Freedom Festival is the lasting legacy of the Wilberforce 2007 campaign, which celebrated the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade, led by Hull-born MP William Wilberforce in 1807. 200 years after the Slave Trade Act was passed, Hull was at the centre of global celebrations to remember the life and work of our city’s most famous son.

Numerous events and activities were held in Hull and around the world in 2007, highlighting issues of slavery and emancipation that are still hugely relevant today. Afterwards, it was agreed that a one-off anniversary event wasn’t enough; that Wilberforce’s legacy needed to be celebrated in Hull every year. Freedom Festival was born in 2008, and has been the flagship event in Hull’s growing cultural landscape ever since, attracting more people each year.

For us, it is crucial that ‘Freedom’ is more than just a name, and that the festival always represents and explores concepts of freedom through our programme. (Find out more about our vision here.)