First Festival of Manchester

Manchester will be seeing off the summer in style this weekend with the first ever Festival of Manchester – a fantastic free celebration for all the family.

For one day only the Festival of Manchester takes over Platt Fields Park for an action-packed programme of family-friendly cultural activities and performances, from midday until well after sunset this Saturday 1st September.

Community groups across the city are getting ready to join in and play their part in the Festival, to help showcase the very best of Manchester.

More than sixty different community groups are taking part in the Festival – with each of them set to show off their own culture and traditions in an amazing carnival of culture, colour and creativity.

One of the many community groups taking part is Manchester Malayalee Association – a community organisation made up of people from Kerala in India. The organisation aims to preserve and maintain the culture and traditions of Kerala.

For the Festival of Manchester the organisation will be bringing their unmissable drum ensemble, the Chenda Melam, to demonstrate their very own unique traditional art of drumming, Keralan style.

Anish Kurien, Trustee of Manchester Malayalee Association Charity, said: “As an association of local people from Kerala it feels really important for us to take part in the festival. Events like this help the community as a whole come together and help us understand each other and other people’s cultures better. They also help migrant communities like ours get to know other people and integrate into the wider community.

“We’re really looking forward to taking part and showing people something from our culture that they may not have come across before.”

As well as the chance to enjoy some stunning performances from local community groups representing cultures from around the globe, there will also be a non-stop programme of other fun activities and free things to do.

With 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, there will be something for everyone.

No festival would of course be complete without a grand finale finish – and the Festival of Manchester promises to finish in spectacular style with an amazing show on the lake in the middle of the park. ‘Swan Song’ has been specially created for the festival by Walk the Plank and features the proudest of peacocks and the most elegant of swans, who together will create a fleeting moment of fiery magic on the lake.

During the day families can work with an expert ‘peacock maker’ in the Arts and Crafts marquee to create fantastic tail feathers for the peacock to ensure he’s looking his very best for his evening encounter with the Swan.

Return to the lake at 8:15pm, as dusk falls, to hear the peacock calling. See if you can catch the fleeting moment when the swan and the peacock join each other in a magical encounter on the lake featuring live music, fire, a giant illuminated swan and the most handsome peacock in the park.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure, Manchester City Council, said: “The festival is going to be fantastic – the perfect way to round off the summer before everyone goes back to school. The whole day is jam-packed with non-stop activities – and all free. It’s an unmissable chance to celebrate all the many different cultures and traditions that make up our city and help to make it so amazing, so come down, get involved, and enjoy the day!”

For more information: