The 2012 Canal Festival, now in its sixth year, will be making a bigger splash this summer by holding events in Manchester’s Piccadilly Basin for the first time.
A series of city centre canal-side cultural events organised by Piccadilly Partnership and CityCo will take place as part of the festival programme creating a great day out for all the family.
A canal-side pop-up cinema, giving the traditional American drive-in a Mancunian twist, will screen feature films over two nights in the Ducie Street car park. Showing Captain America on the 22 August and The Life Aquatic on 23 August, this free event is in association with The Printworks, and will cater for up to 450 people each night.
The screenings are not ticketed and will be ‘drop-in’ events, on a first come, first served basis. Access to the site is on Ducie Street for cars, via the Brewer Street Bridge for those walking and any barges should moor at Lock 83 of the Rochdale Canal.
Gates will open at 6pm and the show will start at 8.30pm. Bring a portable FM radio along to tune in to the film, or set your car radio, drive-in movie style. A limited number of radios and speakers will be available on the night from the organisers.
Hot noodles cooked up by Northern Quarter’s award-winning restaurant, Ning, and bottles of beer will be on sale and a limited bar from 6pm for post-work drinks before the film.
Also for the 2012 Canal Festival a permanent floating garden will be unveiled in the wharf creating a wildlife haven. Nearby the Brewer Street Bridge gets yarn-bombed with thousands of yellow and blue woollen tassels hand made by local knitting groups. Commissioned by Buddleia, a public art commissioning agency, the design, based on traditional waterways lace patterns and canal-boat colours has been created by Manchester artist Kerry Howarth.
On Saturday 18 August a special kid’s play day will take place at the Cultural Olympiad art installation called Atelier [zero] in Piccadilly Basin. The children’s chalet that already contains a ball pool will be transformed into one big play area by Studio Gil Architects. There will be a snakes and ladders game on the floor and the chance to learn the ancient Japanese craft of origami. Life-sized animals will be painted on the wall for children to measure themselves against and a designer toy box will be installed.
Adults can also have fun and relax in a hammock, bash a ball around, row around the boating lake, borrow a book or play in the ball pool. The terrace street of white chalets creating an Olympic Village, housing artwork by Northern ArtPrize winner, Leo Fitzmaurice, among others, is open to the public every Tuesday to Saturday from 11 – 5pm and Sunday 12 – 4pm until 2 September.
Also for kids, on 22 August, children eight years and over can try their hand at kayaking and angling. Free taster sessions with fully qualified staff will take place from 12pm – 4pm in the Piccadilly Basin for children accompanied by an adult.
Nearby on Tariff Street, the world’s first permanent LomoWall has been erected. Containing 14,000 Lomographs, the 30 meter long LomoWall is an actual physical wall covered in thousands of snap shot-sized analogue (that’s film, not digital) photographs. Famous for the distinctive waves of undulating colour the LomoWall’s abstract appearance comes from the thousands of printed images taken by fans of Lomography cameras from around the world. Close up, visitors can enjoy each photo individually, but when viewed from afar the LomoWall reveals a fascinating mosaic reflecting Manchester’s industrial heritage.
The wildlife and urban life of Manchester’s waterways is captured in a new photography exhibition, courtesy of gallery, school and studio, Manchester Photographic. The images, taken by amateur photographers who’ve been on an urban canal photography course this summer, have been selected by a panel of industry judges. The free exhibition is at the Dale Street gallery from 18 – 26 August and open from Mon – Sat from 10am – 6pm.
Alexandra King, Piccadilly Partnership Director said: “It’s great to have the Canal Festival extending into Piccadilly Basin for the first time this year. The canals offer people a below-stairs break from the hustle and bustle of the city with vast stretches of tranquil space on the banks of the waterways. Piccadilly Basin is a really attractive part of the city centre and by animating the space with an eclectic mix of innovative cultural activity we hope to spotlight the area this summer and encourage more people to discover it, take home some enjoyable memories and consider it as a place to work, live and play.”
Lucy Rogers, Development Manager for The Canal and River Trust said “The Canal Festival has been running for the past five years engaging with the many communities the canal passes through a range of activities from illuminated boat and lantern parades to canoeing. The Piccadilly Basin programme is an exciting addition to our Canal Festival and is opening up the Rochdale Canal to a new audience in the City embracing the canal side setting.”
Suzanne Gallagher, Asset Manager for landowner, Town Centre Securities said: “Piccadilly Basin benefits from being right next to the Urban Exchange retail scheme and the vibrant Northern Quarter, yet in its own tranquil, canalside setting. We want people to discover it and enjoy spending time here. It’s great to be part of this year’s canal festival for the first time which will no doubt bring new visitors to the area. Projects like this help create a sense of place and make the area a destination in its own right, putting Piccadilly Basin firmly on the Manchester map.”
Up to three hours free parking is available for anyone visiting the canal festival at the Urban Exchange retail development off Great Ancoats Street.
For the latest information on the 2012 The Canal Festival activities in Manchester City Centre go to www.creativetourist.com
For more information on the rest of the 2012 Canal Festival programme visit www.myrochdalecanal.org.uk