Manchester’s One Big Summer Weekend kicks off the holiday season in style


Three festivals are coming together for the ultimate One Big Summer Weekend event later this month courtesy of Manchester’s Business Improvement District.

The Manchester Picnic, Manchester Jazz festival, and Clownfest Manchester will be taking over Exchange Square and St Ann’s Square alongside garden bars and street entertainment.

Kicking off events is The Manchester Picnic, returning for its seventh year, featuring a selection of the city’s finest street food alongside tastings and demos from 10am-6pm each day in St Ann’s Square.

The line-up includes stalls from I Knead Pizza, The Waffle Shack and gourmet ice cream from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium.

There will be live music on the main stage throughout the weekend from Manchester Jazz Festival featuring student players from the RNCM, jazz-hop music from Lucy Mae and Umbrellabird, an energetic local young piano trio. Soak it all up relaxing in one of the deck chairs provided.

Little ones are catered for with Z Arts putting on a child-friendly welcoming picnic on 29th -30th July in St Ann’s Square from 12 till 4pm. Families will be greeted by quirky characters, plus a treasure trail and crafts – all for free. Just bring your picnic basket.

Throughout the weekend, local florists Flourish will be setting up a flower market on Exchange Street selling house plants, flowers for the garden and gift bouquets.

Following the route of the flower market will take you to Clownfest Manchester, which takes place in Exchange Square across the Friday and Saturday. Many of the acts will be en route to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, so it’s a chance to see some of the finest clowning and comedy talent around.

The festival will take place in an omnitorium – a 100 seat vaudevillian tent – outside Selfridges. It will include family performances in and around the venue, activities, walkabout street theatre and shows for grown-ups in the evening.

Highlights of Clownfest include Billy Button’s Kazoo Workshop on Friday afternoon 1.30pm-2pm, Captain Cauliflower and Marvin the Mischievous Moose on Saturday and for adults there’s The Establishment: Eton Mess, a comedy from NATY New Act of the Year finalists 2017.

Retailers from St Ann’s Square and neighbouring streets including Rapha, Lululemon, Paperchase, Lunya and The Whisky Shop will also be celebrating summer in the city across the weekend, with a pop-up coffee cart, al fresco deli stand, special tastings and in-store events. And there’s cocktail masterclasses too.

Manchester’s One Big Summer Weekend will be full of food, fun and freebies and takes place from Friday 28 July to Sunday 30 July.

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