Festival Square, the main hub of the Manchester International Festival 2019, is preparing to open – and this year there’s lots more seating, live music and local food and drink suppliers.
Returning to Albert Square in the city centre, it will be the focal point of festivities for many, as the festival of world premiere art events kicks off in the city from Thursday 4th July.
The square itself will not open fully to the public on Friday, but media were given a preview under sunny skies on Monday night to see what will be on offer during this year’s three week festival.
There are now two glass house terrace seating areas with fabulous views across the square and of the town hall, and a new floral “selfie wall” to get the perfect MIF photo for social media. There’s the return of the colourful deckchairs and picnic tables too.
And for many, the lure will be the raft of brilliant local food and drink suppliers who will be creating special street food style nibbles during the run of the festival.
That includes acclaimed chef Gary Usher bringing a taste of his new King Street restaurant KALA including some divine chickpea panisse and truffle and parmesan chips, the tasty sourdough pizzas of Honest Crust, fried chicken sandwiches from Firebird Hope and ice cream treats from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – prices starting from £3.50 upwards.
Look out for a special MIF collaboration pizza too from Ramsbottom’s Levanter with Honest Crust – which features romesco, chickpea, spinach, egg, and Mahon cheese, which you can snap up for £8.
JW Lees is Festival Square’s official beer supplier, serving up beers (expect to pay £4.50 for a pint of Manchester Pale Ale), international wines (from £5 a glass), Champagnes (Prosecco is £5.50 a glass, champers from £10.50), a range of spirits from £5 and soft drinks from £2.
JW Lees have also collaborated with Manchester Gin for a Festival Brew especially for MIF – a citrusy pale ale.
The festival tent returns this year with an industrial chic design using recycled woods and materials in the structure.
This will be the place to catch live DJs and musicians for free throughout the festival – from the likes of Nitin Sawhney, The Orielles, The Black Madonna, Horace Andy, LIINES and many more.
You can also find out ALL the up-to-date information on ticket availability for shows at MIF, which this year include immersive theatre Tree from Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah at Upper Campfield Market, Janelle Monae at Castlefield Bowl, Maxine Peake starring in new drama The Nico Project at The Stoller Hall and the David Lynch takeover at HOME.
The festival will officially open with a huge free event hosted by Yoko Ono, Bells for Peace, on Cathedral Gardens on Thursday, July 4th from 6pm.
Festival Square is free to visit and open from noon until late each day from Friday July 5th to Sunday July 21st.