Manchester’s most fashionable summer event, the King Street Festival, returns this weekend celebrating the past, present and future of Manchester’s iconic, historic street.
On Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd June, King Street, which is home to over 50 stores, restaurants and hotels will be filled with live music, alfresco dining and pop-up bars, alongside a whole host of events and experiences.
New for 2018 are The Conversation Stage featuring Dave Haslam on his days DJing at the Hacienda, alongside history talks and food and drink tastings, and the Manchester Flower Show, a popular and prestigious annual event dating back to the 1950s, which returns as part of the festival following a 15 year hiatus. Visitors can expect a floral paradise of pocket gardens, green installations and hanging baskets alongside a showcase of the very best cut-flowers and plants.
Inspired by the Manchester Flower Show’s ‘Vintage Manchester’ theme, the Festival Bandstand and Bar will be based on a 1950s street party on a Mancunian village green of yesteryear, complete with bunting, grass, park benches, a postbox, Victorian street lights and a bus stop with a real 1950s coach parked up serving as the festival’s main bar.
And ahead of the Bee in the City public art trail, which opens in Manchester on 23 July, visitors can get up close and personal with one of the huge, bee-shaped sculptures at the Bee in the City Bee Preview on Lower King Street from 10am – 8pm on Saturday and Sunday.
King Street’s retailers will be getting into the festival spirit with a whole host of activities, exclusive discounts and competitions throughout the weekend including complimentary cupcakes and 15% off at DKNY, gifts with purchase and free fizz at Karen Millen, 15% off at White Stuff, a chance to win one of two £250 personal shopping experiences at Hobbs, a free candle with purchases over £75 (while stocks last) at The White Company and be sure to check out the stunning floral window displays at Charles Tyrwhitt and Sharps Bedding.
For those feeling creative, Cath Kidston is hosting free drop-in workshops for kids on both days where they can create their own personalised potted plant flower stakes, while over at Virgin Money Lounge, why not try your hand at ancient Japanese art form Ikebana.
A pop-up flower market courtesy of Manchester floral institution, Flourish, will also be taking residence on King Street throughout the festival selling beautiful bouquets, blooms for your garden and house plants.
The festival’s popular King Street Cocktail Trail is back and not to be missed! With a range of summer cocktails created especially for the festival by King Street’s best bars and restaurants and priced at £5 each.
Visit The Coach Bar on the King Street Green – the official Festival Bar and a real 1950s coach – which will be serving up beer, wine, prosecco, spirits and snacks on Lower King Street, open from 11am – 8pm daily.
The Temperance Bar by The Temperance Spirit Company on Upper King Street is the Manchester Flower Show bar and ideal for those seeking a non-alcoholic tipple and perfect for designated drivers. Teetotal drinks from The Temperance Spirit Company are complete, well-rounded, adult-styled soft drinks. Order a Teetotal G‘n’T or a Cuba Libre from the pop-up bar and enjoy in the Virgin Money Lounge Pocket Garden.
The Rapha Club House (off St Ann’s Passage) is a mecca for cycling fans, who love it as much for its coffee and cakes as its workshop and biking kit. For the festival, Rapha will be heading out onto King Street, with food and drink served from its vintage Citroen camionette van.
Grab a bite to eat at Chaopraya which is offering four tapas dishes for £11.95 from 12pm-4.30pm on Saturday and all day Sunday or cool off courtesy of Ice Cream Creations, which will be serving up bespoke ice-cream flavours and designs from the cutest of ice-cream vans.
Dating back to the 1950s and returning after an absence of 15 years, the Manchester Flower Show is back as part of this year’s King Street Festival. Upper King Street from Diesel up to Hotel Gotham will be turned into a green wonderland, filling parking bays, bus stops, bars and restaurants with flowers, plants and produce, designed by some of the city’s best amateur and professional gardeners, growers, florists and nurseries.
The theme for this first year of the new Manchester Flower Show is ‘Vintage Manchester’ with all entries asked to capture a Mancunian spirit and link to Manchester past. Entries include an hospitality garden complete with grand piano by Flourish and Virgin Money Lounge, an edible flower garden, a garden to support those with mental health needs, a tropical garden that laughs in the face of Manchester’s rainy weather plus floral takeovers by Blossom, Northern Flower, FROG Flowers and Venus Flowers’ floral bus stop.
You can also buy plants and products from stalls and displays including Kabloom – makers of seedbombs for guerilla gardeners, Ashton Hydroponics, garden4me and Charles Taylor Garden Furniture.
Three categories – Pocket Garden, Green Takeover, Table Display and Best In Show will be judged by Marcus Chilton-Jones, curator of the new Royal Horticultural Society garden coming to Salford in 2020, with winners announced at 2pm at The Conversation Stage.
Listen to the most interesting tales that Manchester has to tell – from history talks and previews of new projects to demos and tastings from King Street’s best bars and restaurants at The Conversation Stage – new for 2018 and open Saturday and Sunday from 12pm – 8pm on Lower King Street.
Highlights of the weekend include A Whistle-stop History of King Street’s Shops with MMU genealogist and social historian Michala Hulme, An Introduction to English Sparkling Wine with Sam’s Chophouse and a Grafene Cocktail Masterclass.
Sunday will see a Conversation with chef Mary Ellen McTague, Music, Manchester & More with Dave Haslam as well as The King Street Bandstand and free lawn games all weekend.
For more info on the King Street Festival follow @kingstfestival