The King Street Festival returns this weekend and will see the street’s premium stores, restaurants and hotels come together and bring music, art, food, games and a host of exclusive in-store events to the people of Manchester.
There will be al-fresco dining, exclusive in-store events, complimentary gifts alongside free fizz and tastings, as well as a new for 2017 art garden with street sketching workshops. On top of this, head to Upper King Street where its parking bays will transformed into a series of pocket parks featuring activities including mini TED talks, classical music, pop up gardens and pizza making.
The festival’s bandstand will return showcasing the best blues, swing and jazz bands in town while King Street’s rich history will be revealed during guided tours throughout the weekend. Here’s a more detailed outline of what to expect:
Manchester’s most historic department store, House of Fraser, will go back in time to the 1930s with an interactive window display created in collaboration with Manchester based prop house Stockyard North and themeing specialists Seasoned Professionals, celebrating the venerable store’s illustrious past. Staff dressed in period costume will welcome shoppers to observe the windows whilst experiencing a slice of the building’s history. Tom’s Champagne Bar will be serving vintage cocktails and champagne inspired by the 1930’s heritage window.
Head to Cath Kidston for 15% off all purchases over £35 all weekend and lots of crafting fun and The White Stuff for free face painting and goodie bags and champagne treats from Epernay for adults!
Beauty buffs won’t be disappointed with complimentary healthy skin checks, goody bags with £50 spend and cocktails by Be At One at heritage skincare specialist Kiehl’s vintage styled store, free skincare consultations and makeovers all weekend at The Body Shop and 20% off a cut and colour and luxury moisture-boosting treatments throughout the weekend at Vidal Sassoon (quote King Street Festival when booking).
Manchester’s popular florist, Flourish, will be taking part in the festival with an exclusive pop-up stall for shoppers to pick the best blooms and plants to decorate their homes, while at Bravissimo customers can enjoy a free glass of Prosecco with every bra fitting.
DKNY has a whole host of activities on offer on Saturday, including a caricature artist where customers can get their portrait digitally drawn, a Prosecco bar and complimentary cupcakes, alongside 20% off purchases and limited edition canvas tote bags with any purchase on offer throughout the weekend.
Check out the third floor keystones at Jigsaw’s Grade II listed store which detail some befittingly stylish female and male heads, enjoy a made to measure service and 20% off products from the new summer collection at Diverso and discounts on Booth and Bruce sunglasses ranges at Framed Opticians or head to Watches of Switzerland, which sells some of the city’s most luxurious watches, for complimentary champagne and strawberries for every customer.
Food & Drink
Treat yourself to a Cocktail Trail down King Street and try the exclusive range of speciality drinks available from Manchester’s top restaurants and bars. The trail will run from Rosso down to Crazy Pedro’s, showcasing cocktails inspired by King Street and Manchester city centre.
Experience the classic English summer at Sipsmith’s Lawn Club hosted by Grafene as Pall Mall Court gets a makeover. With an artificial lawn, outdoor games (croquet, boules, swingball), picnic area and a pop up Sipsmith gin bar, head inside for food or stay on the terrace for sunshine, DJs and the finest boutique gin.
If you need to cool down, Ice-cream creations will be on hand to help. Enjoy an amazing artisan ice, or an ice cream cupcake from the cutest ice-cream van in Manchester, or stop by All Bar One’s pop-up outdoor Mojito Bar and even mix your own at their cocktail making class.
Take a break from shopping and sit back in one of the festival’s deckchairs and enjoy a drink from the Bubbles and Bale Cocktail and Sparkling Wine Bar, which will be serving a range of delicious sparkling wines and cocktails out of a Morris Minor Traveller, as well as soft drinks and bar snacks.
Rapha will be bringing its Coffee Camionette to King Street especially for the festival, so shoppers can relax and enjoy coffee and cake before heading into the store (just around the corner on St. Ann’s court).
For those who have worked up an appetite, there are a number of the city’s favourite restaurants to choose from. El Gato Negro which offers some of the best Spanish tapas the city has to offer over three floors, will expanded its seating areas, to offer a Charcuterie and food & drink demos, while Grill on the Alley will be serving 2 for 1 cocktails and 20% off food while hosting live music entertainment.
Suri, the newest addition to King Street, will also be extending its seating in the sun for the festival, and serving customers Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired sharing plates and Patisserie Valerie will satisfy any sweet cravings with afternoon tea for two for just £25.
Music will play a big part in the festival, with last year’s bandstand returning with a wonderful live line-up, featuring the gospel glory of Voices Beyond, 1940s-style girl group Bobbysocks, the teenage jazz singer and pianist Harvey Brittain, retro festival favourites Dr. Butler’s Medicine Hatstand Band, the raucous folk tunes of the Rubber Duck Orchestra, and the speak easy hot jazz and blues of 52 Skidoo.
Tee off at the festival’s stylish crazy golf course featuring fashion and history obstacles throughout King Street and check out the parking bays on Upper King Street to see their radical transformation into pocket parks. From 11am – 6pm, each bay will be transformed into a mini oasis – with ‘happenings’ that range from shoe shining and outdoor dining to mini TED talks on lobster fishing (courtesy of Burger & Lobster), pop-up gardens (from Dig the City gold award-winning gardeners), pizza-making from Pizza Express and classical tunes from Virgin Money Lounge’s grand piano.
Capture the day on paper with a little helping hand from Urban sketcher Liz Ackerley, who will be hosting a street sketch master-class. Best known for heading the Manchester arm of global street sketch group, Sketchers, Liz will be drawing scenes from the festival throughout the weekend and will share her tips on getting the hustle and bustle down on paper. Draw whatever takes your fancy, hand your pad back to Liz or share on social media to create a crowd-sourced picture of King Street. Hour long workshops will take place at 11am, 2pm and 3pm on both days or drop in between these times for a few top tips.
Tours & Culture
Imagine by Alex Echo
Don’t miss the launch of exclusive exhibition ‘Imagine’ by artist Alex Echo at Castle Fine Art. Located on King Street, the exhibition launch will feature a beautiful arts garden filled with sculptures and large artworks with Manchester’s hidden gem, Arcane, on hand to serve inventive cocktails inspired by the artists’ creations.
Historic City Tour with Jonathan Schofield
Manchester is a city that wears its past with pride. Polished cars may purr up Deansgate and new-builds might impress passers-by with all their glass and steel glory, but this is a city that has seen it all before. Shops and restaurants, even libraries and galleries, sit inside the monuments to Manchester’s former lives – the once grand banks and grander homes, the old warehouses and civic spaces – while everyone who has ever walked the city’s streets has done so in the shadow of its historic giants.
In Manchester, history is everywhere – if you know where to look. Historian and tour guide Jonathan Schofield takes you from King Street to the cathedral, passing buildings and landmarks you may well walk by, but whose stories you perhaps didn’t fully appreciate until now.
FREE Saturday tours at 12 noon, 1.30pm & 4.30pm.
FREE Sunday tours at 1pm, 2.30pm & 4pm
Meet at Virgin Money Lounge.
King Street Heritage Trail and Heritage Guide Books
For those who want to take a self guided tour, pick up one of the festival’s specially created Heritage guide books from Virgin Money Lounge (and other King Street shops) and take yourself around the historic heart of the city. Or you can browse the heritage information and photo boards created in conjunction with Manchester Histories that bring out the secret histories of each of King Street’s buildings.
Events take place between 11am and 8pm on both days unless otherwise specified.
For more information go to www.kingstreetfestival.com