Manchester Food and Drink Festival, due to take place in the city centre next week, has been postponed until next year over public health fears amid growing coronavirus cases across the region.
Organisers today said that, in partnership with Manchester City Council, the difficult decision was taken to pull the event which would have taken over an outdoor hub site on Cathedral Gardens in the city centre from September 24th.
The annual MFDF event had been given full council backing to go ahead in September, which would have been the first major public event held in the city centre since lockdown in March.
But organisers have today announced that it will not be able to go ahead as planned, and is instead rescheduled for April 2021 – although special events being held in restaurants and fringe events are still due to go ahead, as it stands.
The news come as the city continues to wait on a decision from the council on whether the famous Manchester Christmas Markets will go ahead in 2020. That is looking increasingly unlikely with the rapidly increasing coronavirus cases across the UK and a number of new local lockdowns being put in place today, including across Merseyside, parts of Lancashire and Warrington. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that a second wave of the virus is now hitting the UK.
Manchester Food and Drink Festival organisers said in a statement on Friday afternoon: “Unfortunately in light of the latest advice we’ve been given by the city’s public health teams we have, in partnership with Manchester City Council, taken the very difficult decision to postpone this year’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival Hub event on Cathedral Gardens.
“We’re hugely disappointed, but obviously safety is our key concern and we have decided to postpone the festival until next April (1st – 11th). We would like to thank Manchester City Council for their continued support and also all the businesses who have worked so hard on this year’s event.
“All table reservations will be refunded, or can be rolled over to next year. The events happening in restaurants and our fringe activity in Urmston are still scheduled to go ahead, and have our full support, as does our wonderful hospitality industry who we will continue to celebrate.
“The Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards will go ahead ‘virtually’ as planned so we encourage everyone to vote via the MFDF website and app. Information and updates will continue to be shared via our app, social channels and website.
“We are obviously gutted to be postponing but we’ll be back bigger and better in 2021.”
Manchester Cllr Luthfur Rahman said: “It is deeply disappointing that this year’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival has been postponed. In a city famed for its events there was a genuine sense of excitement and anticipation in the run up to the festival.
“However, as we have always said the health and wellbeing of our residents has to be our first priority. After discussions with our partners in MFDF and our public health teams the decision was taken to move the festival into 2021.”