• Twitter icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Instagram icon
  • Youtube icon
Business Partners

Business Partners

Freedom Festival Arts Trust is an independent charitable organisation; the development and increasing success of the festival is made possible by a number of key supporters. Their investment, advice and confidence in Freedom ensures that the festival continues to grow into a world-class arts event. We thank them all for their contribution and support.

The University of Hull

Eclectic, vibrant and unique: Freedom Festival is a flagship event in Hull’s burgeoning cultural scene and the University of Hull is delighted to continue to sponsor this fantastic festival.

We have always been and will continue to be a keen supporter of creativity, arts and culture for our students and community. Sponsoring Freedom Festival is just one example of our commitment to be a cultural force within our region.

But more than that, the ethos of the festival in celebrating freedom in all its forms resonates strongly with us. Freedom Festival is brilliant at delivering fresh and unexpected activities and naturally, by delivering academic excellence and life-changing research, we promote the freedom to explore ideas and experience the new.

The freedom theme is also synonymous with the pioneering work of our Wilberforce Institute. Many may know that our city is the birthplace of freedom – Hull MP William Wilberforce pioneered the abolition of the slave trade in the 19th century – but many may not know the full extent of modern-day slavery that exists today. An estimated 35 million people are currently enslaved worldwide in an illegal trade worth £150 billion, more than at any point in history. The Wilberforce Institute has a global voice and impact and is one of the world’s leading research centres working towards the end of labour exploitation and slavery worldwide.
Together with Freedom Festival Arts Trust, we are proud to celebrate Hull’s independent spirit.

Find out more


As Hull and East Yorkshire’s leading communications provider, KCOM has been helping to bring people together for more than a century.

Since starting out with its very first telephone exchange in Wincolmlee in 1904, KCOM has been at the heart of Hull and today stands as a symbol of the city’s independent spirit and uniqueness.

It is only in Hull that you will find the cream telephone boxes that mark the city out as a place that likes to do things a little differently.

That’s why KCOM continues to be a proud sponsor of Freedom, an amazing celebration of Hull’s history, heritage and creativity that is undeniably one of the highlights of our cultural calendar.

And in this UK City of Culture year, KCOM is prouder than ever to be backing Freedom as it builds on the fantastic work already done throughout 2017 of reintroducing Hull to the world as a vibrant, optimistic and fun place to be.

Hull is also a place enjoying an economic as well as cultural renaissance.

KCOM is playing an important role in this by rolling out its world leading ultrafast broadband fibre network; investing £60m across Hull and East Yorkshire to make the region ready for the 21st century.

Now Hull is rapidly becoming one of the UK’s burgeoning digital hotspots as it reinvents itself as the place to be for green industry and tech sector business, ensuring it will enjoy a bright and prosperous future for the next century.

Find out more

Smith & Nephew

We’re delighted to welcome a new friend to the Freedom family.

Global medical technology business Smith & Nephew has announced its support of Freedom Festival as a Business Partner after witnessing a remarkable transformation in the region.

As a company with its roots deeply embedded in the city, with a history dating back over 160 years to the family enterprise of Thomas James Smith, who opened a small pharmacy in Hull in 1856, today Smith & Nephew works across 100 countries, employing around 15,000 people. 

As a major employer in Hull, Smith & Nephew are proud and excited to partner with Freedom Festival Arts Trust, contributing to the continuing positive change across the city. 

Find out more

Wykeland Group

“Wykeland Group is proud to be a long-standing business partner of Freedom Festival Arts Trust and to have supported the development of the Freedom Festival as Hull’s premier artistic and cultural event.

Our support for the Freedom Festival reflects our deep commitment to culture and the arts and to the vital part they play in the development of successful and sustainable communities. We believe that lasting regeneration can only be delivered when physical change and economic investment are allied to cultural and social development. After all, regeneration is not about buildings; it’s all about people.

As well as supporting the Freedom Festival, we have sponsored many local arts and cultural groups and initiatives and were the first of the business ‘angels’ who backed Hull’s bid to be UK City of Culture.

We believe in the power of culture and the arts to raise aspirations and ambition, bring people and communities together and stimulate the economy. We have seen that in Hull where the success of events such as Freedom Festival have played a critical role in securing City of Culture status which has, in turn, been the catalyst for tens of millions of pounds of public and private sector investment in the city’s infrastructure and facilities.

As a Major Partner of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 we are supporting the delivery of a year-long celebration of the city’s rich and diverse cultural credentials and helping to bring amazing artistic events to local audiences. This investment includes creating Stage @TheDock, the city’s only new permanent venue for 2017, and we have forged an exciting partnership with the Freedom Festival Arts Trust to realise the full potential of this great new cultural asset.

We are proud to continue to support the Freedom Festival in 2016  and we look forward to Stage @TheDock becoming a regular venue for the festival and many other cultural events in the lead up to 2017, during the City of Culture year and long beyond.”

Dominic Gibbons

Managing Director

Find out more