Amongst all the art and theatre events taking place across the city [info here] , there will be an eclectic 2019 street food line up which promises exceptional affordable food and drink, including specialist beer and gin collabs, David Lynch inspired ice cream and more.
Festival Square will be act as a food destination, with a free programme of live music, DJs and special events, alongside the Manchester International Festival box office.
Festival Square's official beer supplier, local family brewery JW Lees will be serving up beers, wines, Champagnes and more, with a limited-edition craft beer from The Boilerhouse (American Apricot Pale Ale). They will also be collaborating with Manchester Gin for a Festival Brew especially for MIF, inspired by the gin's complex flavours; resulting in a citrusy pale ale which captures the signature botanicals of Manchester Gin perfectly.
The bar will also be serving a very special beer brewed as part of MIF’s commission “Drunk Pandemic”; inspired by the Manchester cholera epidemic of the 1830s. It is the first UK project by Japanese art collective Chim↑Pom.
At a time when thousands were buried in huge cholera pits around what is now Victoria Station and Angel Meadows, the people of Manchester were advised to drink only beer to avoid the infected water. Chim↑Pom are building a temporary brewery in the tunnels beneath Victoria Station and will hold tours of this secret venue, alongside special events.
Back in Festival Square, ‘The Barn’ - a beautiful rustic wooden beamed covered food hall - will play home to Firebird Hope, Honest Crust, Kala, and Manjit's Kitchen.
Sour dough, wood-fired pizzas and summer salads will be served up from Mackie Mayor & Altrincham Market favourites Honest Crust, who will team up for a special MIF collaboration pizza with Ramsbottom favourite, Levanter.
Firebird Hope, who grew from a stall at Hatch, before taking residency at YES Manchester, will bring their free-range chicken dishes to the square.
Gary Usher will somehow find time in his dairy to step away from his Twitter rants to bring a Kala pop-up, serving ‘on-the-go’ food.
BBC Food & Farming Award-winning Best Street Food stall and MIF favourites, Manjit’s Kitchen, will serve up Indianvegetarian and vegan snacks.
Elsewhere, Idle Hands will provide coffee and cakes, and Ginger’s Comfort Emporium ice cream van, will whip up some special MIF19 inspired flavours drawing on the work of David Lynch, who is set to be one of the festival highlights this year.
It's also a warm welcome back to the city for longtime MIF collaborator, Michelin Starred Lancashire chef, Paul Heathcote, who has curated a series of Supper Clubs and Lazy Lunches in Festival Square’s intimate Glass House.
Alongside Paul, in a series of sold out events, will be Adam Reid - BBC Great British Menu 2016 & 2019 winning chef-patron of Adam Reid at the French; Steven Doherty - the first Brit to become Head Chef of a 3 Michelin-star restaurant whilst at Le Gavroche; Mark Birchall - Chef-Patron of Moor Hall, recently crowned "best restaurant in UK"; Michael Wignall - Michelin-starred Chef-Owner of the Angel at Hetton; Lisa Goodwin-Allen - Michelin Starred Executive Chef at Northcote Manor; Chantelle Nicholson - Chef-Patron at AA’s London Restaurant of the Year, Marcus Wareing's Tredwells; Steven Smith - Head Chef at the Freemasons at Wiswell; Sebastian Mazzola & Sussie Villarco of Cooking in Motion, Barcelona; and Mary-Ellen McTague - formerly of Heston Blumenthal's 3 Michelin-star Fat Duck and the much missed Aumbry in Prestwich, who is now at the Creameries in Chorlton.
To complement the food and drink offering, a large new stage will host a packed, free programme of genre-spanning live acts, DJs and performance. From funk to punk, gospel to electronica and reggae to R&B, it will feature both emerging artists and established performers.
Even if you're not attending a MIF event, Festival Square is free to visit from Friday 5th to Sunday 21st July 2019.