Every year, I compile a list of dates for the biggest festivals in the Chorlton area of Manchester along with a brief overview of what you can expect to find there.
Here’s the 2016 Chorlton Festival Calendar.
Chorlton Big Green Happening 2016
Saturday, 23 April 2016 (1pm – 1030pm)The Chorlton Big Green Happening, the successor to Chorlton’s Big Green Festival, is back after taking a year off in 2015.
This year’s celebration of sustainable living is being promoted in some quarters as the Chorlton & Whalley Range Big Green Happening 2016 to recognise the fact that activities are split between St Clement’s Church on High Lane in Chorlton and the Carlton Club on Carlton Road in neighbouring Whalley Range.
Admittedly most of the action takes place in and around St Clement’s Church with live music, food and drink, stalls and so on in the daytime, followed by a varied entertainment programme inside the church including live music, dance classes and the Stitched-up Big Green Fashion Show from 6pm – 1030pm (early bird tickets £5).
Those with more stamina than me can then make their way over to the after-party at the Carlton Club.
Bootleg Beer Festival 2016
Sunday, 1 May 2016 (Midday – late)A new addition to the Chorlton Festival Calendar, the Bootleg Beer Festival is being held by the Horse & Jockey pub and its in-house microbrewery Bootleg Brewing Co on Chorlton Green.
The Bootleg Beer Festival 2016 is promising a day packed with entertainment. There’ll be an outside bar serving ales brewed onsite between midday and 9pm, a chance to make your own cider or apple juice with the Moss Cider Project from midday till 4pm, brewery tours, food, giant games on the green, live music throughout the day in the pub and on the terrace, and a DJ set in the evening.
Bootleg Brewing Co is also brewing a special beer for the big day. Interestingly, the exact type of beer (fruity, lager, hoppy or dark) is being decided in true democratic fashion by a public vote on social media.
Chorlton Arts Festival 2016
20 – 29 May 2016Now in its 15th year, the annual Chorlton Arts Festival is firmly established as Chorlton’s biggest festival.
The 2016 instalment is working with more than 30 venues across Chorlton. Expect everything from live music and comedy to visual arts and performance with a mix of paid-for and free events.
There’s also a welcome return for the Chorlton Weekender, the mini music festival within the festival proper. This year’s headline acts are Ren Harvieu and Romeo Stodart (The Magic Numbers) at St Ninian’s Church on Egerton Road South on Friday, 27 May (tickets £15 or £13 concessions), Owiny Sigoma Band at St Clement’s Church on Saturday, 28 May (tickets £10 or £8 concessions), and PINS at St Clement’s Church on Sunday, 29 May (tickets £10 or £8 concessions).
A Chorlton Weekender Wristband costs £25 and gives you access to all three gigs.
Manchester Vegan Fair 2016
Saturday, 28 May 2016 (11am – 5pm)The annual Manchester Vegan Fair is being held for the third time at the Chorlton Irish Club on High Lane.
Organised by Chorlton-based charity Vegan Organic Network, more than 3,000 people attended in 2015. The 2016 edition aims to go one better with more than 70 stalls, live music and poetry, vegan speed dating, wind-solar rickshaw rides, films, talks, workshops, and of course lots of vegan food and ale.
Tickets are £3 but kids go free.
Chorlton Open Gardens 2016
Sunday, 26 June 2016Chorlton Open Gardens is an annual daytime event in which gardeners across Chorlton throw open their doors for a good cause.
More than 30 sites took part in the 2015 Chorlton Open Gardens, with most attracting over 300 visitors.
Members of the public pay £5 in aid of Freedom from Torture to buy a programme from places across Chorlton (Creative Recycling on Beech Road, Chorlton Bookshop on Wilbraham Road, Blossom Flowers on Manchester Road, and Chorlton Plant Nursery on Vicars Road), which includes maps and write-ups of each garden.
Then it’s simply a case of checking out as many as possible, or taking it easy and relaxing at the ones that put on homemade cakes, drinks and live music.
The 2015 event raised more than £8,000.
Update: Chorlton Open Gardens organiser Merryn Cooke tells me that the event currently has 31 sites lined up including six new gardens, a communal alley, the roof of Unicorn Grocery and a communal allotment.
Programmes will be on sale at Chorlton Bookshop, Blossom Flowers, Creative Recycling and Chorlton Plant Nursery from the end of May. They’ll also be available at Creative Recycling, Chorlton Plant Nursery and Unicorn Grocery on the day.
