piccadilly busking stage
Piccadilly Partnership and CityCo are working to animate Manchester city centre and make it a more vibrant, family-friendly destination.
Over the past 18 months, the city has seen a proliferation of street theatre, musicians and buskers. In many areas this has added to the vitality of the city experience, however in some cases performers are of poor quality, leading to numerous complaints.
In response, we are working to encourage street performers to use areas of the city with sufficient space, infrastructure and support from neighbouring businesses. The aim is for these locations to become self-regulated, raising their reputation as known venues for quality free street entertainment.
To kick-start the scheme, we proposed a trial in Piccadilly Gardens and issued a call for interest via our members – particularly across leisure/ night-time economy sectors – council partners and potential artists. The Manchester College saw the opportunity for music students to work together to bring the project to life, combining live performance and project management experience.
We erected a temporary busking stage in Piccadilly Gardens to trial the initiative and saw a roll-call of local students, experienced buskers and first-timers entertain a large crowd and passer-bys. The lively atmosphere animated the Gardens and feedback from local stakeholders and businesses proved extremely positive.
The initiative received coverage in local press and a feature on BBC Radio Manchester – promoting The Manchester College as a key partner.
Piccadilly Partnership and CityCo are now working to confirm a calendar of dates for 2011, with further sponsors expressing interest. We are also seeking to bring online a voluntary Code of Practice to ensure busking standards across the city centre are of high quality, as in other major European Cities and areas of the UK such as Bath.