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3rd February 2023

After an incredibly successful launch year in 2022, The Awakening is returning to Hull city centre on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 March 2023, with an additional gig on Sunday 19 March, illuminating the streets of the city centre once again.

Celebrating the change of seasons from winter to spring and our great city’s maritime identity, heritage, folklore and mythology, you are invited to explore the history-rich streets of the city centre from Queens Gardens, down Whitefriargate, across Trinity Square and up to Zebedee’s Yard. Experience magical and entertaining installation experiences as the sun sets into the evening.

With support from the Shared Prosperity Fund, HM Government Levelling Up Fund, Hull Maritime and the Heritage Action Zone, Freedom Festival Arts Trust are delighted to be working in partnership with Hull City Council to bring this event back to Hull city centre again in 2023.

Councillor Mike Ross, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “Last year’s event was a huge success. It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves, supporting the local economy and getting involved with the creative programme around the city centre and Old Town.

“We’re delighted to be able to bring The Awakening back for 2023 and collaborate with Freedom Festival Arts Trust again, bringing international artists to the city and creating something special for us all to celebrate the changing seasons and the city’s rich maritime heritage.”

Malachy Luckie for UNFURL

This free to attend event across two evenings brings opportunity to explore world-class installations and performances, with Hull’s historic areas lit up with giant figures and forms like you’ve never seen before. Venturing indoors, we also have musical offerings from local favourites including a special edition of Trinity Live in partnership with Trinity Market and Sesh Events.

Returning to Ferens Art Gallery, there will be another chance to catch the RE:SCORE films and a special live performance by Broken Orchestra in Ferens Art Gallery. Just like last year, whilst you’re exploring you can also expect city centre businesses to have their doors open later than usual offering food, drinks and entertainment.

Mikey Martins, Artistic Director of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, says,We are so excited to produce The Awakening again in 2023, we are working hard with our partners to establish this as an annual event on the city’s cultural calendar.

“We’ve designed a very family friendly event with something for everyone to enjoy, so we look forward to welcoming and seeing families of Hull enjoying the city centre and celebrating the changing of the seasons in our great maritime city.”

To close such a fantastic weekend, we have a ticketed gig at Social, Humber Street, from Hack-Poets Guild performing their album Blackletter Garland. This will be a folklore-rich, captivating evening from three of the UK’s most innovative and prestigious folk artists. Tickets are available for this gig on Freedom Festival Arts Trust’s website. Due to a limited capacity audiences are encouraged to book their tickets soon to avoid disappointment.

We are expecting a lively and eventful weekend with plenty to see, so join us back in the city centre for a weekend to remember to welcome in spring.

For updates on this event and more, visit and follow @FreedomFestHull and #AwakeningHull.