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Ah. We love this city. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any better, somebody goes and organises a music festival in the city centre for everybody to enjoy absolutely free. And, what’s even better, is that any donations by lovely Manc folk will be coming to Forever Manchester so that we can carry on helping to make Manchester Greater.

The N4LovesU Festival will take over the Northern Quarter for two days this weekend, with thousands of people expected to descend on Manchester’s independent quarter for a good old Northern knees up.

The festival will be headlined by Manchester electronic group The Whip, with a DJ set on the Saturday night. Sunday will see the city’s own Nu-folksters The Travelling Band take a break from their own tour to close the festival alongside Manchester DJ and purveyor of fine teas, Mr Scruff.

The Festival is part of the city’s I Love Manchester campaign, which came about in response to the rioting and looting in the city centre last month, and will see more than 30 local bands and DJs play across three different stages in the city centre. Live acts set to play at the festival include Kid British, Cherry Ghost, Janice Graham Band, Danny Mahon, The Travelling Band, Ruby Ann Patterson, Paris Riots, Biederbeck and loads more.

Getting the city dancing meanwhile will be DJ set from the likes of The Whip, Mr Scruff, Luke Unabomber, Steve Legatto, Pogo, Juicy, Now Wave and many, many more.

The festival will run from 12pm to 9pm on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September. It’s all absolutely free, though donation buckets will be collecting funds for Forever Manchester and Reclaim. Thank you Manchester!

The full line-up for the festival is as follows:

SATURDAY:

Thomas Street – Band on the Wall DJ Stage

Dom BloodandFire/ 
Mikey Don/ 
Electronique DJs/ 
Steve Legatto (Beat Club)
/ Luke Unabomber

Edge Street – Band Stage


Daystar/ 
Dr Sid (DJ)
/ Morain/ 
Danny Mahon
/ Saturday Social DJs
/ Kid British (acoustic)/ 
Cherry Ghost (solo)/ 
Janice Graham Band/ Sonic Boom Six
/ The Whip DJs

Tib Street – Acoustic Stage


Acoustic Conquistador
Little Sparrow
Aidan Smith
James Kelly
(more to add as confirmed)

SUNDAY:

Thomas Street – DJ Stage

T.Pot DJ’s
/ Pogo DJs
/ Juicy DJs
/ Now Wave DJs

Edge Street – BOTW Band Stage
John Robb DJ Set (compere)/ 
Ruby Ann Patterson
/ The Travelling Band
/ Greg Thorpe (Off The Hook) DJ Set/ 
Biederbeck
/ Mr Scruff

Tib Street – Acoustic Stage


Ruth Cockburn/ 
The Reveres
/ Paris Riots
/ JP Cooper

Follow @N4lovesU on Twitter for all the most up to date news and information.

The I Love MCR campaign instigated by our civic pride after the Manchester riots culminates tomorrow in the I Love MCR day. Who’s coming along to show their support?

Support Forever Manchester with an I Love MCR t-shirt!

With over 11,500 people now showing their support for the campaign on Facebook, and the I Love MCR logo proudly displayed in homes, businesses and on t-shirts around the city, the campaign’s been more successful than anybody could have imagined. And here at Forever Manchester we’re doubly thrilled, because some of the proceeds from I Love MCR t-shirt sales will be coming straight to us, to help us in our work of making the city that you love even greater.

Tomorrow will see Exchange Square become the focus of the I Love MCR day activity, with live performances taking place on a specially constructed stage from 4pm – 6pm. Performances performances will include one by the Reclaim group, who’ll be performing their Manchester song, and a local steel band.

Afternoon tea treats will be provided by the wonderful Hey Little Cupcake and their mini ‘I Love MCR’ cupcakes and scones, while Clippy’s Apples will be providing the jam and Charbrew Tea providing the refreshments.

A mass ‘tweet up’ has been arranged for 5.30pm, when people will be asked to tweet their messages of love for the city using the hashtag #ILoveMCR to help put our city on the global trending map.

Other organisations that have announced their support for ‘We Love MCR day’ include: Frog & Bucket – which has pulled together a special Manchester comedy line-up; Bruntwood – which is dressing many of its buildings (as well as their staff) with ‘I Love MCR’ branding; Manchester City and Manchester United – who have both worn ‘I Love MCR’ T-shirts in training; and Manchester Pride – who will be handing out ‘I Love MCR’ flags during the Manchester Pride Parade on Saturday.
Andrew Stokes, chief executive of Marketing Manchester, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the city’s response to the campaign. Mancunians are rightly proud of their city and ‘We Love MCR day’ will be our way to show the rest of the UK and the wider-world what real Mancunians are made of.”

Forever Manchester will  be down at Exchange Square tomorrow in the thick of the action, taking pictures to appear on this blog. So if you see us, give us a wave!

