The city comes alive after a long winter

The Awakening

The next Awakening will take place
22 - 23 March 2025

‘Like a tide of water in the sky, fire and magic below’

The Hull Story

A welcome addition to Hull’s cultural calendar, The Awakening is Freedom Festival Arts Trust’s new festival, drawing on themes of Hull's maritime identity, folklore, and mythology

The festival purposefully takes place in March, as close to the Spring Equinox as possible, to create a narrative of the city’s communities moving from Winter to Spring, and to become a new tradition for the city curated as a mischievous, playful, accessible, and very creative event. The festival welcomes people to the city centre, to experience a magical blend of ancient traditions brought to life by atmospheric light installations, sculptures, and theatrical street performances.

In 2022 the first edition of The Awakening took place, as we all moved away from lockdown and restrictions, welcoming nearly 100,000 people back to the streets of the city centre to experience the magic of a Winter festival steeped in folklore and tradition.

The second edition in 2023 built on 2022’s success. With more installations and street performances, and drawing bigger crowds to the city, The Awakening is certainly cemented as one of the must-see events of the year.

2022 Gallery
2023 Gallery

The Awakening 2023 is a finalist for Remarkable Tourist Event of the Year at the REYTAs.


"Events like The Awakening are more important than ever - with the national and global crises, it's vital that the city can come together, enjoy and be inspired by something more than day-to-day life."

"It was wonderful. It's a fabulous reason to visit Hull and see the old town in all its glory. Thoroughly enjoyed being a part of something so special."

"More of the same please, the whole event was very good."

"I thought it was wonderful to see everyone out enjoying themselves. I was pleased with the atmosphere, it felt safe and friendly."

"Thank you! It's rare we can afford to go anywhere with our family these days, and finding things that our older children will attend is hard"

"Fabulous to see such events happening in the City. Great to get families out together to enjoy the event. Queens Gardens looked magical!"

The event has been supported by generous support from Hull City Council in 2022, VHEY, HCAL’s HYMC project fund, from central government’s Welcome Back Fund (2021/22) and UK Shared Prosperity Funding (2023) and the Global Streets network.

As we plan ahead, we are looking for supporters and funders to help us make this event sustainable for the long term if you are interested, please contact Kathryn Biggin –