The 25th Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) makes its return this month, kicking off on Thursday 15 September as it returns to its home at Cathedral Gardens.
Following a long build-up to the 25th-anniversary event, organisers have today revealed the full programme line-up ahead of its opening.
Alongside a host of street food traders, an artisan food market, and a live music stage, this year will also see the return of the Manchester Beer Bar in The Festival Hub. Sponsored by local brewing magnate Joseph Holt, beer lovers will find a host of different local selections here, including a special 25th-anniversary beer created to mark the occasion.
Elsewhere, the festival’s Masterclass Kitchen will play host to some of Manchester’s hottest cheffing talent, with a line-up featuring renowned food journalist and author Felicity Cloake, Kate Humble, Lia Leendertz and Edd Kimber.
The Hub will also be bringing together a host of incredible and eclectic street food fit for an anniversary Festival including Bab K, Herbivorous and Hip Hop Chip Shop.
Other highlights include the return of the smash-hit Curry Club happening at the Hub. Dishoom, The Little Sri Lankan, Aunty Jis, Nila’s Burmese Kitchen and Lily’s are just a few of the traders that will bring cuisines of India, Burma and Sri Lanka to the table.
The Festival Firepit, sponsored by Weber, will see some of the region’s best loved chefs cooking over fire for a first time festival feast on Cathedral Gardens.
Chefs hosting the BBQ include Caroline Martins, founder of the Sao Paolo project, Robert Owen Brown and Francisco Martinez from Fazenda.
There’ll also be a big focus on budget cooking and how to spruce up any leftover food to get the most of your ingredients with Recycle for Greater Manchester.
Outside of the Hub meanwhile, the feast continues with activities programmed in restaurants and bars across the city including a £25 for 25 years menu extravaganza.
Spread out over two massive weekends, the free-to-enter Festival Hub is open from Thursday 15-Sunday 18 September and then again from Thursday 22-Sunday 25 September.
Feature image – Supplied
Affleck’s: the Manchester marketplace that’s a treasure trove for independent gifts
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. There’s nowhere quite like Affleck’s. A fixture in Manchester for forty years now, many argue that the Northern Quarter simply would not be what it is today without it.We’re inclined to agree.
Inside, you’ll find groups from all generations browsing its myriad stalls, each floor jam-packed with unique pieces. Stall holders here sell everything from vintage fashion and skatewear, to homeware, plants, trinkets, action figurines, personalised t-shirts and jewellery – and that’s just for starters.
There’s also tarot reading, a crystal shop, an ice cream parlour, and a homely top-floor cafe selling retro favourites, a record store, nail salon, piercing and tattoo studios, the Animaid cafe, CBD store, seamoss shop and so much more to discover.
If we’re being honest, no list can really do what is on offer justice. Affleck’s isn’t just home to everything you can think of, its walls also conceal a million brilliant gifts that may never have crossed your mind had you not paid it a visit.
The best way to discover Affleck’s is simply to turn up with time to spare and dedicate a few hours to wandering its halls. If you don’t feel like you have the time for that, though, rest easy, because we have gone and done it for you.
We’ve browsed every stall, spoken to the traders, ummed and erred, and looked for the best prices (you know, cost of living and all that). Suffice it to say, we found some absolute gems – and managed to get all of our Christmas presents from local makers for under £100. Not too shabby.
Keep reading to discover a few of our top picks for independent Christmas shopping at Affleck’s in Manchester this December.
Lock Stock and Smokin Art Shop
A new addition to Affleck’s top floor, Lock Stock and Smokin Art Shop specialises in unique homeware with a quirky collection of bright pieces created by independent artists.
Here, you’ll find a collection of super cool Kit Cat clocks imported especially from America, alongside pieces by Stockport-based artist Neighbourhood Threat, ranging from cushions and tea towels to dad socks, coasters and more. We picked up a gorgeous mug but were captivated by a 70s-inspired Babycham cushion (and think we’ll be going back soon for it).
City and Bloom
Another new addition to Affleck’s, situated next door to Lock Stock, is City and Bloom. Promoting sustainable, design-led urban gardening, it’s run by the very knowledgeable James who has a background in horticulture.
This teeny tiny plant store manages to cram a lot into a very small space, find hand-painted plant pots created in collaboration with local artists like Alice Needham-Pearmain, adorable flower presses, nature books, different potting mixtures and more.
This is one place in Affleck’s we can’t help returning to again and again. First begun as a hobby by its Middleton-based owners back in 2017, today Mad for Art can be found on the first floor of Affleck’s.
The store sells a whole host of vintage prints, ranging from vintage films and pin-ups to iconic old Vogue covers, adverts for Guinness, Martini, Campari and luxury perfumes, plus images of music legends, classic cars, food, travel and more.
