The free festival by Manchester people, for Manchester people, will return next weekend taking over the entire Platt Fields Park for one day only.
The Festival of Manchester will return for the second year on Saturday (August 31) and is expected to draw more than 10,000 people to the park from midday up to 9.30pm.
Following last summer’s inaugural event, this year’s festival will welcome 100 community groups – 75 completely new to this year – from across the city celebrating the rich diversity of the Manchester and the many different communities that live here.
The groups will represent a wide cross-section of talents and interests, from dance and food to science, sports and theatre – each of them set to show off their own culture and traditions in an amazing carnival of colour and creativity from around the globe.
There will also be a non-stop programme of live music, have-a-go workshops in dance, design, crafts, and sports, as well as walkabout theatre, mouth-watering street food, poetry slams and debates.
This year’s festival is divided into different areas of delight, intrigue and fun, including:
– Music and Dance – Split between the Main Stage and the Dance and Music Stage, here is a cornucopia of music from across the world – taking in hip hop, jazz, indie, choirs and everything in between.
– Play and Explore – The chance for visitors to have a go, including BMXing, African drumming, circus skills and team games.
– Laugh and Learn (new for 2019) – an area of contemplation, thought, laughter and discussion.
– Create and Make – making, doing and getting stuck in with science demonstrations, painting and load of other activities.
– Find out (new for 2019) – an area for local community organisations to set up stall and let Manchester find out more about what they do.
– Out and About – and finally a space for pop-up performances, walk about characters and quirky installations.
Look out for Ri Ri’s Dance Academy who will bring their Bollywood inspired performance to the Music and Dance Stage. Known for the energetic routines, the group hold a Guinness World Record for the most people dancing to a Bollywood routine at the same time – broken in 2011 at Platt Fields Park. Or for a different pace, perhaps the Manchester Morris Men – espousing the joys of Morris Dancing – may be more your scene?
Or give your brain a workout with the Space Shed – the spectacular mobile HQ of the Unlimited Space Agency – bringing inspirational stories about space and science to life. This year with a show “How to Save the Planet” in partnership with HOME.
Perhaps exploring the wonderful world of insects and garden critters with The Ugly Bug Market Garden might be for the budding entomologist among us, along with a host of games, activities and dancing.
And once again, as dusk falls, the vibe of a street party will fill the park, and outdoor arts company Walk the Plank – who wowed the crowds last year with their giant illuminated Swan and Peacock – will return with another enchanting evening spectacle finale on the lake.
This year they bring us the Manchester Music Box that celebrates the magic of pre-digital mechanical contraptions, but this one will only work when all of its various cogs and moving pieces have been put in place.
During the day festival-goers will be invited to create and build their own cogs to help make this music box spring back to life in the evening.
Only once the cogs are all in place, and as daylight fades, will the contents and magic of the box finally be revealed in a spectacular finale across the lake.
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Manchester City Council, said:
“The Festival of Manchester is the chance for every different community in the city to shine and show off the very best of themselves and their traditions. Whether that’s music, or dancing, or arts and crafts, different sports, or even food.
“The range of things to do, see and try is truly incredible – far more than anyone could do in just one day, with more than 26 hours of performances and 80 hours of arts and crafts on offer.
“It’s an unmissable opportunity for people to celebrate all the many different cultures that make up our city, and to experience the world in one day, right here in Manchester. Get involved! We look forward to seeing you there.”
Also published on Medium.