Today is World Bee Day – and one of Manchester’s top entertainment venues has unveiled a lineup of “buzzing summer” events to celebrate.
Printworks is dedicating the month of June to the 100,000 honey bees that live on its rooftop.
As well as announcing the packed lineup of events on the annual UN-designated World Bee Day – which is all about raising awareness of the importance of bees, the threats they face, and their contribution to sustainable development – Printworks is also launching new pollination stations around the venue especially for the rooftop bees to enjoy.
The venue will be getting itself a fresh new look, with planters of flowers for pollination stations, three honeycomb-inspired sculptures installed outside for Mancs to take pictures with, and four wildlife-friendly planters.
Throughout June, anyone who uploads their photo with the honeycomb planters to Facebook and Instagram tagging Printworks will be in with a chance of winning a bee-keeping experience, as well as a meal at one of Printworks’ venues.
What’s more, is that each planter contains a QR code, which can be scanned to adopt a Manchester Bee for just £2 – with 100% of the donation going to local charity, Forever Manchester.
Forever Manchester and Printworks work closely together to look after the bees that live on the Printworks roof.
Then, from 1-7 June, fans of a tipple can also take part in a cocktail trail for The Manchester Flower Show, as selected venues inside the Printworks have put their own “sting” on The Buzz cocktail – which will be decorated with unique floral garnishes and bee-themed toppers, and again, a portion of the cost donated to Forever Manchester.
Head to Frankie & Benny’s, Treetop Adventure Golf, Floripa, Hard Rock Café, Bierkeller or Cargo to check them out.
Forever Manchester and Printworks work closely together to look after the bees that live on the Printworks roof / Credit: Forever Manchester
“The worker bee embodies Manchester and its people,” said Jason Shay – Centre Director at Printworks.
“We’re excited to give a little love back to our bees and our people to offer this incredible experience, while also helping our local community through our partnership with Forever Manchester [and] we’re looking forward to all the competition entries and putting the cocktails to the taste test.
“There’ll be plenty of fun for everyone with the bees being the buzz for families and our cocktail trail offering something exciting for our visitors.”
Featured Image – Printworks
Rochdale Town Hall – one of Greater Manchester’s most spectacular buildings is about to reopen
Rochdale Town Hall is one of Greater Manchester’s most impressive and historic buildings – but until now, large parts of the building have been closed to the public.
All that is about to change this weekend when, following several years of careful restoration, the magnificent Grade I-listed giant throws open its doors.
From Sunday 3 March, people will be able to visit Rochdale Town Hall completely free of charge seven days a week (excluding Bank Holidays), exploring grand halls, historic offices, and impressive sweeping staircases.
The landmark looms over the heart of Rochdale town centre, an easy walk from tram and train stations.
Up until this year, spaces were available to book for events like weddings, and it was used for official business, but has never been properly utilised as a tourist attraction.
It’s taken a 500-strong team of volunteers and teams of conservation specialists thousands of hours to bring it fully back to its former glory – they’ve carefully stripped away years of grime using cotton buds and other equipment to expertly bring life back to the ornate stained glass windows and historic features in almost every room.
So what exactly is it like inside after its multi-million-pound refurb, you ask? Well it’s pretty damn impressive.
The most breathtaking space of all is the Great Hall, where 350 hand-painted panels cover the vaulted ceiling, carved wooden angels hold lanterns, stained glass windows tower overhead, an enormous organ stands on the stage, and a huge Magna Carta mural covers one wall.
The incredible hand-painted ceiling panels in the Great HallInside Rochdale Town Hall
It’s a room filled with red and gold patterns, including images of the English lions and Scottish thistle, and you might recognise these colourful walls from a little show called Peaky Blinders…
But before you even reach this point, there are wonders to behold.
The Grand Staircase sweeps its way up from the ground floor – look up and you’ll see enormous stained glass windows documenting Rochdale’s place on the global stage.
The Exchange will be used as the town hall’s main entrance, where different shades of granite and marble were used to make candy-striped ceilings, and craftsmen carved various flora and fauna into the stone pillars.
The Great Staircase at Rochdale Town HallThe Exchange will be used as the main entrance for Rochdale Town Hall
Off here there’s a brand-new exhibition space, known as the Welcome Gallery, which tracks the timeline of the landmark, including the fire that destroyed its original clock tower (it was later re-designed by the legendary Alfred Waterhouse).
There are also historic spaces, where the walls are covered not with wallpaper but with hand-painted patterns. These intricate designs have also been restored.
In one room, you can see the history of the cotton industry in the paintings, from the Ancient Egyptians all the way up to the industrial era that Rochdale played such a huge part in.
And as well as celebrating the historical features of Rochdale Town Hall, there are also new artworks that have been created with local community groups and schools, celebrating present day Rochdale.
Rooms which were formerly used by council staff and councillors have been turned into usable spaces for the public, like the new Bright Hall, which has double-height ceilings, angels along the walls, and a window overlooking the Great Hall from up high. The Bright Hall will now be available for community use and events.
Hundreds of volunteers and specialists have worked on Rochdale Town Hall’s refurbishmentAnother grand space in Rochdale Town Hall
When it officially reopens on Sunday 3 March, there’ll be bookable tours, longer opening hours, and new exhibition spaces for locals and visitors to explore.
