Manchester’s most fashionable summer event, the King Street Festival, returns next weekend celebrating the past, present and future of Manchester’s iconic, historic street.
On Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 June, King Street, which is home to over 50 stores, restaurants and hotels including Boodles, DKNY, Belstaff, Virgin Money Lounge, Jigsaw, Kiehls, Cath Kidston, El Gato Negro, Rosso and the King Street Townhouse, will be filled with live music, alfresco dining and pop-up bars, alongside a whole host of events and experiences.
New for 2018 are The Conversation Stage featuring Dave Haslam on his days DJing at the Hacienda, alongside history talks and food and drink tastings, and the Manchester Flower Show, a popular and prestigious annual event dating back to the 1950s, which returns as part of the festival following a 15 year hiatus.
Organisers of the King Street Festival, Manchester’s Business Improvement District, Manchester BID, will pay tribute to the original Manchester Flower Show while giving it an urban twist to complement its new location in the heart of the city centre. Visitors can expect a floral paradise of pocket gardens, green installations and hanging baskets alongside a showcase of the very best cut-flowers and plants.
Inspired by the Manchester Flower Show’s ‘Vintage Manchester’ theme, the Festival Bandstand and Bar will be based on a 1950s street party on a Mancunian village green of yesteryear, complete with bunting, grass, park benches, a postbox, Victorian street lights and a bus stop with a real 1950s coach parked up serving as the festival’s main bar.
And ahead of the Bee in the City public art trail, which opens in Manchester on 23 July, visitors can get up close and personal with one of the huge, bee-shaped sculptures at the Bee in the City Bee Preview on Lower King Street from 10am – 8pm on Saturday and Sunday.
King Street’s retailers will be getting into the festival spirit with a whole host of activities, exclusive discounts and competitions throughout the weekend including complimentary cupcakes and 15% off at DKNY, gifts with purchase and free fizz at Karen Millen, 15% off at White Stuff, a chance to win one of two £250 personal shopping experiences at Hobbs, a free candle with purchases over £75 (while stocks last) at The White Company and be sure to check out the stunning floral window displays at Charles Tyrwhitt and Sharps Bedding.
For those feeling creative, Cath Kidston is hosting free drop-in workshops for kids on both days where they can create their own personalised potted plant flower stakes, while over at Virgin Money Lounge, why not try your hand at ancient Japanese art form Ikebana. In this unique 3 hour workshop, Ikebana tutor, Junko Popham, will provide an introduction into Ikebana (which was born from offering seasonal flowers to Buddha), perform a live demonstration, with the class then invited to create their own arrangement to take home. The workshop takes place at 12.30 on Sunday, costs £40, with just ten places available. To book visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ikebana-japanese-flower-arrangement-workshop-tickets-46006733378
A pop-up flower market courtesy of Manchester floral institution, Flourish, will also be taking residence on King Street throughout the festival selling beautiful bouquets, blooms for your garden and house plants.
FOOD AND DRINK
The festival’s popular King Street Cocktail Trail is back and not to be missed! With a range of summer cocktails created especially for the festival by King Street’s best bars and restaurants and priced at £5 each, try El Gato Negro’s King Street Cooler, Rosso’s Nectar of Manchester, Grill on the Alley’s June Bug, Grand Pacific’s The Winston Churchill, Albert Square Chophouse’s King Street Courtside, Brown’s Heathcote Mojito or a Vimto Garden from Grafene, where Sipsmith’s Black Cab will also be parking up serving the finest boutique gin.
Visit The Coach Bar on the King Street Green – the official Festival Bar and a real 1950s coach – which will be serving up beer, wine, prosecco, spirits and snacks on Lower King Street, open from 11am – 8pm daily.
The Temperance Bar by The Temperance Spirit Company on Upper King Street is the Manchester Flower Show bar and ideal for those seeking a non-alcoholic tipple and perfect for designated drivers. Teetotal drinks from The Temperance Spirit Company are complete, well-rounded, adult-styled soft drinks. Order a Teetotal G‘n’T or a Cuba Libre from the pop-up bar and enjoy in the Virgin Money Lounge Pocket Garden.
The Rapha Club House (off St Ann’s Passage) is a mecca for cycling fans, who love it as much for its coffee and cakes as its workshop and biking kit. For the festival, Rapha will be heading out onto King Street, with food and drink served from its vintage Citroen camionette van. Grab a bite to eat at Chaopraya which is offering four tapas dishes for £11.95 from 12pm-4.30pm on Saturday and all day Sunday or cool off courtesy of Ice Cream Creations, which will be serving up bespoke ice-cream flavours and designs from the cutest of ice-cream vans.
In addition, this year’s festival will play host to The Winner’s Table. This beautifully decorated al fresco table on King Street will enjoy service from the street’s best restaurants, including Grafene, El Gato Negro and Rosso, Mr Thomas’s Chop House, Chaophraya Manchester and Browns. But this is one table that’s unbookable!
