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Freedom Festival Hull 2023, Yorkshire
August 30 - September 3
Held in late August to early September, the Freedom Festival Hull is the flagship event in the former UK City of Culture’s festival calendar.
Now in its 16th year and celebrating the life of Hull’s most famous son, William Wilberforce, the 2022 festival will be from 30 August to 3 September.
The city will abound with dance, street theatre, as well as music, debates, exhibitions and community events.
Most of the events are free of charge, although some require advance booking, and held in theatres, museums, galleries, public spaces and empty shops around Hull. You can be assured that the festival will provide excellent entertainment for the whole family, including acrobatics and dancing blue hippos dancing around the city. This year will also see an afternoon of free circus performed at Bridlington on 31 August.
Highlights of the Freedom Festival Hull 2023
Appearing in this year’s festival will be: VIA BERLIN & CELLO OCTET AMSTERDAM (NE) – INSTANT LONELINESS; LES FILLES DU RENARD PÂLE (FR) – RÉSISTE; GORILLA CIRCUS (UK) – UNITY; OTTO & ASTRID (AU) – OTTO & ASTRID’S JOINT SOLO PROJECT; THE HERD THEATRE (UK) – FAST FOOD MEGAVERSE; MARTIN GREEN AND EMMA RICE (UK) – KELI: A WORK IN PROGRESS; THE WARREN YOUTH PROJECT & MIDDLE CHILD THEATRE (UK) – THREE MINUTE MONOLOGUES; TRIPOTES LA COMPAGNIE (BE) – ENCORE UNE FOIS; ZUM-ZUM TEATRE (CAT) – HIPPOS; HANNABIELL & MIDNIGHT BLUE COLLECTIVE (UK); and CITY OF HULL BAND (UK) – BRASS SPECTACULAR.
Details of the 2023 festival programme is here.
History of the Freedom Festival Hull
The festival started as a celebration of freedom through creativity in 2007, which marked the 200th anniversary of the passing of William Wilberforce’s landmark act that abolished the slave trade, at least in the British Empire.
Since then, it has grown steadily with more than 130,000 people travelling each year to the Yorkshire city to embrace the festival’s core values and celebrate freedom.
Things to Do in Hull
While in Hull, visit the house where William Wilberforce was born in 1759. Now a free museum, it houses exhibitions that outline the story of the slave trade, its eventual abolition, and the vital role that Wilberforce played. There are also exhibits on modern-day slavery. (Unfortunately this is now closed until further notice).
The Ferens Art Gallery is one of the leading exhibition spaces in the country, and this year it is displaying a portrait of Wilberforce by Sir Thomas Lawrence, for the first time.
For other ideas on what to do in Hull, read Mark Bibby Jackson’s article on the past UK City of Culture.
When is the Freedom Festival Hull 2023?
30 August to 3 September 2023
Freedom Festival Programme
The festival takes place in venues across the city, for a full Freedom Festival programme click here.
Festivals in Yorkshire
Getting to Hull
A flat city, Hull is perfect for walking or cycling. You can hire a bicycle at the Bike Hub, which is located at the city’s Transport Interchange. The festival hub, where you can pick up a programme or get direction from volunteers, is also located here.
Hull has trains from London, Leeds and Manchester. If driving Hull is accessible from the M62, M1 and A1, although you should note that several streets in the city will be closed during the festival, and you are advised to park at the King William’s car park. Parking can be pre-booked.
Hotels in Hull
If you wish to book accommodation for the festival, perhaps you could use our hotel booking page. It scours the major hotel booking sites so that you don’t have to:
For more details on the Freedom Festival Hull
For Things to Do in Hull
Cover photo: GAIA and Trees in Cathedral – credit Luke Jerram.