2019 in Review: Festival in My House

From Bollywood in Bolton and Flamenco in Stockport, to Virtual Reality experiences for the over 50s in Trafford,  all through 2019 we’ve been continuing to work with residents in Greater Manchester to help them curate their own micro-festivals through Festival in My House, celebrating a huge variety of fascinating ideas, traditions, talents and personalities.

This year also saw the launch of Festival in My Neighbourhood, a scaled-up version of the micro-festival project. With a celebration of food and music from Africa and the West Indies in Whitworth Park, a day of South Asian textiles workshops in a mill in Ardwick and a night-time disco bike ride extravaganza on the Fallowfield loop in Levenshulme, Festival in my Neighborhood has brought the MIF experience to an even broader range of audiences across the Greater Manchester region in 2019.

And this year for the first time, the Festival in My House hosts and participants were invited to take over Festival Square during MIF19 and showcase their Festival ideas, music and performances on the big Festival stage.

We took a look back at 2019 in Micro-Festivals…


V Room – Trafford

In January, Helen Finan kicked of Festival in My House 2019 by inviting her neighbours aged over 50 to her home in Flixton, Trafford for a journey into virtual reality (VR). Visitors, none of whom had previously tried VR technology before, had the option to choose an adventure, explore, relax or create something in virtual reality –all without leaving a sofa in Trafford. Afterwards the participants discussed their experiences and the future of VR over a cup of tea.


Curryoke – Bolton

Credit Rob Connor

Champa and Manu Mistry invited their local neighbours in Farnworth, Bolton for a cultural and culinary soundclash of singing and Indian food. During the day, there was free karaoke coaching and in the evening every participant picked their own song from a library of western and Bollywood hits. The event was a real hit, with visitors enjoying a wide array of songs and a mouth-watering menu of Indian cuisine.


Flamenco Persia – Stockport

Credit Samson Yitbareck

Sarah Chambers invited her neighbours and friends in Stockport to join Spanish flamenco artists María Delgado Yañez and John Walsh, and Turkish artists Gülçin Bulut and Erdoğan Bayir for a special musical collaboration, blending the passion of flamenco with classical Turkish styles. The evening featured flamenco dance and rhythmic hand clapping and ended with a delicious Spanish and Turkish meze over inspiring artist conversations.


Motown Festival – Salford

In June 2019, five residents from Edward Onyon Court in Salford welcomed their neighbours, friends and family for a day of Motown music. Alongside Motown covers performed live by Brass Monkees, the five residents shared their stories and discussed the meaning of Motown to them.


Hidden Shelters – Oldham

As the final part of MIF’s 2019 Festival in My House series, John, Tim and Lizzie (Decaying Spheres) invited neighbours and friends to their home in Failsworth, Oldham for a unique artwork highlighting the LGBT international refugee and homeless epidemic. In a darkened room, visitors heard the voices of LGBT refugees and homeless talking about their lives and their hopes for the future – interwoven with field recordings and new ambient music.


AFROJAM – Whitworth Park, Manchester

AFROJAM was the first Festival in My Neighbourhood event, hosted by previous Festival in My House participant Erinma Bell. The event in Whitworth Park featured live music, dance, fashion shows, hands-on creative workshops and a selection of fabulous food from Africa and the West Indies.


Stitch Festival – Ardwick

Photo Credit John Lynch

For Stitch Festival, Taslima Ahmad and Numan Azmi of CDM, opened up their mill in Ardwick to people in their local community. During two days of free workshops participants learned tie dying, kantha stitching, screen-printing and block-printing – together creating a large kantha quilt which was exhibited alongside a full day of free activities including, handcrafting workshops, a fashion show, and live traditional music from South Asia.


Out Of Hours – Levenshulme

For the final Festival in my Neighbourhood of the year, we joined up with Station South to present a two-wheeled dazzling disco on the Fallowfield Loop. Two bike rides, one from Chorlton, one from Abbey Hey, journeyed to Station South Tunnel in Levenshulme for a special family-friendly bike-themed party with an environmental message featuring poetry, live wall art, a giant mirror ball, disco waiters and a fabulous disco soundtrack.

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