A crowdfunding campaign is being launched to bring back Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival in 2023.

Organisers have teamed up with crowdfunding platform Spacehive and Kirklees Council’s Growing Great Places to raise funds in a new way to allow the festival to return for the first time since 2017. The fundraising target is £29,000.

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 money needed. Kirklees Council is also supporting the scheme with staff and financial help.

Moonraking is a community-based celebration of creativity, crafts and storytelling which celebrates a popular legend. Smugglers were said to hide illegal barrels of rum under the canal bridge and came to fish them out of the water under the light of the full moon. When spotted by the authorities they claimed to be “moonraking” the reflection in the water!

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.

Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival

Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival has been running since 1985. Due to funding cuts and Covid-19, the festival has been unable to take place since 2017.

During the pandemic, 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.

READ MORE: How Slaithwaite got creative for the Moonshine Festival

The festival is asking individuals to donate anything from £2 to whatever they can afford. The more people who 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 July 22 2022 to reach our fundraising target. Let’s rake the moon in 2023! Please donate and help to spread the word!”

To donate go to spacehive.com/slaithwaite-moonraking-festival-2023.