Main image for festival Square July 2 event

A packed line-up for the opening day of Festival Square set the stage for 17 extraordinary days of live events under the sun in Cathedral Gardens.

Following the first of five Midday Meditations (also Mon 5, Wed 7, Fri 9 & Mon 12 July) and some mellow vibes from Cupid’s Bow Cello Duo, we presented ta new work by composer Jacob Connor – supported by MIF Sounds, our initiative to help Manchester musicians make music during lockdown. Lou Rhodes of Lamb kicked off our Records of Reflection series with DJ Paulette (and reading poetry), followed by a set from Ailsa McLaggan’s discotastic Living Room Dance Club.

The evening offered a real highlight: the live premiere of Four Women, a cross-arts collaboration inspired by the Nina Simone song and created by the brilliant Untold Orchestra with Yemi Bolatiwa, Maisha Kungu, Seren Marimba, Shirley May and DJ Paulette – who then returned to round off opening night with a DJ set.

We would like to thank Therme Group, Co-op, JW Lees, Hawkins\Brown, Buro Happold and Civic Engineers for their contributions to Festival Square.