To win a table for four enter the festival’s exclusive competition in conjunction with the Manchester Evening News at https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/competitions/win-meal-king-street-restaurants-14671955. There are six dining slots available, three on each day of the festival. Winners will be allocated a date, time and participating restaurant. Other terms and conditions apply.
THE MANCHESTER FLOWER SHOW
Dating back to the 1950s and returning after an absence of 15 years, the Manchester Flower Show is back as part of this year’s King Street Festival. Upper King Street from Diesel up to Hotel Gotham will be turned into a green wonderland, filling parking bays, bus stops, bars and restaurants with flowers, plants and produce, designed by some of the city’s best amateur and professional gardeners, growers, florists and nurseries.
The theme for this first year of the new Manchester Flower Show is ‘Vintage Manchester’ with all entries asked to capture a Mancunian spirit and link to Manchester past. Entries include an hospitality garden complete with grand piano by Flourish and Virgin Money Lounge, an edible flower garden, a garden to support those with mental health needs, a tropical garden that laughs in the face of Manchester’s rainy weather plus floral takeovers by Blossom, Northern Flower, FROG Flowers and Venus Flowers’ floral bus stop. You can also buy plants and products from stalls and displays including Kabloom – makers of seedbombs for guerilla gardeners, Ashton Hydroponics, garden4me and Charles Taylor Garden Furniture.
Three categories – Pocket Garden, Green Takeover, Table Display and Best In Show will be judged by Marcus Chilton-Jones, curator of the new Royal Horticultural Society garden coming to Salford in 2020, with winners announced at 2pm at The Conversation Stage.
Open from 10am – 6pm daily and located on Upper King Street unless otherwise specified, gardens and installations include:
Garden Tropic of Mancunia 53N
Inspired by the former Manchester Botanic Gardens in Old Trafford, this garden created by designer Tom Jameson, will be crammed with tropical plants and trees. Proof that a tropics inspired garden can be created in a small space in Manchester, a city closer to the Arctic Circle than the Equator.
A Mancunian Welcome – The Virgin Money Lounge Hospitality Garden, King Street
Known for hospitality, Virgin Money Lounge has created a garden where you can relax, enjoy a cup of complimentary coffee, and listen to the tinkling of the resident grand piano – decked out with flowers especially for the weekend.
Real Food Wythenshawe’s ‘Blooming Food’ is an edible flowery feast to behold! This garden features pansy, violas, roses, lavender, nasturtiums – All chosen for their beauty, colour and taste.
A Splash of Colour
Demonstrating how you can brighten up even a small space, this garden uses Garden4me GIANT raised planters – a vibrant product in a unique design – which come with a range of great features including a built-in self-regulating reservoir. The reservoir ensures flowers, vegetables and herbs can all thrive and remain healthy, whilst capturing rainwater into the basin for recycling.
Reach Out and Sit down next to Us!
A bright and cheerful garden where you can come and sit down and talk through your problems. Created by staff, volunteers and members of START – a local charity that supports adults with Mental Health needs through creative gardening and arts courses and activities, this Pocket Garden is part of their aim to raise awareness about suicide via the ‘Reach Out’ campaign and will be used in their own garden in Salford after the Festival.
Kabloom’s seedboms are guerrilla gardening grenades filled with wildflower power! These eco-friendly bio-bombs of peace and responsible rebellion are designed to work with nature in the city and support pollinating insects. Throw it and Grow it!
Ashton Hydroponics garden proves that plants don’t require soil to live. Learn about the science behind hydroponic growing that means even if you don’t have a garden you can grow fresh fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers in your own home.
Sharps in Bloom
Sharps Bedrooms & Home Office presents a floral window reminiscent of a summer meadow featuring peonies, gypsy grass, daffodils and roses.
Northern Flower and Stuart Jones Styling Optician Green Collaboration
Northern Flower have taken over Stuart Jones Styling Opticians and given them a green, lush take on their signage for The Manchester Flower Show using moss, foliages and chrysanthemums.
The Wild Cheshire Garden By Frog
This takeover uses the pedestrian crossing on Cross Street as its base, giving shoppers a floral experience inspired by a Cheshire garden whilst waiting to cross from The King Street Festival on Lower King Street to the Manchester Flower Show on Upper King Street.
I Love MCR – A Floral Bus Stop by Venus Flowers
Venus Flowers, the flower engineers of Manchester, will create a floral invention like never seen before, turning the canopy of a boring city centre bus stop into a floral wonderland!
Displays and Demonstrations
IKEBANA – East and West
Ikebana tutor Junko brings Japanese ancient art form of flower arranging to the modern British city of Manchester, introducing its spirit into your living space through display and demonstration on King Street.
A classic design from Chorlton’s Blossom Flowers using seasonal Cornish grown flowers and foliage including Lisianthus, cornflowers, peonies, delphium, larkspur, antirrhinum and sweet william.
