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Manchester Day review

Wonderful procession goes down a storm - but next time let’s keep out the engines

Published on June 21st 2010.

Manchester Day review

The Manchester Day Parade went down a storm this Sunday.

Here at Confidential we loved the idea.

We thought this way of getting schools, businesses and community groups involved, and building city identity and pride was just the ticket.

But we had the fear.

We worried that this might turn into one of those crap British small town processions which even big cities like us sometimes suffer. We worried that the floats and costumes might look amateurish, a half-hearted bluetac and sellotape affair. Hardly Rio. Not Notting Hill.

We were wrong. The Manchester Day Parade was damned good.

In fact it was wonderful – literally full of wonders.

Commissioned by Manchester City Council and produced by Walk The Plank, the theme was ‘Out of this World’, a play on words celebrating the city’s global influence and its gloriously diverse citizenry. The costumes here and the floats underlined this marvellously.

There are lots of nice stories associated with the parade, such as the vast Manchester bee – Manchester’s animal symbol – being the idea of Broadhurst Primary School pupil Victory Idaho.

There were some good lines from the assembled folk in Albert Square too. As a promenading group of Star Wars characters passed by, Councillor Pat Karney, sporting face paint, quipped, “There go the licensing committee.” Cllr Karney has been a major champion of the parade.

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Mark Hackett, was in fine fettle too and visibly moved. “What a perfect start to the Manchester Day idea. Let’s build on this. I’m feeling very, very proud.”

We all were.

One tiny criticism might be with the use of the occasional internal combustion engine. A key note of this parade was that people weren’t overwhelmed by the smell of carbon monoxide, unlike with so many of these things. There were only four or five vehicles involved which made it much more of an intimate Manchester affair.

Click to watch the video

This also meant that vehicle engines couldn’t be used to power generators banging out amplified music. Again this made the occasion much more human, there was none of that ‘us’, the performers, against ‘them’, the audience. Along the route you saw people in the procession laughing and joking with the people who’d come to watch, this happened because the sound levels allowed them to do so. It was charming. This should be built on next time so it’s all acoustic and all human. The only vehicles should be horse-drawn. For instance we didn’t need a police meat wagon to follow the police officers, sounding its siren (not a sound for a party, unless it’s being raided), but we could have had police horses. We celebrate so many firsts in this city (click here), let’s be first with this as well.

Still, this was a bloody good start to the idea of Manchester Day. In time the aim should be to make this the biggest procession in the Kingdom. It really is one to run with.

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

Burt CodeineJune 21st 2010.

Totally agree (David Ottewell's comment in the MEN is spot on also).
I was preparing to be underwhelmed but the opposite happened. So many people yet many friends and family had no inkling this was taking place (I guess better marketing - the website was almost always slow or down - would double that figure). Give it the same 'humph' as the MIF and make a weekend/festival out of it. Puts the Irish festival and Chinese New Year to shame I reckon...let's see this grow and grow folks.

Sir William SiemenJune 21st 2010.

What I loved about the parade was how completely non-corporate the event was. All too often these type of events get envolped in "subtle" corporate messages.

Leigh ScottJune 21st 2010.

It was a nice day.I'm looking forward to seeing Mancon's float next year :@)

To the pointJune 21st 2010.

Great pictures. Missed it. Shame.

Temporary HeroJune 21st 2010.

Great to see a parade that didn't stink of diesel for a change, but why did the MEN have a truck? Let's have it completely truck free next year though eh, let the three people in masks walk around instead, much better.

Simone13024June 22nd 2010.

Whilst I loved the parade and was glasd the weather stayed nice, a few are going overboard. Pat Karney said “The parade was up there with New York, Rio and anything Sydney can do.". Except Pat it wasn't, it was good but let's not get silly, makes us sound like a little backwater of yocals, cringeworthy. Anyway, a lot of fun was had and I too would be happy to see a ManCon float next year, just try and do a bit better than the 'thought up in 20 minutes, executed in 10' MEN float.

Jonathan Schofield - EditorJune 22nd 2010.

Simone, that's why we never said that about New York and why we didn't use that quote. Nor should the MEN have done so. But don't be too down and don't become one of those people who call themselves a realist which means they're miserable gits. I know you're better than that. This was a very very good parade and a very very good start.

Simone13024June 22nd 2010.

As I said, it was very good, we enjoyed it. However his comments, which many will have read, make it all a bit silly. I'm one of life's enternal optimists Jonathan, which is why I'm flying to South Africa on Thursday. Don't forget that float for next year.

DescartesJune 22nd 2010.

What's that, MEN in hyperbole shocker? Didn't see that coming ;)

I had a great day, well done to everyone involved that put so much effort into the floats - can only imagine it'll be bigger and better next year.

MIchele HJune 22nd 2010.

That's my clever cousin's peacock there. Forget engines, what Off our Trolleys can do with a shopping trolley is incredible!

Mike AmesburyJune 24th 2010.

Some really positive comments, it was a great first and will grow in stature over time. I was particularly pleased by the creativity and quality of the majority of floats and the size of the crowd that turned out to watch the parade.
Cllr Mike A

Smyth HarperJune 24th 2010.

Simone and Jonathan, a participant in the parade had a letter in the MEN today saying that she lived in Sydney for seven years and the parade put their Mardi Gras in the shade. The New York thanksgiving parade is a cavalcade of commercialism.

I've never seen anything like what I saw on Sunday - and I have seen a hell of a lot of parades from San Francisco Pride to the Notting Hill carnival - and it really was amazing.

A parade like that does put us on a par with the best in the world. What's wrong with saying it?

AnonymousJune 30th 2010.

How much did it cost? and who paid?

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