Festivalgoers are encouraged to buy programmes in advance to help them plan their day. (04 April 2016)
Beech Road Family Fun Day 2016
Deferred for 2016The free Beech Road Family Fun Day, the family-oriented successor to the Beech Road Festival, won’t be taking place on the first Sunday in July this year.
In its place, it’s envisaged that there’ll be a celebration of independents and shopping locally on both the Saturday and the Sunday. Details are still being worked out.
Chorlton Beer & Cider Festival 2016
7 – 9 July 2016Chorlton Beer & Cider Festival, also known as Chorlton Beer Festival or just Chorlton Beer Fest, is being held once again in and around St Clement’s Church.
This annual institution is organised by Trafford & Hulme CAMRA and St Clement’s Church. It features dozens of real ales from local and national breweries, as well as an impressive selection of world beers, ciders and perries. There’s also street food and live music.
The event runs from 6pm – 1030pm on Thursday, 7 July (which is usually a quieter preview night), 6pm – 1030pm on Friday, 8 July, and 1pm – 930pm on Saturday, 9 July.
Organisers say prices will be the same as 2015 so by my reckoning that means Thursday tickets will be £10 including £5 of beer tokens, while Friday and Saturday tickets will be £10 including £4 of beer tokens.
Chorlton Love Beer Festival 2016
Summer 2016 (presumably)Love Beer Festivals, founded by five beer-loving friends, usually stages one beer festival a year in Chorlton.
The Chorlton Summer Beer Festival 2014 took place at South West Manchester Cricket Club in June and the Chorlton Summer Beer Festival 2015 was held at Chorlton Irish Club in August but there’s no word yet on what if anything is planned for 2016.
The most recent instalment featured more than 30 cask and keg beers, 15 Belgian beers, 15 American beers, cider, street food, live music and family activities such as a bouncy castle and face-painting. Advance tickets were £5 and the event ran from 5pm – 1am on Friday, 12pm – 6pm on Saturday (family session), and 6pm – 1am on Saturday.
Chorlton Bonfire Night 2016
Saturday, 5 November 2016 (presumably)The largest bonfire night in Chorlton takes place on Chorlton Green although some local residents might argue that size isn’t everything.
Chorlton Bonfire Night 2016 is a free event organised by the Horse & Jockey pub. It traditionally comprises two fireworks displays, one at 630pm for kids and one at 9pm for adults, and the 2015 instalment also featured an outdoor bar and two outdoor BBQs in collaboration with Sailor Jerry rum.
The Horse & Jockey and its in-house microbrewery Bootleg Brewing Co usually sell a fair few beers too!
Chorlton Book Festival 2016
18 – 26 November 2016An annual celebration of all things literary, Chorlton Book Festival is scheduled to return at the end of November.
Details are scarce about what we can expect at the 2016 Chorlton Book Festival, but there’s usually a range of free and paid-for events in Chorlton Library on Manchester Road and venues across the suburb including poetry slams, literature talks, author readings, writing workshops and a literary pub quiz.
Chorlton Christmas Lights 2016
Thursday, 24 November 2016It’s still early days but it looks like there’ll be one Chorlton Christmas Lights event this year.
The free Beech Road Christmas Lights Switch-On traditionally involves a lantern parade by local schoolchildren, which is led by Father Christmas.
The procession makes its way from Beech Road Park at around 545pm and heads down Beech Road, passing lots of children, parents and friends along the way, to Chorlton Green for the big Christmas lights switch-on at 615pm.
There’s also usually a church choir, carol singing, mince pies and copious amounts of mulled wine.
Chorlton New Year’s Eve Party 2016
Saturday, 31 December 2016Chorlton has so many bars and restaurants that you’re spoilt for choice over where to see in new year if money’s no object, but in terms of free events one of the most popular places to go is Chorlton Green.
Organised by the Horse & Jockey pub, the Chorlton New Year’s Eve Party features a spectacular fireworks display. You can also reserve a table inside if you fancy splashing out on the New Year’s Eve menu and bubbly.
Horse & Jockey festivals
Throughout 2016The Horse & Jockey pub holds an ever-changing calendar of events throughout the year. These typically include:
The Horse & Jockey Summer Solstice 2016 (June 2016)
The Horse & Jockey Winter Solstice 2016 (December 2016)
Check out their website and social media, or sign up to their email newsletter, for more details as and when they’re confirmed.
Important note: If you see anything that needs updating in the Chorlton Festival Calendar 2016, or you’ve heard of another festival that’s on the way, drop me a message in the comments section (below) and I’ll get it sorted. Thanks!