The director and founder of LGBT radio station Gaydio looks forward to Manchester Pride ’11, looks back to Pride Festivals past, and tells us why the event has such a special place in his heart.

It’s fast approaching the last bank holiday of the summer, which for many people across Manchester only means one thing – everyone’s in final preparation for the Manchester Pride festival and with this being the 21st birthday of the annual celebration, it’s set to be a special one.

For us here at Gaydio, the UK’s only FM radio station for the gay and lesbian community, the anticipation is building just the same as it does every year. The office tends to become a place filled with deadlines, meetings about deadlines and making sure that we do something that builds on what we did last year.

Manchester Pride has a kind of special place in my heart, not least because I have been coming every year since 2000 (making this my 12th event), but it was the thing that introduced me to Manchester. I remember getting off the bus by Piccadilly Station and for the first time coming face to face with the Gay Village and all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) sights down there. Coming from a small midlands town, it was like nothing I’d quite seen before, making it the perfect time to come out to the girls that had brought me down for the event (I still suspect that’s why they invited me – something they deny to this day).The sheer openness of the city inspired me in a way to make Manchester my home and I’ve not looked back since.

Fast forward six years and Pride 2006 was a very different experience – a friend and I had this crazy idea to support the festival with a two week radio station. To be honest we had no idea if it would work or not, but there is something quite special about how Manchester embraces new ideas and before we knew it we were repeating it, making it bigger and better and then applying for a full time licence – launching June 2010.

The past year has been a bit of a whirlwind, setting up a new station, working to make it sound good and attracting both a gay audience and a quickly growing audience of non-gay people that pick Gaydio as their station of choice. We have an amazing team of talented people around us, many of whom will be out on the streets over the Pride festival collecting stories and promoting the station.

So this Pride will be the 5th festival that we have covered (we didn’t broadcast at Pride ’09) and once again we will be partnering with BBC Radio Manchester to make sure that we offer great coverage of the Parade on the Saturday afternoon and also the candle -lit vigil on the Monday evening. We will also have loads of exclusive coverage, with our backstage show and all the latest gossip and what’s on at the event. We want to use the station to connect people to the festival that can’t be there, or make sure that they stay connected when they go home – with the all the best bits of the weekend.

Once the festival’s finished, when we’re dusting down the glitter remnants and packing away the bunting for another year, we still have an excellent line up of competitions, great music and engaging presenters to keep us going throughout the year.

I would like to wish everyone a very happy 21st Manchester Pride and if you have never been to Pride before, then above all I would encourage you to head down to the Pride Parade as it winds its way through the city on Saturday afternoon. If you can’t though – it’s covered all weekend on 88.4fm, at Gaydio.co.uk or by downloading our fabulous iPhone app.

Ian Wallace – Director and Founder of Gaydio

If recent events have proved one thing about Manchester, it’s that we all love it. For a city that’s already bursting with pride in our own accomplishments, events of this past week has taken things to a new level, with communities coming together in the face of anti-social behaviour to celebrate our love for the city that we all come home.

In recognition of Mancunian’s passion for our city, Marketing Manchester and the Manchester Arndale have launched the I Love MCR campaign, using the iconic ‘I heart’ logo as a symbol of our pride in our city.

Marketing Manchester will be selling ‘I Love MCR’ t-shirts in Manchester Arndale, and we’re absolutely thrilled that they’ve chosen us as one of the charities to  benefit from money raised from t-shirt sales.

As a charity dedicated to supporting Manchester’s communities in every way that we can, Forever Manchester is right behind this campaign, and feel hugely proud to be part of a city with such a sense of community.

In the past two years, donations from people who love our city as much as we do have helped us raise over £2 million, which has gone to supporting over 100 community groups in Manchester.

Donations are directed to local groups or projects that are in real need of funding and will make a genuine measurable difference to the community and people they serve here in Greater Manchester.

As part of the I Love MCR campaign, Marketing Manchester have created a facebook page with desktop wallpapers and Twitter Twibbons, which Mancunians can download and proudly display.

The lovely folk at ace cupcakery Hey Little Cupcake are also creating special ‘I love MCR’ cupcakes, which as well as tasting incredible do their bit for Manchester, with 50% of all profits from the cupcakes going to Forever Manchester.

And if you’d like to show even more support for Forever Manchester, you can download Forever Manchester wallpapers for your computers and iPhones from the Forever Manchester site here.

August 26th has been earmarked as a ‘We Love MCR’ day, when Mancunians are being asked to display the ‘I Love MCR’ logo with pride. And what better way to celebrate this day than by really helping to make a difference to the future of your city’s communities by donating to Forever Manchester? You could do this by way of a cash donation, or by visiting our online shop – where you’ll find loads of lovely merchandise, as well as limited edition Si Scott prints featuring lyrics from iconic Manchester anthems.

