The life of Factory Records' legendary late founder Tony Wilson was remembered over the weekend with a 24-hour celebration featuring some of his best-known signings and friends.

The likes of comedian Steve Coogan, New Order's Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder, Creation Records founder Alan McGee, the Charlatans' singer Tim Burgess and author Irvine Welsh took part in a continuous live conversation and debate in Manchester.

Billed as "The Tony Wilson Experience," the 24-hour event ran from noon June 21, a format which tips a hat to Michael Winterbottom's 2002 feature film on Wilson, "24 Hour Party People."

The aim of the "Experience" was to inspire and encourage the next generation of creative talent, with topics discussed throughout the program including art versus commerce, entrepreneurialism and how to sustain a career in the music and arts industries.

Many of the guest speakers shared with attendees their personal memories of Wilson, who died in August 2007 after a long battle with cancer.

"Tony was like a doorway of opportunity to people," Peter Saville, founding partner in Factory and creative director behind The Tony Wilson Experience, told Billboard.biz. "Tony made himself available to the city and because he's gone too soon that conduit of opportunity that he was to people has been prematurely cut off. The point of this is to keep that open, even if it's just for a couple of days."

He continued, "I would not have pursued the career I had, had it not been for Tony and there's other people here today who have the same story. The point of this is to see if any of us can pass onto someone else that window of opportunity, optimism or belief in ourselves that he gave."

Explained a sanguine Hook, "To me, the most important thing is that the people that I've worked with for 30 years are here celebrating the guy that started it all. You never know what you've got 'till it's gone and Tony is one of the biggest examples of that that I've ever seen in my fucking life. It makes me happy coming here and it makes it easier to deal with."

When asked what he thought Wilson would have made of the event, which was held in a marquee outside Manchester's Urbis museum and relayed throughout the building, Hook told Billboard.biz, "I think he would have pissed himself and he probably is."