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Grass roots revels

Katrina Taylor discovers that Manchester International Festival has a rival – sort of

Published on April 30th 2007.


Grass roots revels

You may have heard the hype recently – we hope you have anyway - about Manchester International Festival (MIF), but there’s an alternative: the Not Manchester International Festival (NMIF).

What’s this all about then? Is it a bunch of lefties with a cause, rebelling about the general state of affairs? Well kind of and who came blame em…….

Gareth McCann the instigator of it all and his like-minded troops thought that though the MIF festival is good, perhaps it didn’t quite hit the spot with the less mainstream among us.

It all began when Gareth planned to put his own play Lovers Talk with MIF, but found that all the acts had been commissioned and thus specially pre-selected. And he wasn’t one of them.

So he decided to Not (with a capital N) be part of the Manchester International Festival, officially. Then he got ambitious and assigned himself a much bigger project: to put on a whole other festival which wouldn’t be part of MIF. Selling the idea to anyone who’d listen, and roping his wife Beth in too, the pair became directors of Not Part of Manchester International Festival. The duo run their own company taking drama and scriptwriting into community groups and schools.

The serious idea behind the jolly subterfuge, is that struggling artistic and creative individuals crave to be recognised. NMIF will celebrate everything already going on in Manchester at the time of the bigger festival but is desperate to encourage other acts to showcase themselves. This will give less well-known artists a platform by being an open event in any media genre and to get them known without the costs and limitations of the MIF.

As Gareth says, ‘We’re not only celebrating those things already happening in Manchester that make it such a good place but, also, an artist’s need, desire and ability to get their art seen by people, no matter the cost.’

Manchester is going to be buzzing with journos and critics between 28 June to 15 July because of the bigger festival so it should be a great time to see and be seen. NMIF can offer a less slick cultural experience: another window on what Manchester is really all about.

At present NMIF are trying to get more and more people involved, so if you think you’ve got the voice, or know someone who has, you’re just that little bit special, and want to use this opportunity to get involved, check their website here

Artists can receive a weekly e-mail with listings, news and messages running through till the end of the Festival. Unlike other events there are no artistic criteria you must fulfil before being deemed fit to be seen by the public. It’s a free for all, giving a leg up and redressing the balance for the not so well known acts.

The result might be absolute bedlam or exciting. It could be full of tat or turn up some gems. If nothing else it fits Manchester’s maverick reputation as a place of bolshy independence perfectly.

Sample acts include Lovers Talk, a love story for the modern age, at the Briton’s Protection, Great Bridgewater Street, 7.30pm, 29 June, Welcome to the New World, for rock and roll, DJs and dancing girls, at Joshua Brooks, Princess Street, 8pm, 1 July, and Open Mic, acoustic acts, at The Castle, Oldham Street, 2 July, 8pm.
Like we said it could be bedlam.

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Not ALL FMApril 30th 2007.

Listen out to ALL FM on 96.9 for coverage of this event from tomorrow. Or Monday. Depends when I get off my arse.

pat karneyand kathy crottyApril 30th 2007.

Sounds great idea to us---Manchester is big enough for both.Keep us posted --really like stuff like this.

GarethApril 30th 2007.

Thanks Spawny.And thanks MC for the coverage. The hits just keep on coming (web ones that is)We'll be in touch

SpawnyApril 30th 2007.

I think this Not Manchester International Festival is a great idea and will be a huge success! Much better than the corporately promoted clap-trap that the actual Manchester International Festival is sure to be!

garethApril 30th 2007.

Hi Again. Just to say you can keep yourself up-to-date by subscribing to our newsletter. Find out how on the 'Get Involved Now' page on our website.

squiffydanApril 30th 2007.

Having myself previously entered for a similar festival elsewhere and not qualified, I think this is a great idea to give a chance to new emerging talents that don't necessarily conform to the rules and regulations. Brings yet another dimension to the city. Can't wait.

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