I love MCR. You love MCR. We all love MCR. So let’s show it! Get your ‘I Love MCR’ t-shirt from the Manchester Arndale NOW and wear it with pride.

Photo by @technicalfault: technicalfault.posterous.com

‘But this is Manchester. We do things differently here.’ On the eve of the anniversary of his death, Tony Wilson’s timeless words resonated around social network sites like a shield, deflecting any suggestions that that the riots that had devastated London the night before would spread to our city.

Manchester was in denial. We had too much faith in our city, pride in our communities and belief in our young people to believe that what had unfolded in London and other cities around the UK could really affect us here.

Of course, Manchester was no stranger to conflict. From the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 to the IRA bomb of 1996 and the football riots ten years later, the city centre has had its fair share of trouble.

But one thing that these incidents all have in common is the positive way in which the city responded to them. Out of the devastation and fatalities of The Peterloo Massacre rose The Manchester Guardian. And in 1996, when the city was devastated by an IRA bomb that saw huge parts of the city centre obliterated, Manchester responded by rebuilding itself into a city worthy of standing on a global stage. The football riots of 2007, which saw thousands of Rangers fans rampage around the city centre in angry reaction to a big screen failing in Piccadilly Gardens, was also swiftly recovered from.

We are a city of industry, of creativity, and above all, of community. So when thousands of people descended on Manchester city centre last night to loot and riot, leaving parts of our city in tatters, we responded with similar robustness and community spirit.

From the calm, considered and professional approach of our police force, to the heartfelt and intelligent pleas by our councillors and Assistant Chief Constable Gary Shewan on TV, to the council street cleaners who worked tirelessly throughout the early hours of this morning, Manchester has shown itself at every level as a force to be reckoned with.

And above all, there was the incredible reaction of Manchester’s residents – many of them ‘youths’ – who turned out in their thousands this morning with brooms and binbags to assist in the clean up of our city, fuelled by donations of food, drink and cleaning supplies by nearby businesses

@SR4Longsight The true face of Manchester's young people helping out with the #ManchesterCleanUp

This isn’t a political blog. There are other places you can go to for the hows and whys. But it’s really important that everyone understands that the majority of young people in Greater Manchester will be horrified by the incidents of last night. Most young people, whether disaffected with society or not, would not turn to crime to vent their woes.

A facebook status of a friend this morning read:

“My mate does community projects with disadvantaged teenagers in Salford. She was with a group this morning who said the rioting was pathetic. These are kids who in the past may well have joined in. Instead they are worried their award ceremony at media city will be cancelled tomorrow. Hurray for the power of engaging young people in creative projects & giving them a different focus & means of expressing themselves. And shame on this govt for cutting all the YSDF funding.”

Kids in Manchester want their city to be great. They don’t want to see it destroyed by a minority.

@AdamMcCleanITV: Young people helping to reverse the damage caused by last night's violence

One young male interviewed on Sky News last night claimed that he was stealing in order to claim something back from the society that he felt had given him nothing. Whether he believed in his words or not, it seems clear that appeasing dissatisfaction with short term material gain isn’t the answer. What these young people need from society isn’t iphones and trainers. What they need from us is attention, guidance and education.

The city is now clean and fully functioning. Not licking its wounds, but healing robustly from them with the spirit and vigour that our city is known for.

A tweet from @gmpolice today reads “There is no disorder in Manchester today, it’s business as usual, and we are determined to keep it that way.”

Let’s hope that’s the case. Because whatever happens, this is Manchester. And we do things differently here.

Forever Manchester manages the Manchester Disaster Relief Fund which has money available for people suffering genuine hardship as the result of incidents like last night. Anyone in genuine need should contact our office on 0161 214 0940 to see if we might be able to help.

Also if anyone feels they would like to donate to this fund to provide ongoing support for Manchester communities they can send money to Forever Manchester at 5th Floor, Speakers House, 39 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BA  or text ‘GMDR11 £5’ to 70070 to donate to the fund to help genuine victims of the riots.

A few tweets from Manchester:

@jonridge: A thousand volunteers at Picc Gardens. That’s not even hyperbole. A thousand turned up. #manchestercleanup

@Chris_Grimes Proud too be a Manc this AM, we have responded the only way we know!! This idiots won’t ruin our city #manchestercleanup

@RiotCleanUpManc I think rain has finally stopped play! Manchester, you’ve blown my mind. The best people in the best city in the world. Thank you!

I don’t know about you, but for me the word ‘picnic’ usually evokes memories of sitting on rugs in cow-dung ridden fields, coming under attack by wasps, and eating limp sandwiches while trying to weigh everything down with shoes to stop it blowing away.