And in a few months’ time, a brand new restaurant – The Martlet – will open, under the steer of executive chef Darren Parkinson who has honed his craft at some of the country’s best gastropubs.
The whole building has been made fully accessible for the first time, and there are new heating systems and a sturdier roof in place to future-proof Rochdale Town Hall for decades to come.
Councillor Neil Emmott, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “It’s been a long wait for our residents and I’m delighted that they will finally get to see their beautiful town hall, fully restored in all its glory.
“Not only will they see the town hall they know and love, looking as good as it would have when it first opened in 1871, but they will see brand new features, like the Welcome Gallery, which makes it an even better space than it was before. We can’t wait to welcome people back in.”
One of many beautiful stained glass windows inside Rochdale Town HallThe huge organ in Great Hall
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member with responsibility for Rochdale Town Hall, said: “Sunday 3 March will be a wonderful celebration, but it’s really just the beginning for our brand new town hall. Our new offer means that residents will be able to see it and enjoy it seven days a week.
“We will soon be offering guided tours, alongside a full activity, events and education programme, which will be revealed soon.
“We anticipate the opening day being very busy, so people who would prefer a quieter experience may wish to come along another day. This beautiful building certainly isn’t going anywhere and our new extended opening hours offer many opportunities to enjoy this special place.”
The huge project was made possible with funding support to the tune of an £8.9m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
For its launch weekend, there’ll be activities at Rochdale Town Hall like rug tufting workshops, the roving Bombay Raja brass band, and a special puppet show by Fool’s Paradise.
Pre-booking is now full but walk-ups are available, so, if you don’t mind a wait, you can head to Rochdale Town Hall between 10am and 4pm this Sunday to see the incredible spaces for yourself.
For more information about the town hall, including opening times and upcoming events and activities, go to rochdaletownhall.co.uk.
Freight Island announces huge free festival series for summer 2024
Freight Island has just announced a huge line-up for its Spring/Summer season, with a free-to-attend festival series.
The huge urban street food and entertainment destination, located at Depot Mayfield just beyond Manchester Piccadilly, will be back open in full swing from Easter weekend.
The huge venue is promising its most electrifying season yet, announcing names including David Rodigan, Greg Wilson, Crazy P (DJ set), Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) and more.
Spring/Summer will run all the way through from April until September, inviting world-renowned DJs and Greater Manchester’s finest home-grown talent to the stage.
Also on the line-up will be Norman Jay, Luke Una and his special É Soul Cultura, Mr Wilson’s Second Liners, and more.
Support acts will include some of Manchester’s most celebrated DJs and collectives, including the likes of Sit N Bun, Supernature Disco, SK1 Records, Me Gusta Collective, Semi Skimmed Edits, Ghosts of Garage, to name a few.
On top of all the Spring/Summer programme, Freight Island will have regular events like the pop club night Cherrybomb, mass karaoke, and creative workshops.
There’s a new food trader in the mix, too – Liverpool institution Pattersons, a chicken shop that brines its meat for more than 24 hours in a special herb and spice mix, is joining Freight Island.
Pattersons is joining existing traders like Voodoo Ray’s pizza, Lazy Tony’s Lasagnaria slab shack, Mega Gyros, Payal (Indian and Nepalese street food), Fuku (pan-Asian street food), open-fire cooking at Smoking Coal and cheesecakes on a stick from Oh My Cheesecake.
And on Sundays, there’s the return of the Seconds carvery, with unlimited access to all the trimmings.
Freight Island will fully reopen from Friday 29 March. Its opening hours will be from 4pm until 11pm on Thursdays, 4pm until 12am on Fridays, 12pm until 12am on Saturdays, and 12pm until 10pm on Sundays.
You can book free tickets for Freight Island’s Spring/Summer programme here.
Freight Island’s Spring/Summer 2024 programme in full (A-Z)
Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) | Crazy P (DJ Set) | David Rodigan | É Soul Cultura | Greg Wilson | Huey Morgan | Luke Una | Maurice Fulton | Norman Jay | Optimo (Espacio) | Raw Silk DJs | Scarlett O’Malley | Sophie Lloyd | Todd Edwards | Abigail Ward | Andi Hanley (Body & Soul) | Andrea Trout | Atiké | Aveidt | Body Heat DJs | Ché Wilson | Contrast DJs | DJ Khanfu | DJ Rasp | Elen Beth Abdi | Freakout Collective | Ghosts Of Garage | Girls On Film | Groovement | Hannah O’Gorman | Hattie Pearson | Jack Farrington | Jamaste DJ | James Greenwood | Jamie Groovement | Jesterman | Jim Bane (Eastern Bloc Records) | Jimmy The Gent | Joey T | Joy Social | Keltoi | Lil’ Minx | Marco Giannini | Marley Reid | Massey | Matty F White | Me Gusta Collective | Metrodome | Mikey D.O.N | Mr Cryptic | Mr Wilson’s Second Liners | Muddy Feet | Neil Clarke (Clapdown Records) | No Boundaries |Nossa! | Obeka | Pablo Blanquito (Idle Moments) | Paul Hughes (Eclectic Circus) |Ralph Ninety | Rev. Austin | Rich Reason | Rick Donohue | Room 90 | Ruby Swallow |Semi Skimmed Edits | Sit N Bun | Sk1 Records | Stells Selections | Sticky Heat |Supernature Disco | Swindells | The Colonel | Tommy P-nuts | Yohan