Another newcomer to Affleck’s, this family-run Manchester apparel brand takes its inspiration from punk-rock culture. Featuring a host of clothing designs created in-house, it has taken over the old American sweet shop on the second floor. One to check out for any friends who like the alt, skater, or punk look, Modern Streets also sells stickers, patches and cool, alternative colouring books.
Inspired Life CBD
CBD seems like it’s everywhere now, but if you’re looking for the best quality products on the market Inspired Life CBD on the first floor of Affleck’s is a shout.
Selling 100% organic, natural products, you can find everything from tea and chocolate to CBD-infused massage oil here – with a friendly owner on hand to explain all the nuances of each product in detail. Great for easing stress, anxiety and better sleep, it’s an all-natural remedy (and yes, it’s made from Cannabis but it’s won’t get you high).
Vinyl Resting Place
The home of all things vinyl at Affleck’s, whether you’re looking for rare 7″, old LPs or some bootleg remixes of your favourite track, this is the place to hunt for it. Everything in the store is pre-loved and has been hand-picked by its owners over the course of 15 years.
We spent quite a decent amount of time scouring the folk section, which is extensive, but all genres are covered here – from rock and pop, to hip-hop, house, techno, americana, low-fi, gospel, soul, funk and everything in between. There’s also a big rack of CDs to get stuck into.
One of the first shops you’ll enter on your way in, Luna has it all for the last-minute Christmas shopping dash. Mugs, beanies, jewellery, patches, accessories, you name it – it’s here.
There’s some cool stuff to choose from, but the team here is really known for their pin badges, all of which are made in-house.
Feature image – Supplied
Peter Kay adds MORE dates to his massive UK tour – including extra Manchester shows
Peter Kay has added even more dates to his already-massive UK after teasing a “big announcement” was on its way.
In case you somehow missed it, Greater Manchester – and much of the UK, to be honest – went into a bit of a meltdown last month when the legendary Bolton-born comedian and actor announced that he is to play a whole slew of huge Manchester shows from this month as he makes a return to live comedy on his first stand-up tour in 12 years.
Rumours began circulating that the 49-year-old was preparing for a 2023 comeback tour earlier this year, but it was first confirmed that Kay was to first kick things off by doing two massive shows at the AO Arena on Friday 2 & Saturday 3 December 2022.
After that, the comic announced he would head on over to Birmingham to close out 2022, before making his way across the rest of the UK and Ireland in 2023.
Due to the absolutely overwhelming demand to see the comedy legend take to the stage for the first time in over a decade, with hundreds of thousands of people in online queues and tickets being snapped-up almost instantly when they went on sale, Kay decided to keep adding extra dates to the tour schedule to give all fans the chance to catch his comeback moment.
It may have just started out as two humble shows, but now, Kay is set to play a total of 42 gigs just at the AO Arena alone – running from December 2022 until May 2025.
Sales for this tour have also significantly surpassed the record Kay back in 2010 too, where he played to more than 1.2 million in a single tour.
The comedian said he was “absolutely blown away” by ticket sales.
His return to the stage after 12 years last weekend not only visibly moved Kay to tears, with heartwarming footage of the moment going viral on social media, but it also proved to be such a success with audiences that he took to Twitter on Wednesday to tease that more could be on its way – but didn’t reveal what exactly.
In a heartfelt message to fans, Kay said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to the first shows in Manchester. It was incredible to be part of such a happy experience. Everybody deserves a bit of joy.
“Here’s to a lot more in the shows to come.”
He then added that a “big announcement” was coming on the Sara Cox Drivetime Show on BBC Radio 2, and urged fans to tune in after 6pm.
While many were speculating, given the fact he had chosen to reveal the news on a Drivetime radio show, that Kay would be announcing more episodes of his beloved smash-hit TV series Peter Kay’s Careshare, but while that was a pretty educated guess, it wasn’t the announcement lined up.
Instead, Kay confirmed that, yet again, he would be adding more dates to his tour schedule.
Telling the also Bolton-born radio DJ, Kay said: “First of all, I want to say thanks to everyone who’s bought tickets to my tour, and I really do appreciate it.
“We’ve finally managed to book some more extra dates.”
Promising to keep prices as low as they were for his last tour, tickets for Peter Kay shows this time round start from £35 and go all the way up to £50, £65 and £135.
Tickets will go on sale this Sunday from 10am for shows in cities including Manchester at the AO Arena, as well as in Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Glasgow, and a whopping record-breaking 28th night at London’s O2 Arena as part of his residency.
Find out more and grab yours from See Tickets here when they go on sale.