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New Islington Festival

There will be urban folky frolics a plenty at this weekend's free festival

Published on September 4th 2008.

New Islington Festival

For the uninitiated, urban folk is what you get when you mix traditional folk culture and entertainment with its contemporary, urban counterparts. If you're having difficulties imagining what that might look like, get yourself down to New Islington Festival this weekend.

You'll find all sorts of strange hybrids that mix elements of the village fête with those of a street festival: there will be Yarn Bombing (also known as graffiti knitting), barge-pimping (as in canal barges) with artists from Sketch City, and a musical collaboration between The Boat Band and Rhythm n Grime. They'll be playing a twenty-first century rendition of the Manchester Hornpipe, which we're intrigued to hear.

The festival will take place in Cotton Field Park and on Old Mill Street, where new talent from the city's music scene will play to the crowds. Acts confirmed so far include The Mouse Outfit, The Jessie Rose Trip, Katie Ware, Tim and Sam's the Tim and Sam Band, and Matt Stalker and the Fables.

If you prefer energetic dancing to vaguely nodding in time to the music, you'll more likely be found outside the Unity Radio bus which will be pumping out 'the latest urban sounds'. Also on Old Mill Street, there will be Gulliver's Boombox – a giant ghetto blaster playing soul, funk, disco, and rap. Dance performers Company Fierce will be here, showing the evolution of dance moves through the decades.

Nearby, there'll be the Spectangular – an all day programme of short film and photography from Comma Film and Kiosk Gallery, including specially commissioned premières from Manchester film-makers.

At Cotton Field, crafty types will be gathering to take part in a public knit-a-thon led by the Kings Arms Knitting Club. The aforementioned Yarn Bombing and Pimp My Barge are happening here. There's also canal craft, storytelling, entertainers, barbecues and urban folk-inspired drinks – think real ales, cider and specially blended cocktails.

The festival takes place between 2pm and 8pm this Saturday (6 September) and it's free to get in. New Islington is just outside the city centre, not far from Piccadilly station. Go to the festival's website: www.newislington.co.uk for more information and better directions.

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