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The Canal Festival 2013 at Piccadilly Basin

It's free. It's all weekend. It's by a canal. Funny that

Written by . Published on September 1st 2013.

The Canal Festival 2013 at Piccadilly Basin

CANALS. They’re well good.

Manchester’s got them, Venice has a grand old one, Panama’s got a particularly big one, Amsterdam has 100km of them and even Bangkok has its Klongs - home of the Klingons.

Two films are to be shown at the festival’s ‘float in’ film screen (you won’t need a boat) complete with deck chairs and classic cinema snacks from 6pm on the Saturday and 8pm on the Sunday

It was in Greater Manchester, as innovative as ever, where the world’s first and fastest modern canal, the Bridgewater, was completed in 1765. It was also from Greater Manchester where the very first transpennine canal, the Rochdale Canal, became the first waterway to link the west and east coasts in 1805.

While the most audacious of all C19 British engineering projects, the 56km eight metre deep Ship Canal from the city centre to the River Mersey, completed in 1894, took 16,000 navvies six years to dig out - that’s a lot of beer, meat and punching.

The Canal Festival 2012Crowds at a previous Canal Festival

Needless to say, Manchester has a history of good canaling.

And if the citizens of Basque town Lekeitio can hold a festival dedicated to hanging a greased up goose by the neck from a rope suspended over a river and take it in turns to try and tug the poor things head off - then Manchester can hold a mini-festival dedicated to canalside culture.

The remarkably perverse 'Day of the Goose' in Lekeito (nothing to do with Manchester's Canal Festival 2013 but worth a post for its utter absurdity):

Home of Canal Festival 2013: Brownsfield Mill, Piccadilly BasinHome of Canal Festival 2013: Brownsfield Mill, Piccadilly Basin

Following on from the success of last year, CityCo and the Piccadilly Partnership have teamed up with Don’t Panic, Skiddle and newly-fangled NQ creative space and bugger-me-if-you-can-find-it venue 2022NQ to host another year of this Piccadilly Basin based festival.

The event, running from Saturday 7 September to Sunday 8 September, will include a range of free entertainment from 12pm–10pm each day.

The line-up includes DJ sets from XFM DJs Clint Boon and Gareth Brooks and performances from some of the city’s most talented new bands.


Black LightsBlack Lights


As well as Manchester’s most popular DJs hitting the decks including Pasta Paul, Phil Beckett, Leggit, Disco Mums and Dance Lady Dance, there will be a hand-picked programme of live music, showcasing exciting local talent. Manchester bands taking the stage will include Thugs on Wolves, Black Lights, Songs for Walter, Horses on the Move and Literature Thieves.

Two films are to be shown at the festival’s ‘float in’ film screen (you won’t need a boat) complete with deck chairs and classic cinema snacks from 6pm on the Saturday and 8pm on the Sunday (The Saturday film is to be of a Disney tone while Sunday’s film will be Ang Lee’s visually stunning The Life of Pi).

The Canal Festival isn't all at night y'know, the photos are thoughThe Canal Festival isn't all at night y'know, the photos are though

Pop-up food stalls from Kosmonaut, Ning, Las Paellaras, Stretza and Takk will serve gourmet hot dogs, burgers, paella, noodles, woodfired pizzas, cakes and coffee and 2022NQ will be hosting a licensed bar with indoor seating.

Anyone know how to work a lock?Anyone know how to work a lock?Twelve local illustrators and street artists, including Barney Ibbotson, Arisu, Stephanie Morris, Chris Howker, Emma Reynolds, Rose Whittingham and Generic Greeting will be working all weekend designing one-off pieces of artwork that will be displayed in the 2022NQ bar then auctioned off for the Forever Manchester charity.

On Saturday night there will be free entry at an after party at 2022NQ from 10pm-3am with Dance Lady Dance and Disco Mums going head to head on the decks.

Alexandra King, Cityco’s Partnership Director said: “Last summer’s Canal Festival was a great at success and attracted thousands of people to come into the Basin to enjoy the space.  The waterside spot makes a fantastic place for outdoor performances. The Canal Festival this year will also include other free family entertainment which we’ll be announcing shortly so watch this space.”


Canal Festival 2013 musical line-up:

Saturday 7th September

12pm – 2pm – Pasta Paul (Kosmonaut)

2pm – 3pm – Thugs on Wolves

3pm – 4pm – Good for the Soul (Funkademia)

4pm – 5pm – Black Lights

5pm – 6pm – Clint Boon (XFM)

7.30pm – 8.45pm – Gareth Brooks (XFM)

8.45pm – 10pm – Disco Mums (Electric Elephant)


Sunday 8th September

12pm – 2pm – Pasta Paul (Kosmonaut)

2pm – 3pm – Songs for Walter

3pm – 4pm – Leggit (The Beat Club)

4pm – 5pm – Horses on the Move

5pm – 6pm – Phil Beckett (Bop Local)

6pm – 7pm – Literature Thieves

7pm – 8pm – Dance Lady Dance (Deaf Institute/Common)

(Please note this programme may be subject to change)

The event is FREE and non-ticketed. 

Brownsfield Mill is situated by the Rochdale Canal, close to the Urban Exchange shopping centre (Aldi, M&S Outlet, Go outdoors and Pure Gym). 

The entrance to the Canal Festival site is via the Port Street TCCP car park (M1 2EQ) near Great Ancoats Street.

All day parking is available on Town Centre Car Parks Dale Street car park for £5.00. 

More information can be found here.

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