It’s pretty normal for Piccadilly Gardens to attract negative attention. And this week is no different, as locals remain baffled over the city centre park’s newest installation: a shipping container complex.
Working to emulate the success of London’s Boxpark and Manchester’s very own Hatch, Piccadilly Gardens is set to host a Women’s EURO 2022 event space, providing a central, dedicated location for footy fans to watch all the action. Currently in the construction phase, the new pop-up consists of numerous shipping containers stacked on top of one another, taking centre-stage within Piccadilly Gardens. And while locals are slating the idea already, Councillors insist that hosting events in the space helps to reduce anti-social behaviour.
Set to be covered in plants and transformed into a rust colour for the pop-up Fan Festival, the events complex will host a big screen which will show the Women’s EURO 2022 games, alongside bars and street food pop-ups which can be enjoyed until the end of July.
Manchester will mark one of 9 host cities, offering not only the ‘Fan Festival’ pop-up within Piccadilly Gardens, but free live entertainment, too.
The tournament is set to kick-off at Old Trafford on July 6th, which is when the Fan Festival will officially open. The pop-up will open daily from 11am – 4pm each day until 31st July.
Locals have taken to Twitter already to express their thoughts on the pop-up, criticising it for its current appearance – which still could change as organisers finalise the space. Some called it the ‘armpit’ of Manchester, while others were surprised that Piccadilly Gardens had managed to become even less attractive.
Councillor John Hacking, Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure for Manchester City Council, said: “We are currently working to develop the event space in Piccadilly Gardens ahead of the UEFA Women’s Euros that begins in July.
“This will include a big screen area, food and drink traders and public space to create an official fan area. The beginning of the build is now visible at the event space in the Gardens and will undergo planting and dressing ahead of the Euros competition. There is then the potential for the event structure to be retained for the events programme that is being developed for the coming months, including Christmas this year. This could include a performance space, community area, children’s activities and more.
“Using the Piccadilly Gardens space positively through activity and events is already reducing some of the more problematic anti-social behaviour in the area.”
UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Tournament Director, Chris Bryant said: “Showtime is almost upon us. UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 will be a landmark, ground-breaking tournament in so many ways and not just for the fantastic football on the pitch.
“All of our host cities are planning events before, during and after games. Whether you are a diehard football fan or just looking to enjoy your first tournament, we want everyone to share in the momentum of this event. There will be concerts, exhibitions, fan parties, match screenings, workshops and much more.”
The first match takes place today, July 6th, at 6.30pm, and you can find out more about the Fan Festival events programme here.