So Many Festivals, So Little Time

There is so much happening in Manchester this month that I’m struggling to keep up. I want to sample a bit of everything but the quantity and variety available is overwhelming.

I’ve already written about the Manchester International Festival, but what about the ‘Not Part Of’ festival and the ‘Not Part of the Not Part Of’ festival, (I’m not kidding) and all the other festivals, activities and shows this month?

I can’t go to everything, as much as I might want to, so I’ve picked out a few events for my diary and I hope to stumble across others as the days go by.

NOT PART OF – 30th June to 16th JulyNot Part of The Festival Guide

First up is MIFs unofficial fringe festival: Not Part Of. They have more than 150 events at 48 venues over 17 days. There are performances / installations / photography / pub quizzes / stand ups / workshops / too many things to mention, happening in the street, in bars, in theatres, in cafes, in parks etc. Basically there’s stuff happening virtually everywhere so keep your eyes peeled.

My understanding is that the ‘Not Part Of’ festival is pretty much a creative and artistic free-for-all. The organisers don’t pick who will be involved – they offer guidance and support, but pretty much if you have an idea and the tenacity to pull it off the organisers let you run with it. Therefore ‘Not Part Of’ is the most diverse and inclusive festival imaginable. Check out the events listing, pick up a leaflet, plan your visits or stumble across them – just don’t rely on me to fill you in because my head is swimming.

ART CRAWL – 2nd to 16th July

That said I am planning to go along to the Art Crawl as part of Not Part Of. (As well as several other things I’ve circled in the brochure). Beginning at The Triangle there’s sort of a treasure hunt all over the city centre. You pick up a map at the first location and follow the numbers to different exhibits and instillations inside and outside various venues. I probably won’t visit EVERY location but once you have the map it’s the kind of thing you can dip in and out of over several days.

24:7 THEATRE FESTIVAL – 21st to 29th July24:7 Theatre Festival

Next up is the 24:7 Theatre Festival. It’s called 24:7 because it starts on 24:7, get it? I didn’t. The Executive Producer himself had to point that out to me, after we’d finished running away from aliens at MIFs Doctor Who. (Hi David, if you’re reading this! See you at Sherica!) Of course, as it ACTUALLY starts on the 21st July this year and not on the 24th as it has previously I think I can be forgiven, right?

There are 13 shows at non-theatre venues around the city centre and at £8 per ticket I think these are a bargain. The ones on my shortlist are ‘I Know Where the Dead Are Buried‘, ‘Sherica’ and ‘The Crimson Retribution’.

24:7 don’t just have theatre productions they have workshops too, not that I’ll be joining in. My method acting (ahem) as a 12 year old for MIFs Doctor Who is as far as my acting abilities can stretch.

AND THE REST… If none of the above takes your fancy how about these:

FLARE THEATRE FESTIVAL – 4th to 10th July 

24 performances over 7 days, plus discussion panels and workshops at Contact Theatre, MMU Capitol Theatre, MMU and the Zion Arts Centre. Tickets start from £3 each.

LASSFEST – 1st July to 1st August

Lass O’Gowrie have created their own ‘one-venue’ fringe by offering 158 events across theatre, film, comedy, music, literature and visual arts.


If you missed the Real Ale festival at the MOSI earlier this year then here’s another chance to sample some excellent ale, cider and perries.

JAZZ FESTIVAL – (MIF) 22nd to 30th July

There are typically around 400 musicians, doing 70-80 events at 7-10 venues. Some of the events are free in addition to all the free shows at MIF Festival Pavilion.

SUNDAE FESTIVAL IN THE PARK – 23rd and 24th July

Several live bands are performing each day at Heaton Park along with unlimited free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, plus silly activities for all ages.


Islington Wharf is again being transformed into ‘Little Italy’ for the annual one day Italian Ice Cream Festival.

SCREENFIELDS – Weekly until 1st September

Manchester’s open air cinema at Spinningfields has weekly film screenings every Thursday at 8.30pm.

Don’t you just love living in Manchester? I do.

Have I missed anything out? Are you planning to go to any of the events? Are you organising or participating at any? (Shameless self promotion for your events is welcome here! :-p)

Have you stumbled across something and didn’t know which festival it was part of? Tell me what you’ve seen or where you’re going. I’d love to hear what other people think about all the events.


5 thoughts on “So Many Festivals, So Little Time

  1. Some of the stuff I can’t make, and the rest seemed decidedly theatrical, but I’ve read it too fast, I shall go back and look again. Was in one of the ‘not part of’ venues on Tuesday, the Nexus art cafe on Dale Street, have you been in? Nothing on whilst I was in there, but I follow someone on who just got a residency and you can go and watch her do art in her studio. Very cool location. Did you see Manchester came higher rated than London in the Economist global survey, based on safety, stability and stuff happening. 😉 no surprises.

    • I did focus a lot on the theatrical element didn’t I? That wasn’t intentional. There are arty workshops and photography tutorials happening in various locations as well. Plus there are several art and photography exhibitions, I think. I don’t have the details to hand.

      Heaton Park has a photography exhibition at the moment (ends Saturday) for the Not Part of Festival. They are promoting their ‘Heaton Park Photo Walks Group’ who meet up each month to work on new themes.

      I’m a big fan of Heaton Park. They also have drawing courses, mosaic courses and creative textile art courses. The organisers don’t have anything to do with the festivals – they’re just very community orientated. I like that. 🙂

      I very nearly wandered into Nexus art café last week. I was drawn in by the Not Part Of poster by the door. I didn’t have my wallet with me so I didn’t make it down the steps.

      I didn’t know about the Economist global survey result. Yay! Go Manchester!

    • Hi, thanks for the comment. I missed the Ice Cream Festival again. Maybe next year… (That’s what I said last year too).

      I didn’t really know much about The Day We Sang until I read the review in this morning’s Metro newspaper. I know it’s the story of some of the children from the Manchester Children’s Choir who sang on the famous recording of ‘Nymphs and Shepherds,’ but as I hadn’t heard of Nymphs and Shepherds before it still doesn’t mean a great deal to me. I guess that makes me pretty rubbish. 🙂

      Will you be reviewing it on your blog? If so, feel free to leave a link in the comments here.

  2. Pingback: Culture Cramming Challenge | Manchester Meanders

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