A colorful new center for the Manchester International Festival will welcome guests to the city later this week – with live music, regional food and drink and a stunning new setting at Cathedral Gardens.
The ever popular Place du Festival had to leave its usual location in Place Albert this year due to ongoing city hall works, but has found a dazzling new solar spot next to Urbis.
There are two new music stages at either end of the festival square site, with an array of colorful lounge chairs and picnic tables dotted around the outdoor site.
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Festival Square will host dozens of free events during this year’s MIF, which kicks off Thursday, July 1.
The square itself will officially open to the public for the first time on Friday July 2, after smaller preview events, and there will be no reservations – this will be on a first come, first served basis. .
Customers can expect a plethora of regional food and drink options, all of which will be ordered via QR codes at tables downtown.
Leading the outdoor kitchens will be pizza pros Honest Crust, festival staples Heathcote & Co and Mary Ellen McTague’s Eat Well MCR.
Honest Crust, of Altrincham Market and Mackie Mayor fame, will once again offer their famous wood-fired pizzas with their 10-inch pizzas starting at £ 6.50.
Celebrity vegan chef Dan Hope will also be making a comeback, this time with the new vegan offering Stellar, where he will serve barbacoa sandwiches, falafel burgers and mushroom burgers for £ 8.
Mary Ellen McTague of The Creameries is no stranger to MIF, having hosted an Alice in Wonderland-inspired banquet at the festival in 2019.
This year, she returns with her social enterprise Eat Well MCR to the event, serving snacks and meals from her partners.
Eat Well MCR is a collective of chefs and restaurants from across Greater Manchester who came together in the first lockdown to provide meals to vulnerable people, delivering nearly 40,000 meals.
They will bring together Chorlton Cheese Shop, Beehive, Holy Grain, Plucky Pickle, Acorn Dairy and several of the Eat Well MCR chefs to create a “build your own picnic box” concept with Scottish eggs, cheese platters and hummus. .
Award-winning chef Paul Heathcote offers his ‘Heathcote and Cone’ concept with a range of £ 4.50 ice creams as well as ‘house special’ desserts like a ‘Mad for it Manchester Tart’ ice cream sundae for £ 6.50 .
A range of drinks will be available from Manchester Brewery JW Lees, with Manchester Pale Ale at £ 5.50 a pint, Lager at £ 4.50 a pint, wines starting at £ 5 a glass and drinks alcohol-free from £ 3.
Live music at MIF Festival Square 2021
The soundtrack of the square will be a loaded musical program in three stages.
Homoelectric, Dave Haslam, DJ Paulette, Jamz Supernova, Mr Scruff and BBC Music Introducing will all be hosting parties at MIF21.
Earlier in the evening, with a slower pace, will be Records of Reflection, with tunes chosen by Afrodeutsche, Feel Good Club, Norman Jay and Lou Rhodes (Lamb), among others.
Emerging talent was picked through MIF Sounds, which was created to help members of the city’s music scene continue to create during the uproar of the past year.
For a full calendar of events at MIF 2021, click here.