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Freedom Festival Hull 2019, Yorkshire

August 28, 2019 - September 1, 2019

Freedom Festival Hull

Held in late August, the Freedom Festival Hull is the flagship event in the UK City of Culture’s festival calendar.

Celebrating the life of Hull’s most famous son, William Wilberforce, the festival holds its 12th anniversary in 2019, which also marks the 260th of the anti-slavery campaigner’s birth.

In response to its growing success and international repute, organisers have now stretched the Freedom Festival to five days.

The city will abound with dance, street theatre and acrobatics, as well as music, debates, exhibitions and community events. Most of the events are free of charge, although some are ticketed. And you can be assured that the festival will provide excellent entertainment for the whole family.

Highlights of the Freedom Festival Hull

The Turbans
The Turbans will be performing at the Freedom Festival Hull c. Danny North

Bands performing at the festival include The Turbans, Bunkerpop and the Hull International Carnival. Last year, dancing lollipop men and dancers in flamboyant costumes strode through the city transforming Hull into a rainbow of colour, with marching bands and mesmerising drumming.

A vital component of the festival is the series of Freedom talks, which this year will debate Artificial Intelligence and Modern Day Slavery amongst other hot topics.

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. 

Freedom Festival 2018
Freedom Festival 2018
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.

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 current UK City of Culture.

Hull Wilberforce House
William Wilberforce House

When is the Freedom Festival Hull 2019?

 28 August to 1 September 2019

Freedom Festival Programme

The festival takes place in venues across the city, for a full Freedom Festival programme click here.

Festivals in Yorkshire

If you can’t attend the Ilkley Festival but are going to God’s Own Country, you could try the Malton Food Festival (May), the Whitby Folk Festival (August) and the Ilkley Literature Festival (October).

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 at £3 per day here.

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

Click here.

For Things to Do in Hull


Cover photo: Sunday No Fit State Motionhouse Block Trinity Square (c) Anete Sooda.



August 28, 2019
September 1, 2019
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