Monday, 10 July 2017

Didsbury Arts Festival 2017

If things have seemed a bit quiet on here lately it's because I've been co-ordinating Didsbury Arts Festival which recently finished it's nine day run. 

After months of working behind the scenes to set it up, it was so great to see the festival blossom and come to life, and I got to see some brilliant stuff while I managed the events too! Here's a few of my favourite moments:

A Northern Life in Pictures

Photo by Bartosz-Kowalczyk
Didsbury Arts Festival 2017

Taking place in Didsbury's Shaare Hayim Synagogue, A Northern Life in Pictures featured a talk with photographer Sefton Samuels alongside some of his most iconic images of Manchester and it's surrounding areas. The stories that accompanied the photos really gave an insight into Samuels long and eventful career and his love for the North.

This event also featured a screening of the film A City Speaks which I highly reccommend to anyone with an interest in history and the city of Manchester. Made in 1947 the film told of a Northern power house, 'If you can think of it, Manchester can make it!'. Full of shots of hard working men and women in the factories and familiar landmarks this film transported me to one of my favourite eras whilst giving me a vision of the city I love in one glorious black and white time capsule. You can watch the whole film on the BFI website HERE

Toot Sweet

Photo by Neil Nevill

Mixing music with cake, I have to say this was one of my favourite music events during the festival! Taking her cue from a selection of musical classics by Bach, Gershwin and Schumann, saxophonist Gillian Blair then created a box of bespoke cakes to be eaten as each piece played. Great music, tick! Cake, tick, tick!

Hitler Alone

It's not often you find yourself in the bunker with Adolf Hitler during his last day on earth, but that was where myself and a collection of other audience members found ourselves as Paul Webster performed his one man show, Hitler Alone. Played out in a small dark intimate setting allowing only a handfull of onlookers, we were all taken aback when Hitler stormed furiously into the room outraged that it had all come to this. What followed as an hour of absolute genius; an insight into Hitler's life and the decisions he made. Paul Webster was superb acting out the last moments of a phsycopath who was surprisingly clear headed and determined until the end. 

Roots Stage

Although I technically didn't get to see all of this event (what with managing one half of it) I was really pleased at how successfully it went. This was probably the largest project we put on as part of the festival.

Set in Didsbury Park, Roots Stage was a mini festival within a festival. Consisting of a main stage with live music from bands and singers throughout the day, there was also a running order of performances and activites happening around the park. We had puppet shows, dances, comedy joggers and interactive experiences.

 Photo by Tom Bullock
 Photo by Tom Bullock 

When the sun decided to join us (and stayed!) the picture was complete and it was a very satisfying moment to look out at a sea of sunbathers and pic-nicers enjoying the mellow music and festival atmosphere. Kids were entertained and the odd pet dog could be seen racing about with a huge smile on its face. It was a great moment.


I'll be back soon to continue my investigation into the history of the black pin up. If you haven't read them already, take a look (HERE), I've written several posts exploring this fascinating slice of the past often overlooked or ignored. See you soon...

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