Year-long cultural celebration kicks off in Calderdale

Posted on  by Calderdale Council

Parkinson Lane Community Primary School dancers at the Piece Hall - credit Ant Robling

Calderdale’s first ever Year of Culture is officially underway, after hundreds of local performers showcased their talent and creativity in an opening celebration to remember.

Visitors to Halifax town centre on Saturday 13 April 2024 were treated to over 25 free events, activities and performances from 10am to 8pm.

Crowds gathered in The Piece Hall to take part in ballroom dancing and to watch, dance and sing along with uplifting performances by the Halifax Panthers dancers, Roger Davies and his band, the Clifton and Lightcliffe Band (one of the oldest brass bands in the country), the Parkinson Lane Community Primary School dancers, the All Together Now Choir, The Signing Choir performing songs in British Sign Language, and Mr Wilson’s Second Liners.

A variety of Calderdale-based singers, songwriters and performers brought music to the Albany Arcade in Halifax Borough Market, showcasing the historic venue’s developing role as a place to be entertained as well as to shop, trade, eat and gather.

The streets of Halifax town centre came alive with sights and sounds throughout the day, with activities including a makers’ market, skateboarding, a flash mob, creative workshops and more. Dean Clough, the vibrant historic mill complex, hosted art and sculpture workshops and gave people the chance to get active on a climbing wall.

The opening celebrations continued in other parts of Calderdale on Sunday 14 April, with choir performances, gong bathing and Folklore Centre activities in Todmorden, and a range of activities and music in Brighouse.

The launch events marked the start of a packed 12-month programme of events and activities for Calderdale’s Year of Culture (CultureDale), a celebration of the borough’s landmark 50th birthday on 1 April 2024.

Bobsie Robinson, Calderdale Council’s Cultural Service Manager, said:

“We were blown away by the amazing local talent and the turnout at our CultureDale opening celebrations. Thank you to everyone who took part in, and came along to, the brilliant events that put Calderdale’s creativity centre-stage.

“They were just a taste of what’s to come over the next year, and now we’re excited to bring festivals, carnivals, fairs, exhibitions, performances, volunteering opportunities and more for everyone to enjoy. Culture has the power to bring people together, get us active, boost our wellbeing and help our towns and places to regenerate and thrive.

“Our hope is that, by the end of the Year of Culture, more people than ever before will be empowered to get involved in the culture that makes Calderdale so distinctive, and which is a key part of our Vision 2024 for the borough.”

The Council has raised around £2 million from external grant support to fund CultureDale, including contributions from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The local creative organisations delivering big projects and events as part of the Year of Culture are:

Mr Wilson’s

Hebden Bridge Arts

Northern Rascals


Everybody Arts

Curious Motion


Happy Valley Pride

Hebden Bridge Film Festival

Handmade Parade

Northern Broadsides

Many other creative and community organisations across Calderdale are also holding events and celebrations for CultureDale, and the Council is providing support through grant schemes.

Events will include a community festival at People’s Park in Halifax, a children’s and families’ creative roadshow, a Youth Music Takeover, community-led performances – even on a canal boat – a creative writing festival, an arts and health festival, a film competition, and lots more to be announced.