Your Town Centre after lockdown eased from 15th June

Major street art festival coming to Rochdale

A Rochdale-born internationally renowned mural artist who has worked all over the globe is coming back to her hometown to paint one of the most iconic buildings in the town centre as part of the borough’s on going £400m regeneration programme.

Hayley Garner and Joy Gilleard, otherwise known as the mural artist duo, Nomad Clan, have painted all over the world, from New York and Mexico to Poland, Iceland and Sweden, but Hayley reckons painting a mural in her hometown will be one of her best jobs yet.

Nomad Clan, who in 2017 created the UK’s tallest mural in Leeds, will be painting the side of the historic Regal Moon pub and former cinema with a mural which will give a nod to Rochdale’s great industrial past. It is part of a major street art festival, the first to ever take place in Rochdale, which will see mural artists from the UK and around the world paint 12 walls across the town centre.

The mural painting, which is part funded by the council and supported by Rochdale BID, will start in the next few days, with Nomad Clan set to paint first. Hannah Howard ‘Cookie’ will then start working on the former Kenion Street music studios, which famously played host to Joy Division, while at the other end of town Tasha Whittle will be painting a wall at the Rochdale Pioneers museum. A series of free art events where people will get the chance to meet the artists and take part in activities will then take place over Bank Holiday weekend (23-26 August). These include paint jams, mural tours and screen printing sessions.

The festival is part of Rochdale town centre’s on going £400m regeneration programme, which has included the creation of the new council office, customer service centre and central library, Number One Riverside, the multi-award winning river re-opening project and the retail and leisure development, Rochdale Riverside, which will open in spring 2020. It will complement the next phase of regeneration which will focus on public realm and enhancing the borough’s unrivalled heritage offer, alongside a town centre residential strategy.

Other top artists, including The London Police, Philth, Curtis Hylton, Tankpetrol, Lei-mai, Penfold and more will all be taking part, with the following key areas set to be transformed:

1. Regal Moon
2. Waterside House
3. Marks & Spencer (two murals)
4. 48 Drake Street
5. Kenion Street recording studios
6. Max Spielmann, The Walk
7. Fishwicks Newsagents, The Walk
8. Pioneers Museum
9. Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre
10. Champness Hall
11. The Baum Ginnel

Hayley, whose grandma owned a wool shop in Rochdale and whose family still live in the borough, said: “Our mural will celebrate the major role that Rochdale played on the world stage through the textile industry and as part of that we’ll be highlighting women, who were often the backbone of it. I’ve wanted to get my hands on the Regal Moon for years, so I was really excited when the council approached me about doing a street art festival here.”

Joy added: “I’m from Huddersfield and both of us had relatives who worked in the mills and mines etc. It’s often forgotten what a major role these places played in the growth of Britain and its wealth. But this work is also about looking to the future and focussing on how these towns are moving forward and harnessing creativity as part of that.”

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “This event, a first for Rochdale, will be a stunning visual celebration of our town, its fantastic past and its exciting future, which will stay in place for years to come. The artists have been given free rein and I’m really excited to see what they will create. Art can have a transformative effect on communities and raise aspirations and I know that it will really feed people’s imaginations and get them thinking about why Rochdale and its people are so special."

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The power of heritage, culture and public realm in driving regeneration is well known and we’ve already seen what it can achieve in our multi-award winning river re-opening project. This festival, which is unlike anything we’ve done before, will go hand in hand with our town hall restoration project and Heritage Action Zone programme to transform our public realm and historic buildings as we continue to set new standards for Rochdale town centre.”

For more information about the mural festival and activities over Bank Holiday weekend, please visit:

16 Aug 2019