Off-shoot fringe event called ‘Not Part of Manchester International Festival’ aims to showcase hidden talent

By Calum Leahy & Liam Barnes

Arts aficionados of Manchester may be gearing up for the Manchester International Festival (MIF), but eagle-eyed culture vultures may have spotted another event nesting in the city next month.

The Not Part of Manchester International Festival was set up in 2007 by Gareth McCann and Beth McCann as an alternative to MIF.

Gareth realised that the established festival, being comprised of only commissioned, curated work, thus cutting out most of the creators who form Manchester’s day to day artistic pulse.

What resulted was an unpretentious, open arts festival for everyday Mancunians to showcase the product of their hard and innovative work.

Katie Louise, marketing officer for the offshoot fringe event, said: “MIF gets great acts on but they’re chosen by other people.

“It’s been such a creative hub for people from Manchester who normally won’t get a chance to put on a show.”

The festival, running parallel with MIF from June 30 to July 16, has been warmly accepted by local artists and venues alike.

Alex McCann, of gig promoters and music website Designer Magazine, said: “For us anything that puts the focus on Manchester and the arts scene is a great thing and that certainly applies to MIF and Not Part of.”

Alex, an organiser of Manchester’s Hungry Pigeon Festival, added: “I know the work that goes into such a large festival behind the scenes and it’s healthy having a fringe event.”

“I do think perhaps one of the criticism’s of MIF is that maybe it’s a little too elitist is maybe true. Do the Northern Quarter scenesters love it? Yes. Does the average bloke from Bury or Altrincham care as much? Maybe not so.”

For the literati of Manchester there’s a host of events to wet their beaks, for early-rising larks and hard-partying night-owls alike. You’d have to be bird-brained to miss it.

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