Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
11:16 AM 27th April 2022

Bringing Back Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival In 2023

Slaithwaite locals are rallying together in exciting new ways to raise funds to bring back their extra-ordinary community lantern Festival.

A new crowdfunding campaign launches this week to allow new generations to experience the joy of making willow lanterns and the magic of joining in with the spectacular Moonraker finale in the West Yorkshire village of Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield.

Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival organisers have launched a brand new partnership with the most successful crowdfunding platform in the UK, Spacehive and Kirklees Council’s Growing Great Places to raise funds in a new way to bring back the festival in 2023.

As a registered charity, working with Spacehive, the festival can pool individual donations, business sponsorship, group fundraising, gift aid and grants from trusts and foundations to raise the funds to bring back the Festival for the first time since 2017.Kirklees Council are also generously supporting the scheme with staff and financial help.

Moonraking is a community-based celebration of creativity, crafts and storytelling which celebrates a popular legend. During February half term every two years, families and local groups join together to create wonderful willow lanterns, which are lit to form a stunning procession of lanterns which parade around the village with music and street performances. Events attract thousands of visitors to the village, boosts business for local traders and attracts national media attention.

The Moonraking Festival has been running since 1985, by Satellite Arts and Slaithwaite Community Association and is now a charity in its own right. Due to funding cuts and covid 19, the festival has been unable to take place since 2017.

Festival volunteers - photo credit Chris Chinnock
Festival volunteers - photo credit Chris Chinnock
During the pandemic, for two years the festival ran a “Moonshine” Festival of illuminated window pictures, which lifted community spirit hugely during lockdown, showcased the creativity of local people and got the village featured on ITV and BBC local news.Locals have enjoyed this so much, they have asked for their lantern festival to return in 2023.

The festival is asking individuals to donate anything from £2 to whatever they can afford.The more people that can show their support, the more funds that the festival can raise from outside the village to make it happen. The festival is also asking community groups and businesses to consider mounting fundraising activities to contribute to the campaign and any businesses and local organisations to get in touch who may be interested in sponsorship of events. Money that is raised locally will then be matched by external funds.

Festival director Gill Bond said:
“We’d love to see some really imaginative fundraising efforts locally – the more fun the better! Perhaps you could run a sponsored activity, collection or challenge, run a school non-uniform day, sell a special item in your shop or restaurant to raise money for the festival?Please share your news and your photos with us and we’ll do everything we can to spread the word about you on our social media.

"Every penny raised will go back into our local economy – supporting local creative practitioners, schools and community groups, local businesses and suppliers.
We have until 22nd July 2022 to reach our fundraising target.Let’s rake the moon in 2023!!!

"Please donate and help to spread the word!”

Head over to to donate and to find out more or scan the QR code below with a mobile phone.

You are also invited to join in with fundraising events that will link into the crowdfunding campaign. A musical evening Moonlight on the Water at the Watershed on Bridge Street on Saturday 14th May at 7.30pm and a Moonraker’s Ceilidh dance at Slaithwaite Civic Hall on Saturday 9th July at 7.30pm. Tickets available on the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival Facebook page

More information about Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival at
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