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Celebrate Manchester’s amazing East and Southeast Asian communities at an incredible new festival

Manchester is set to host the very first ESEAHM X MCR Festival on Sunday, September 3rd.


This groundbreaking event, organised by national non-profit organisation Voice ESEA, along with On Your Side, a hate crime and incident reporting service, and social enterprise Be Inclusive Hospitality, promises to be an unforgettable celebration of the East and Southeast Asian heritage in the city.

ESEA Heritage Month, initiated by besea.n (Britain’s East and Southeast Asian Network) in 2021, has gained momentum over the years.

Voice ESEA

This year, the organisers aim to elevate the festivities, particularly outside of London, thanks to the efforts of Voice ESEA’s Northern Branch Events Lead, Choon Young Tan.

Realising the lack of events in regions beyond the capital, Tan, who also runs his own personal blog, “Tan’s Topics,” was determined to bring the celebration to Manchester.

Celebrating Manchester’s East and Southeast Asian Heritage

Dedicated to East and Southeast Asian heritages, cultures, histories, and everything in between, ESEA Heritage Month provides an opportunity to honour and learn about the remarkable contributions of these communities in shaping the UK.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Roots/Routes,” encouraging exploration of cultural identity and belonging by delving into the narratives of family journeys and stories.

It’s a chance to celebrate the rich tapestry of experiences that contribute to our diverse and vibrant heritage.

The ESEAHM X MCR Festival, a collaborative effort between Voice ESEA, On Your Side, and Be Inclusive Hospitality, is set to take place at Grub, located in Manchester’s Red Bank area.

Manchester is home to one of the UK’s largest ESEA populations

Manchester, home to one of the UK’s largest populations of ESEA communities, is the perfect backdrop for this momentous event.

The 2021 census reveals that individuals identifying as Chinese or Asian – Other in Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs constitute over 4.5% of the total population, making it an ideal host city.

With a vision to create an immersive experience, the festival will transform Grub into a vibrant hub of activity.

Attendees can expect an array of food and drink stalls, arts and crafts, and goods from local vendors. Floating Art will host East Asian-inspired art workshops, Tarsier Spirit will offer a gin and tonic masterclass, and Maketh by Me will provide Batik craft workshops.

Hút, an eco-friendly company, will supply groundbreaking edible and sustainable drinking straws throughout the day. In addition, the Cultplex MilkTea, known for showcasing the best of East and Southeast Asian cinema in the UK, will present a FREE film screening, with more exciting announcements to come.

The Royal Exchange Theatre will also be present to contribute to the festival’s diverse offerings.

Amazing food and drink

The festival’s culinary delights will be brought to life by esteemed food vendors such as Rosa’s Thai, Little Yellow Rice Co., Wong Dumplings, Jyoti’s Momo, and Phat Rollz.

These vendors will showcase diverse flavours and culinary talents from across the East, Southeast, and South Asian regions.

Non-food vendors, including Hút, Tarsier Spirit, Maketh by Me, and childrenswear company Ickle Bao, will provide additional options for attendees to explore.

Charity exhibitors, such as the LGBT Foundation and Show Racism the Red Card, will also be present.

ESEA-owned non-hot or cooked food businesses still have the opportunity to secure a stall at the festival by contacting Voice ESEA.

Author Eva Wong Nava

Families attending the festival can look forward to engaging activities for children. Author Eva Wong Nava, renowned for her book “I Love Chinese New Year,” will share the story of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which occurs at the end of September, and guide children in creating paper lanterns.

Hong Kongnese face painter Connie Wong will also be present, adding a touch of colourful delight to the festival.

At the Cultplex, Voice ESEA will host thought-provoking Q&A sessions and panel discussions with various ESEA individuals. These sessions will cover topics ranging from cultures and food to representation and identities, offering valuable insights and fostering meaningful conversations.

Tickets for the ESEAHM X MCR Festival are priced at £8 each (£4 for children aged 5-12, with free admission for children under 5), with proceeds supporting the vital work of Voice ESEA and On Your Side.

Each ticket includes goody bags with vendor discounts and coupons, freebies for the first 100 attendees, as well as access to films and panel discussions. Separate tickets for partner events and sessions are also available.

The ESEAHM X MCR Festival promises to be an extraordinary celebration of the East and Southeast Asian community in Manchester, providing a platform for cultural exchange, fostering inclusivity, and honouring the rich heritage of these diverse communities.

Don’t miss this remarkable event that embraces the essence of East and Southeast Asian cultures, all within the vibrant atmosphere of Manchester’s Red Bank area.

You can get your tickets by clicking here.

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