I wish I had the sophistication to be a wicker hamper, Champagne and gingham rug kinda picnicker. But alas, things have just never turned out that way. That’s why I was thrilled to visit the Manchester Picnic today; an al-fresco foodie wonderland in the heart of the city centre with proper grub, loads of picnic benches, and plenty of things to do and see.

One half of the gardens has been turned into a huge open air restaurant, filled with picnic benches and lined with stalls selling food and drink from some of the city’s top eateries. It smells GOOD. Seriously, don’t eat anything before you head down there because with delicious cuisine from Abode, Aumbry, Harvey Nichols, Mint Hotel, Kro, The Mark Addy, Wasabi, Hey Little Cupcake and loads more, there’s more than enough choice to picnic morning, day and night for the entire weekend.

As the official charity of The Manchester Picnic, Forever Manchester has a stall in the thick of the action, where we’re selling lots of lovely Forever Manchester merchandise and special Forever Manchester cupcakes to raise money for the charity. Come along and say hi!

Activities that have so far entertained the crowds at the picnic include a wind up Vintage disco, ‘science busking’ (cool science tricks and demos from the Manchester Science Festival) and a giant spring roll competition. Yup, giant spring rolls. Hosted by TV’s Matt Dawson and judged by some prominent Manchester mouths including Manchester Confidential publisher Mark Garner, fabulous Drag Artist extraordinaire Winnie LeFreak, and chefs from local Chinese Restaurants, the competition took place over at the Monster Munchies tent and featured humongous spring rolls from two of the city’s favourite Chinese eateries.

Mark Garner and Winnie LeFreak at The Manchester Picnic

Tomorrow The Manchester Picnic is all about the kids, with a Teddy Bear’s Picnic from 12pm. There are 100 Build a Bear Workshop goodie bags up for grabs for the best dressed teddies, and the owner of the Best Dressed Bear wins a five person family tent and some camping games. There’ll also be he chance to get your hands of some ancient relics from the Manchester Museum, as well a plenty of drop-in craft activities.

Been down to the Manchester Picnic yet? See if you can spot yourself in any of our photos:

Manchester Novelist Emma Jane Unsworth’s love letter to her city…

Dear Manchester,

I know we’ve had our differences. I’ve written you a few Dear John letters over the years but I’ve never followed them through. I won’t lie. I’ve thought about leaving. I’ve had the running urge when I felt as though your walls were closing in and I knew too many of your failings and bad habits; when the predictable happened one too many times and I felt as though it was your fault, or my fault for staying. Like that time the top of my dress slipped open on the stage of a crowded Night and Day Café, New Year’s Eve 2001. I was leaping around with a mic after I’d insisted on doing (a capella) karaoke that no one wanted to hear, ignoring the warning cries of my friends who had noticed an escapee boob (I assumed they were just trying to get me off the stage). It was only when I got
to the piano solo of ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ did I look down and see the real reason why everyone was waving and shouting, and I dropped the mic and ran, red-faced, out the back emergency exit. The next day was dark, wasn’t it.

Emma in Night and Day. (Boobs safely tucked away).

When someone’s seen you exposed like that, it’s usually time to go. But as I was planning my hasty departure, trawling TEFL websites and imagining a new, pure, untainted life in Prague, St Petersburg or Istanbul – anywhere but Manchester – something stopped me booking the flights. Something held me fast in your hard granite arms… and so here I am, writing this letter as rain slides down the window in August, 32 years stuck fast, and I know that nowhere else will ever feel like home, or half so interesting.

My love for you is a difficult thing to dissect. It’s something to do with your canals, your cafés, your industry – not so much your famous sense of humour, which has always struck me as a little overrated. It’s the feeling I get when I see you lit up. Last weekend, descending from Derbyshire, I turned the last bend of the Snake Pass and the land unrolled to reveal you, shining. I admire how your achievements have spread around the world: sport, science, art and music. It’s hard to believe that you were just somebody’s idea once. The Romans, was it? Someone got tired of walking and decided to pitch their camp in the heart of the north of England. The first of many excellent ideas hatched here.

On good days I think I recognise every face on your streets. On bad days, I have my glazed Victorian bolt-holes. I visit your southern suburbs when I want to feel cool, or anti-cool, but your northern parts constitute a good portion of my soul.

And in your centre, late at night, I walk in infinite drunken dreams, found and unfrightened.

I love New York because I love you; love Paris because I love you. I think I love cities because I love you. I’ll always come home.

Forever yours,

Emma Jane Unsworth

Emma’s debut novel ‘Hungry, the Stars and Everything‘ is available now on Amazon.

Follow Emma on Twitter: @emjaneunsworth

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