The Greenhouse by Nonsense + The Clorofilas
Prestwich-based plant store Nonsense come to the street with a creative display of house plants perfect for modern living and inspired by nature, design and culture. Designer Jeanette Ramirez (The Clorofilas) creates a wooden greenhouse to display these beautiful indoor plants.
Charles Taylor Garden Furniture
Handcrafted on the edge of the Peak District their traditional, handcrafted garden furniture has the true traditional touch and with its ergonomic design, not only is it comfortable, but helps with your posture and increases relaxation. You can test and order furniture at their demo space at The Manchester Flower Show.
Listen to the most interesting tales that Manchester has to tell – from history talks and previews of new projects to demos and tastings from King Street’s best bars and restaurants at The Conversation Stage – new for 2018 and open Saturday and Sunday from 12pm – 8pm on Lower King Street.
Full programme as follows:
Saturday 2 June:
12pm – 1pm
A Whistle-stop History of King Street’s Shops
A history of the shops and people who made King Street the Bond Street of the North with Michala Hulme – a professional genealogist and social historian at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Public History & Heritage.
1pm – 2pm
An Introduction to English Sparkling Wine
Learn the basics of British bubbles with Sam’s Chophouse.
2pm – 2.15pm
Manchester Flower Show winners announced by the RHS’s Marcus Chilton-Jones.
2.15pm – 3pm
A special preview of RHS Garden Bridgewater with curator Marcus Chilton-Jones
Learn more about the RHS’s plans for its stunning new 62 hectare (154 acre) garden in the heart of the North West. The creation of RHS Garden Bridgewater will be the largest gardening project in Europe and the Society’s first new garden in 17 years.
3pm – 4pm
The Pankhurst Garden: Planting A Seed For Gender Equality
Bex Shindler and Elaine de Fries from the Pankhurst Centre discuss the legacy of Emmeline Pankhurst 100 years after the first British Women won the right to vote in the UK and plans for a new garden coming soon to the Pankhurst Centre at 62 Nelson Street, Manchester – the original home of the Pankhurst Family and the place where the first meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union was held.
4pm – 5pm
Grafene Cocktail Masterclass
Check out Grafene’s mixologists at work.
Sunday 3 June
12pm – 1pm
Summer Time Whisky
A tasting session with The Whisky Shop
1pm – 2pm
A Cocktail Masterclass with Brown’s Manchester
Check out Brown’s mixologists at work.
2pm – 3pm
Music, Manchester & More; Dave Haslam discusses his memoirs, ‘Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor’ with Greg Thorpe
Writer and Hacienda DJ, Dave Haslam’s autobiography ‘Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor: Music, Manchester & More’ includes encounters with inspiring characters, including Tony Wilson, David Byrne, Tracey Thorn, and Jonathan Franzen. It’s a beautiful portrait of Manchester as a music city, but it’s not all late-night fun; he also explores the impact of life-shaking events (from the nightmare of the Yorkshire Ripper to the shock of the Manchester Arena terror attack). He’ll be in-conversation with writer, curator and DJ Greg Thorpe.
3pm – 4pm
In conversation with chef Mary Ellen McTague
The chef behind Aumbry talks about her career from Heston Blumenthal to her newer projects including The Great British Menu, special MIF dining events, The Real Junk Food Project, Manchester Art Gallery Café and her latest restaurant venture, The Creameries, in Chorlton.
4pm – 5pm
A brief history of King Street with Jonathan Schofield
In Manchester, history is everywhere – if you know where to look. Historian and tour guide Jonathan Schofield tells the tale of King Street whose stories you perhaps didn’t fully appreciate until now.
The King Street Bandstand is back where the best jazz, swing, soul and folk combine to create the perfect summer soundtrack – Saturday and Sunday from 12-8pm. Grab a drink from El Gato Negro or Manchester’s Sustainable Bar and enjoy live music from the inimitable drag queen chatueuse, Vivienne Lynsey, as well as Magic Beans, Harvey Brittain, Yemi Bolatiwa and 1920s jazz from Dani Sicari and the Easy Rollers.
There’s also free lawn games including giant jenga, chess, croquet, mini golf and good old 1980’s favourite swingball!
TOURS & CULTURE
Steeped in history, discover the hidden stories of King Street with Blue Badge guide and editor at large of Manchester Confidential, Jonathan Schofield’s Walking Tours of King Street. Tours are FREE with no booking required, just meet at Virgin Money Lounge on the hour from 12-3pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Take a trip back in time with the Manchester Histories Festival Trail of information and photography boards on Upper King Street. Dotted around the festival, you’ll uncover facts, images and stories from King Street’s past – including the original location for Manchester’s Town Hall, and the site of the city’s first theatre. And make a beeline for the Bee in the City Bee Preview on Lower King Street, from 10am – 8pm daily, to see one of the huge, bee-shaped sculptures which will be part of the Bee in the City public art trail, which opens in Manchester on 23 July.
For more info on the King Street Festival follow @kingstfestival