Events in 2010<< View Complete Event List
With an official capacity of 20000 Parklife may well be the biggest ticketed event Platt Fields has ever seen. Some ridiculously lucky sunshine beamed down on the thousands of students and other festival-goers who queued through the Rose Garden (and up the road) to see a huge line-up, including a lot of DJ sets.
The music wasn't quite as varied as the previous Mad Ferret Festivals, and lacked the smaller stages with local fun bands but perhaps there isn't room for that kind of character in an event of this scale, and most people seemed to be enjoying themselves anyway!
The Mad Ferret gang did have an area, with one smaller stage but all we saw there was some relatively unfunny comedy and then the stage seemed to close for the night. However, the Silent Disco, crazy furnishings and Trof Bar with dance floor made this area easily qualify as a high point of the festival (not to mention the farm animals and the elephant!).
We had a great response to the Flashmob Maypole (as you can see in the photos), and the regular untangling sessions were well worth it - we hope the dancers enjoyed themselves!
Many local residents commented on how well the traffic was managed - the organisers encouraged festival-goers to use public transport and worked hard with the signage and cones to minimise local disruption. We did have a couple of complaints about noise, but we also had comments about how little noise there was.
There were some mix-ups with access which soured it for some, and the football caused a bit of a crush due to the location of the big screen, but overall a lot of thought and effort had gone into the organisation, resulting in a great day out for a huge number of people. Of course the sun helped too…
THE BIG 100! Centenary Festival
07 May - 09 May
Three years ago the Friends of Platt Fields vowed that the park’s centenary in 2010 “would not pass unnoticed”. Last weekend’s centenary celebrations showed the truth of that, as thousands of families piled into the park to enjoy entertainment provided throughout the weekend. The cold wind appeared to daunt few and there were plenty of picnics all over the grass as families of up to 20 people of all ages celebrated together.
As promised, the heart of the festival was the re-creation of the legendary bandstand in its original place – now circled with mature trees, which gave the area a delightful intimate feel. Every afternoon, bands of very description took up their instruments and played – Blackley Brass Band, Alyss Rose Jazz duo, Muzuzu South African kwela, vaudeville, flamenco, top-hat and tails good-time music … and (especially because Saturday was the 65th anniversary of VE Day) a 1940’s Forces Sweetheart, Maria Manchester, who sang songs from Vera Lynn and the days of jitterbug, to crowds that must have included great-grandchildren of people who may have experienced those songs during the war. One elderly member of the audience told us he had been in Platt Fields on VE Day in 1945. And dozens of visitors told tales of their childhoods in the park, games they played, loves they had won (and lost!) and how important the space had been for them.
Alongside the bandstand, street theatre attracted large crowds – circus troupes, a glorious comic tennis match that involved dozens of children as ball boys with a difference and, highlight for many, the emergence of a giant ominous lobster behind a poor unsuspecting desert-island castaway. Equally engaging were a host of strolling characters – a ‘temperance couple’ from 1910, who returned horrified at the decadent behaviour of today’s park visitors; a troupe of pink-suited air hostesses with the mostesses (and the bawdiest lines); lollipop ladies marshalling the children on spacehoppers; the daftest mariarchi duo this side of the pennines; and the fabulous gorillas, who were mobbed every time they emerged from their hiding place in the woods.
The centenary began in warm sunshine on Friday May 7th, when the Lord mayor Cllr Alison Firth ‘cut ‘ a huge silver and gold ribbon across the front of the bandstand, which prompted a fanfare from the silk-clad Bollywood Brass Band, who then proceded down the steps to lead the invited guests a few minutes walk to face Platt Hall, where a centenary oak tree had been planted. As she threw a spadeful of earth into the hole, the bell at Holy Trinity Platt church began to chime the centenary, at 3.30pm prompt. Local resident Mona Forbes remembers her mother telling her how the bells rang out from all the local churches on the Opening Day. She recalled that St James’s church rang a full peal of bells – which are now housed in the belfry at Holy Innocents, Fallowfield – and which also rang for the centenary on Tuesday 11th May.
Back at the bandstand the most moving moment of the afternoon occurred as local poet Mike Garry read out for the very first time his ‘Poem for Platt Fields’ – written to commemorate the centenary. A significant number of visitors had tears in their eyes, as he dedicated his poem (as park founder William Royle dedicated the park, in 1910) “to the children”. Mike read his poem each day from the bandstand over the weekend, and it will appear in the publication the Friends of Platt Fields are working on, that will be completed at the end of 2010 – “Platt Fields: the first 100 Years”, a compilation of stories, photos, images and memories collected up over the last few years.
The Friends of Plat Fields were determined to cater for everyone, and during the evenings a glorious stripy marquee was used to present music from around the world. Friday night was Eastern Evening, opened by a joyous performance by the Bollywood Brass Band, followed by Arabic, Egyptian, Kurdish and Indian Music. The undoubted highlight of Friday was the stunning Hamit Walia Trio – mesmerising tabla and keyboards supporting the nightingale-soaring melodies of Indian flutes. Residents at the flats across the road came down the following day asking for CDs as they had so enjoyed listening to the sounds carried on the breeze.
And Saturday night was dance night – a succession of bands performing exciting jubilant music had the audience on their feet 15 minutes after the evening began! African rhythms from Alafia followed by a stonking set from reggae maestro Basil Gabbidon (founder of legendary 80’s band Steel Pulse) ‘s new band; and ending with 10piece salsa, mambo, samba and all things latin from Diaspora.
The evening was completed with the launching of 10 beautiful ‘sky lanterns’ into the night sky, one for each decade of the life of Platt Fields, Manchester’s “Peoples Park”
And by Monday, all had gone, leaving one beautiful donation – a 3D chalk painting on the ground by the festival site, fireworks rising from a volcano into the sky.
Reopening of Platt Hall and Friends Exhibition
Leap Into Spring & Holi Festival of Colour
Unveiling of the Boathouse Clock
The shiny new clock on the Boathouse Clock has been installed, and now officially unveiled with much celebration. Check us out on the BBC News Website!.
January Snow and the Snowman Gallery!
05 Jan - 10 Jan