Posted by: Richard Frost | April 21, 2019

Chorlton Festival Calendar 2019

For the past few years, I’ve been publishing the dates of festivals happening where I live – the Chorlton area of south Manchester – to help raise the profile of some of the great community events taking place right here on our doorstep.

This year looks a bit quieter than usual, due largely to the absence of Chorlton & Whalley Range Big Green Happening and the very public meltdown over at Chorlton Arts Festival (more on that later).

But without any further ado, here is the Chorlton Festival Calendar 2019.

Chorlton Open Gardens 2019

Sunday, 30 June 2019

A show garden on Claude Road in Chorltonville

Chorlton Open Gardens

Chorlton Open Gardens will return in June 2019, giving members of the public a chance to snoop round a host of green spaces from private gardens to communal alleyways.

We already know that the event will run from 11am to 5pm, although there’s not much else to report at this stage. Typically, you’ll find that participating gardeners are on hand throughout the day to offer tips and advice to visitors, while several also take the opportunity to sell hot drinks, homemade cakes, artworks and of course plants to visitors – some even pull out all the stops by hosting live music performances. Meanwhile, a plant swap at the community garden next to Chorlton Library gives festivalgoers ample opportunity to brighten up their own homes.

It usually costs £5 to purchase a Chorlton Open Gardens programme, which grants access to all of the gardens involved on the day. Last year, these programmes were sold by Creative Recycling, Chorlton Bookshop, Blossom Florists and Chorlton Plant Nursery from mid-May, and outside Unicorn Grocery in June at the weekend.

Chorlton Beer & Cider Festival 2019

11-13 July 2019

Chorlton Beer and Cider Festival

Chorlton Beer Festival

More commonly known as Chorlton Beer Festival or just Chorlton Beer Fest, Chorlton Beer & Cider Festival will showcase more than 150 real ales, craft beers, world beers, ciders and perries at St Clement’s Church on Edge Lane in 2019.

Organised by St Clement’s in association with Trafford & Hulme CAMRA, the 15th annual festival will run across three days. A quiet preview night will be held between 6pm and 1030pm on Thursday, followed by bigger sessions featuring live music between 6pm and 1030pm on Friday and 1pm and 930pm on Saturday. Chorlton CofE Primary School PTA is also organising activities suitable for small children on the lawn from 1pm on the Saturday – though all under-18s must leave the grounds by 7pm as part of their licence.

Entry to the festival costs £5 on the gate, including your glass and programme, with beer tokens sold separately. Alternatively, advance packages for each day are priced at £14, including your glass, programme and £10 of beer tokens, and a season ticket granting access to all three days with £10 of beer tokens will set you back £20.

Chorlton Book Festival 2019

20-28 September 2019

Chorlton Book Festival celebrates Manchester's most literary suburb

Chorlton Book Festival

The long-running Chorlton Book Festival will return in September 2019, with an inspirational programme of literary-themed events.

The festival’s coordinated by representatives of Manchester Libraries, Galleries and Culture, councillors, businesses, schools, community groups and residents, so it’s a real team effort. Typically, Chorlton Library on Manchester Road acts as the main hub, with other venues around the suburb chipping in as well by staging special events – you can expect the likes of poetry slams, author readings, literary talks, writer workshops and a pub quiz for bookworms when the full schedule’s unveiled later in the year.

Most of the events are free to attend, though a few charge a small entry fee.

The Original Chorlton Arts Festival 2019

20-28 September 2019

Part of Chorlton Voice, the Original Chorlton Arts Festival helps artists share their work

The Original Chorlton Arts Festival

It’s impossible to discuss The Original Chorlton Arts Festival, a new addition to the calendar for 2019, without first reflecting on the sorry goings-on at its near-namesake Chorlton Arts Festival.

For the uninitiated, Chorlton Arts Festival has long championed artistic expression across music, theatre, film, comedy and the visual arts, but the 15th instalment in May 2018 was overshadowed by an acrimonious dispute between its new festival director and the Chorlton Arts Festival board. Straight after the festival ended, the director resigned and issued a public statement giving the reasons for his decision – among them non-payment of fees and perceived mismanagement by the board; meanwhile, the board issued its own statement linking his resignation with “grievances with pay issues which arose due to failure to deliver against agreed obligations”. The festival’s Twitter account then began retweeting various messages criticising the board and non-payment of fees, while the website was taken offline, and the Facebook page claimed that “the festival Twitter account is not under our control…therefore any tweets, retweets or likes are not the opinion of the festival or the festival board”.

Personally, I’ve got zero desire to take sides here, though I will say that it’d be a huge shame if this debacle spells the end for Chorlton Arts Festival, which local residents have worked tirelessly to support down the years and which let’s not forget has provided a platform for countless artists to showcase their talents. While a brief statement on the website suggests the festival will return once more in 2019, sadly I can’t find any other indication that another event’s imminent.

However, I’ve just stumbled across a new website billing itself as The Original Chorlton Arts Festival, with an accompanying Twitter and Facebook presence. The Original Chorlton Arts Festival apparently has no affiliation with Chorlton Arts Festival, but seeks to return the festival to the community and reflect its original ethos (their words), helping “schools, performers, artists, art groups, poets, writers, playwrights, musicians (bands, individual performers or singers), dancers and any other type of artist from Chorlton to share their work”. It’s part of not-for-profit community association Chorlton Voice (aka Chorlton Civic Society) and, while details are scarce at the moment, the inaugural event will apparently run from 20-28 September 2019 to coincide with Chorlton Book Festival.

No word yet on whether there’ll be charges to attend any of the events at The Original Chorlton Arts Festival.

Chorlton Bonfire Night 2019

November 2019 (presumably)

Spectacular fireworks on Bonfire Night

Fireworks display

Various places around Chorlton run events to coincide with Bonfire Night, though nothing seems to be confirmed yet.

Typically, one of the biggest is the Chorlton Bonfire & Firework Display, which takes place at The Recreation Ground just off Brookburn Road where West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC play their home matches. In November 2018, the bonfire was lit at 7pm and a firework display was held at 730pm, with refreshments served throughout the evening.

Tickets for the 2018 edition cost £4 for adults and £2 for children, while a family ticket (for two adults and two children) was priced at £10.

Chorlton Christmas Lights 2019

Winter 2019 (presumably)

Christmas tree on Chorlton Green

Christmas Lights

The switching on of the Christmas lights signals the official start of the festive period for many Chorltonites.

The Beech Road Christmas Lantern Parade & Lights Switch On, for example, typically features a lantern parade by local schoolchildren from Beech Road Park to Chorlton Green, where the Christmas tree is lit by Father Christmas himself. There’s also a choir, mince pies and mulled wine, while several traders along Beech Road are open late. In 2018, all the action took place between 530pm and 7pm.

The event’s traditionally free to attend.

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