts & Events programme

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The Oldham Arts & Events programme welcomes over 60,000 people annually across seven key outdoor events in the Town Centre and Cultural Quarter.

These include Illuminate (February) a late-night arts festival and light night and Accelerate Transport and Arts Festival (May). The team also programs the borough’s autumn and winter events programme.

Their key aims and objectives are to enable all people living and working in Oldham to have the opportunity to experience and participate in quality festivals and events. This supports the ongoing economic regeneration of the Town Centre and its cultural organisations while supporting the visitor economy.

Why we joined Without Walls

Without Walls has enabled Oldham to raise the profile of its outdoor festivals programme, providing opportunities to connect with the wider festivals network across the UK to share and explore their experiences of the sector. It has given the programming team the opportunity to go and see excellent new work across the country and to then subsidise a programme of groundbreaking outdoor work for our local audiences. The consortium has also supported Oldham with audience development and provided training to embed Arts Award into all our outdoor work.

The Oldham Council team

Rachel Wood is the Artistic Director and Event Manager (Oldham Council Arts Development), responsible for the Arts & Events programme.

Rachel has worked in the arts sector for over 20 years. She represents Oldham Council within the Without Walls TNP and as a board member.

Oldham Council

Events at Oldham Council

Year on year the events grow in popularity as measured through increased participation, growing visitor numbers and the expanding number of festival partners.

Both festivals that include Without Walls programming are supported financially by the local authority, Town Centre Business Partnership, Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England Project Grants and Strategic Touring. Additionally, we receive very positive feedback from town centre businesses demonstrating increased trade and visitors during events.

Audiences at Oldham Council's events

The Arts & Events programme has had great feedback from its audience members:

“It was a fabulous event! First time we had been. We had a 4,7, 8 year old with us and they all loved the whole event. Well done to all involved.”

“What an incredible night! Thank you to everyone who made this evening possible.”

“We had a fantastic night yet again. Seriously don’t know how Oldham are going to top it next year.”

“Fantastic event! Every year gets bigger and better. Great to see all the community come together and be proud. Well done Oldham. Lots of smiles from everyone…”