Darwen’s Adidas Spezial exhibition is set to start this week and we have all the details you need to know about the free event.

The free exhibition, "DECADE – 10 years of Adidas Spezial", will take place over 10 days from May 17, in Market Street.

As well as a performance from Shaun Ryder’s group Black Grape the event will also feature a limited edition shoe launch.

The exhibition will feature the Adidas Spezial footwear archive and highlights from the 10 years of apparel collections.

Darwen-born Spezial curator, Gary Aspden, said: “Hosting the DECADE exhibition here in Darwen is a way of putting something back into the community where I grew up.

Some may question why we would choose to do an exhibition like this in a relatively small town rather than amongst the cultural hub of a major city.

"There are post-industrial towns like Blackburn with Darwen all over the UK and I guess the ambition is to demonstrate what can be possible in towns like this with a bit of investment and imagination.

This new exhibition will once again attract thousands of people to Blackburn with Darwen and we’re looking forward to running it over the same weekend as Darwen Live – the largest free music festival in the country.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the Darwen Adidas Spezial exhibition:

When is it and where is it being held?

DECADE – 10 years of Adidas Spezial will take place over 10 days, from May 17 until May 26.

It will be held at 14 Market Street, Darwen, BB3 1AZ.  

Which musicians are performing?

Shaun Ryder, from Little Hulton, known as a vocalist for the Happy Mondays, and his band Black Grape are set to perform at Level One nightclub, on Market Street, on May 17.

There is also set to be a DJ set, featuring Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield from The Stone Roses and Primal Scream.

Stereo MCs, a hip-hop and electronic dance group, will perform at Level One on Saturday, May 18.

To further celebrate SPZL's 10th anniversary year, there will be intimate headline performances from Shaun Ryder’s Black Grape with a DJ set from Mani (The Stone Roses) on Friday, May 17, and Stereo MC’s on Saturday 18 at neighbouring venue Level 1. 

When can I get a pair of limited-edition shoes?

On Friday, May 24, a special release of the Blackburn Spezial DECADE pack X Nightsafe edition shoe will launch exclusively at the exhibition, raising funds for Nightsafe, a charity that works with young people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness in the borough.



Limited to only 100 pairs, the trainer features a unique red leather swing tag and Nightsafe branded sock liner.

The limited edition shoe is part of the new DECADE pack, a celebratory drop that features four updated shoes from the Adidas Spezial archive.

What else can I expect from the exhibition?

Featuring the complete Adidas Spezial footwear archive and highlights from the 10 years of apparel collections.

This retrospective exhibition will showcase vintage design references, unseen samples, technical drawings, signed footwear and a large selection of rare Adidas Spezial artefacts. 

Blunt Shank, a bespoke Shoemaker, designer and restorer will be hosting a five-day educational program for local students in partnership with Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, which celebrates its 150th anniversary in June.

On May 22, there will be an intimate screening of past Adidas Spezial films followed by a question and answer session with the curator of the range Gary Aspden and Spezial film director Nick Griffiths, founder of London-based creative practice &SON, at the Darwen Library Theatre.  

Admission to the exhibition is free, but donations to Nightsafe are encouraged.