Thousands of people have been celebrating the creation of the weekend at a "heartwarming" festival that was "full of joy", organisers have said.

Salford's We Invented The Weekend was first held in 2023 to celebrate a campaign in 1843 by Robert Lowes for mill workers to get a day off on Saturdays.

The two-day festival at MediaCityUK featured an array of performances, including folk icon Peggy Seeger.

She sang Dirty Old Town, her husband and Salford-born folk legend Ewan MacColl's 1949 song about the area.

Event co-founder Wayne Hemingway said the festival was "placemaking at its most meaningful".

Musicians, DJs, BMX riders, a charity supermarket and an appearance by the stars of Gladiators were among the attractions on show at the piazza at Salford Quays.


We Invented the Weekend 2024 - Salford Quays


Mr Hemingway said the event had been a "massive success", with footfall surpassing the 60,000 people who attended last year.

"What we hit upon here is the historical fact that the weekend was invented here [Salford] in 1843, that was a buried historical story," Mr Hemingway said.

"The concept of an event that celebrates what people do at the weekend is really exciting."

Born in Salford in 1915, folk singer Ewan MacColl wrote Dirty Old Town about the city where he grew up.

Peggy Seeger, who married MacColl in 1977, appeared at the festival to perform the song, including a lost verse close to 75 years after it was written.

She performer alongside MacColl's son Calum, and was joined by BBC Radio Manchester presenter, Salford-born Mike Sweeney, for an interview before the performance.

The new verse is the subject of a BBC Radio 4 documentary made in collaboration with festival organisers, which is set to air next month.

Mr Hemingway said organisers were delighted with her appearance, which he said "seemed to capture the public's imagination".

"It's amazing how many Salfordians didn't know it was about the city," he said.

Salford has "reinvented itself" since the song was written, he added.

He said there was now a "juxtaposition of a place that lovingly was called a dirty old town and now is at the heart of cutting edge media".

People from "all over Salford" had been walking towards MediaCity, "families walking hand in hand, and people getting off the trams" for the festival, Mr Hemingway said.

"It's doing everything that we wanted to do, this space was once considered a dead space, but it makes the most wonderful public realm, arguably best in the region.

"And the diversity of the audience here is just heartwarming."