Slaithwaite Moonraking is back!

Whether you’ve lived here all your life, or just moved in, come and get involved in one of the region’s leading winter festivals.

11th-18th February 2023

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Moonraking Lantern Finale

Saturday 18th February from 6pm

The BIG event of the festival. Carr Lane in the centre of Slaithwaite will be closed to traffic as it comes alive with street music, and the lanterns begin to gather. At 6.30 the Slaithwaite Moon will be raked from the canal and will lead the procession of water-themed sculptural lanterns around the village with a variety of street bands to add to the magic. This is a FREE event, but we will be collecting donations towards the next Moonraking so please bring some cash!! The procession finishes at approx. 8pm when there will be After Parties in many venues throughout the village.

Audio description:

Watch out for...

Fettle and Fable – ‘Eek!’ a walkabout shadow theatre performance from The Usherette, featuring mice, mischief and mayhem as we follow our dreams and reach for the moon!

Flat Cap Brass Band – infectious, energetic, fun, friendly, brass band from the heart of Yorkshire, wearing their trademarked flat caps!

The Peace Artistes – fabulous ever popular West Yorkshire street band “rocking with rhythm and pulsating with passion!” folk, jazz and world music.

Boom Bikes – The Astounding BoomBike Sound System takes entertainment to the audience – up close and personal.  Good Vibes Everywhere!

Banda Na Rua – Samba but not as you know it!  Blending world music, funk, drum ‘n bass.  Head turning, foot-tapping sound that makes you want to dance!  Accompanied by local percussionists from the music workshops.

Handmade Samba Band – Led by amazing percussionist Mitch Oldham, the Handmade Samba Band was founded in early 2009 to be the house band of the Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade and beyond!

Musica Band – Musica Colne Valley Intermediate and Senior Wind Bands have been working with renowned Street Band Leader,  Paedar Long. Young musicians are to play their first ever carnival parade for the Moonraking grand finale.

Far Cry Acapella – Acapella group singing harmony songs from different cultures and traditions in a mix of songs inspired by the moon and the festival theme of water. Singing on corners and under bridges around the procession route!

Switch on Drama Youth Theatre – catch two different groups of local young people performing excellent Moonraking Mummers and The Duck Squad with costumes created by members of the HabDab Club.


Niamh Stacey – poi spinner

Lancaster University Light spinners – illuminated circus treats

Trans-Mutation’s – Giant Sea dragon and roving Angler Fish illuminated puppets

Neptune – illuminated puppet by Harriet Dyson 

Giant Kraken lantern installation – designed by Alan Scully and made by local school children and Be More Outdoors installed opposite the Shoulder of Mutton.

Floating Lanterns – Mermaid by Frances Noon Lantern Barge by The Watershed Holiday Club and the Moonraking Vintage Frog

The Raise the Moon Soundtrack –  featuring contributors Colne Valley Musica Strings, Banda Nua Samba, Colne Valley Boys’ Choir, Xylosound, Jess Baker and the Watershed Singers.  Mixed and mastered by Noah Burton of Under Wraps Music.

Fire Effects – from Optimum Fireworks 

Window pictures –  houses and businesses along the procession route have made illuminated window pictures inspired by our Moonshine Festival.  Thanks to Globe Arts Studio and Slaithwaite Library for running workshops.

Banda Na Rua

Flat Cap Brass Band

Boom bikes

Handmade Samba Band

Fettle and Fable

The Peace Artistes

The Moonraking Map


The Watershed: 22, Bridge Street, Slaithwaite HD7 5JN

Slaithwaite Community Centre: Bankgate, Slaithwaite HD7 5XE

Create Space: Globe Arts Studio, New Street, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5AG


If you’re local, consider coming to the sessions on foot – make an expedition of it!  

We have public transport information on our website.

Joining us from further afield – Slaithwaite train station
is a 5 minute walk to The Watershed, on the line from Manchester, Huddersfield and Leeds.

There are a few local buses that drop down into Slaithwaite from Huddersfield and down and across the valleys, Popular bus routes are: 394, 184. Other services include: 181, 183, 185, 395. 

New Street Car park offers all day free parking and Aldi car park allows 3 hours free parking. Parking on Bridge Street is limited. 

Festival Week

Lantern Workshops Saturday 11th – Thursday 16th February at The Watershed.

Sculptural lanterns are made from a framework of willow covered with tissue paper, soaked in glue and lit by candles. The lanterns are suspended on bamboo poles to be carried on the Saturday procession. The lantern can take any form representing the theme Water.

Cost – £3.00 per person per session. Under 5’s Free Under 13’s must be accompanied by an adult.

Important Imformation

  • A simple lantern could be made easily in 2 sessions, but a more complex lantern may take 3 or 4 sessions. All materials are provided.
  • There will be special help for beginners at all workshops (except 1.30pm on Thursday). Remember to bring your secateurs! 
  • Lanterns will need to be transported home when you have completed them and brought along to the procession on Saturday the 18th of February. 
  • Refreshments will be available to buy at the workshops.


We have a limit of 60 people in each workshop.
To book your workshop slots please visit our Sum Up Shop.

Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival


We are very excited to be able to create another Moonraking Lantern Festival, our first since 2017! The festival theme is Water and the festival week will be jam packed with workshop opportunities for you to make your own willow and tissue paper lantern. You can then be part of our festival finale and join us in the raking of our giant lantern moon from the canal and the spectacular lantern parade around the village on Saturday 18th February.

Over 200 lanterns have been made in sold out open access workshops, and sessions in community groups and schools.  There are some really imaginative creations which will amaze and delight. Giant raindrops, magnificent water creatures, giant cups of tea and a sprinkling of stunning moons and stars.  All made in Moonraking’s signature white for extra style.

The Tale of Moonraking

The 19th century legend tells of smugglers who were bringing barrels of illicit drink by boat along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal when they saw a constable approaching. To avoid arrest they pushed the barrels over the side of the boat. Later that night, under the light of the full moon they returned to retrieve the barrels, but this time were challenged by the constable as they were raking the water to get them in. They escaped arrest by pretending to be drunk and declaring that they were raking in the moon that had ‘fallen in the canal’, the reflection being clearly seen in the water.