HARD to credit that this year’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival (September 26-October 7) is the 22nd, but it’s entering an exciting new chapter with a switch of Festival Hub.
The relocation to Cathedral Gardens is forced upon them by the major Town Hall renovation affecting traditional venue Albert Square. Whatever, it look a smart move to us. The Gardens, which will also host Festa Italiana in late July, is a rare, attractive urban green space in the heart of the city with Manchester Cathedral, the National Football Museum and Chethams School of Music as neighbours.
Festival Director Alexa Stratton-Powell explains: “We felt that the time was right for a change. Albert Square has been a wonderful ‘home’ to our foodie neighbourhood for a long time, but as we have wanted to grow, change the format, site and structure we have often wondered if we dare make the move to Cathedral Gardens.
“It is a beautiful public space and will make the perfect destination for our 22nd Festival. We’ll be spreading out from Cathedral Gardens to other parts of the “Medieval Quarter” and creating a more village-like, greenf ield-style Festival site – a little foodie oasis in the city centre where people can enjoy incredible food and drink.”
MFDF promises all the usual Festival Hub fun, as well as a lot of new experiences to be announced. There’ll be a killer street food line-up, a bounty of beer, a new look live music stage, cookery theatres, extraordinary cuisine, pop up banquets, cocktails, the return of an artisan producers market, guest chefs.
Of course, it‘s not just about the Hub. A whole cornucopia of events will be happening across the city – taking in the biggest range of venues of any food festival in the country. From community cafes to art galleries, from roof top bars to shipping containers and fine dining to foraging in the biggest MFDF programme yet.
The festival will close with the hotly anticipated MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards – the North West food industry’s biggest night of the year – on October 7 in the exquisite Gorton Monastery.