Arts Derbyshire


New Mills Festival; Family Fun and Free Events first ten days

There were so many events for free and family throughout the two week New Mills festival that this newsletter is the first of two. In this one the first two weekends and the first week events are covered. There’ll be a follow up in coming weeks to guide you through week two.

Please join me for a virtual stroll around New Mills! I’m armed with the internet, with information at my fingertips from New Mills Festival website, Facebook, and Insta

I also have the paper brochure! Popped into town yesterday, and there in The Cheese Wheel, on the counter was the last of their brochures (don’t panic, they were requesting more). The brochure is free, and I can see my booklet getting pretty dog eared by the end of September. It’s a smashing quick and easy reference.

Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the first ten days of New Mills Festival

On 9th September at 7pm is the opening night of Leuud, Idle, Froward, and Vnconstant, Family Group Art Exhibition within a domestic environment. More information available from

First weekend (10th and 11th)

The following are free of charge.

On either Saturday or Sunday afternoons, take the family to the disused phone box on Park Road (SK22 4NZ). It’s not a traditional New Mills Festival location, but this isn’t a traditional event. Suitable for children between 3 and 6 (accompanied by an adult) there will be a story teller at 2pm, 2:30pm, 3pm and 4pm on both days, reading a children’s space story. The phone box will be transformed by the Woolly Wanderers yarn bombers into a space rocket. Small characters from the story have been created for the kids to spot. Bring your favourite books with you, maybe another family would like to read them.

Sunday morning at 11:30am we have “Light Within” at Spring Bank Arts Centre, a free short dance performance to celebrate the creation of two pieces of illuminated sculpture. Project eARTh participants have used 35mm negatives to create sculptures on themes of hope and optimism. Refreshments available.

After lunch on Sunday, meander down to the Old Heritage Centre, Rock Mill Lane for 2pm for Millers Milling – a free event as part of Home Farm New Mills where you can learn to thresh and mill by hand. If you’ve been growing your wheat, bring it along!

Sunday at 3pm there’s a concert for Trumpet and Organ at Providence Church, Mellor Road, all kinds of music from the theatrical Baroque to Giant Screen. Refreshments available.

First week editor’s picks

Worm Safari! The start time suggests this might be one for the grown ups – 10:30pm from the Beer Shed Tuesday 13th September and Wednsday 14th September. Are you brave enough?

I’m hoping to get to Mike Daniel’s History Event at The Shrub Club on Wednesday 14th September at 2pm, where he’ll be talking about the New Town, characters and landmarks.

There are two opportunities to take part in “Mush” – Weds 14th and Thurs 15th September. A participatory sensorial installation, lasting approximately 25 minutes with hourly starts from 2pm to 9pm. Feel sourdough, listen to bacteria. Part of the Bakery of Slow Ideas – free but you need to book your timeslot online at

The Eco Church lecture by Jane Kear at Providence Church 7:30pm Thursday 15 September Providence Church. How can we walk more lightly on the earth?

Rest and Rise Again on Friday 16th September 7:30pm, at the Old Heritage Centre, Rock Mill Lane, a short film and discussion This is part of The Bakery of Slow Ideas, capturing community resistance, resilience and hope for the future, being directed by Unfinished Business. Free but you need to book online at

Second weekend (17th and 18th)

Where it all starts to get just a little frantic!

I’m eyeing up the New Mills Mikkeller 5km run on Saturday 17th September. Why wouldn’t I kick off the weekend feeling virtuous. The run is at 1:30pm, followed by a free half pint (where my virtuous vibe fades). Their instagram gives a good idea of what’s involved

For a chilled day you may prefer The Bakery of Slow Ideas. It’s a day long session 10am to 4pm where you’ll get to make your own loaf of ancient grain sourdough bread (all ingredients provided). You’ll need to book online and pay a deposit (£5 refundable). A relaxed day of baking and chatting. There’s a two chances to do this – Saturday 17th or Sunday 18th September.

There’s also a chance to get down to the unserious business of making your lantern for the procession.

Sunday 18th the Festival of Choirs at St George’s Church where Evensong becomes something quite magnificent at 6:30pm with a collection of choirs (worrying whether collection is the right word for multiple choirs) singing together.

Nearby is Harvest Home Supper, celebrating harvest at St George’s Parish Hall form 7:30pm. Bringing food to share is encouraged – the straw bear (remember this from last year) will be in attendance, and there will be fresh bread and singing.

Available throughout New Mills Festival

There are a number of free sights you can visit any time during New Mills Festival:

NEWSFLASH: Letting the Light In: Reflections of Home is an exhibition featuring new and emerging artists from across the High Peak at Wiseheart and Wild (Market Street near the mini roundabout) – check for opening hours

Blooming New Mills – there is a flower trail around the windows of New Mills shops, cafes and businesses. Look carefully for the special blooms, see if you can find them all, and more challenging, name them all. Helpful answers on the Community noticeboard outside the old Heritage Centre in Rock Mill Lane if you need a hand. This event is put on by Rock Mill Lane.

Talking Space – for the duration of New Mills Festival, New Mills Woolly Wanderers are transforming the disused Park Road phone box using knitted and crochet creations. What was once a space to talk will be Talking Space. Explorers might find a spaceship, aliens and familiar characters from outer space all telling their stories.

You’re the star! Photography competition

Inspired by New Mills Festival, looking to capture memories on film, here’s your chance for your memories to become the town’s memories. New Mills & District Volunteer Centre is running a “Places and Spaces Photographic Competition”, with winning entries being included in the 2023 calendar (all proceeds from calendar sale go back to support the community). Submissions via



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