When I first moved to Manchester, I stumbled drunkenly into The King’s Arms one night and asked whereabouts in Manchester I was, only to be greeted with surly grimaces from the locals and told in no uncertain terms that I was, of course, in the better city – Salford.
‘Salford? Where’s Salford?’ is the common refrain from people in other parts of the UK. But we Northerners know where it is (although it was a steep learning curve on my part that drunken night). We know it’s the city that bred musicians Ewan McColl and Mark E Smith, actors Albert Finney, Sir Ben Kingsley and Christopher Eccleston, poet John Cooper Clarke, painter LS Lowry and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. And there’s more, oh boy is there more. It’s quite correct to say Salford is one innovative city. It links arms with Manchester and the two together kick some pretty serious creative arse.
This week sees the start of another innovation – the creative arts and media festival, Create Salford. Now in its second year, the event was the brain child of graduates from Salford University’s School of Arts & Media. Developed with a desire to connect their creativity with both professional creative industries and the people of Salford, the event is unique in the North of England.
The festival is a professional showcase of the huge spectrum of subjects taught at the school and with its unique position in the heart of MediaCityUK, it’s sure to be a surprising spectacle in the Quay’s calendar.
There’s a mix of music, comedy, theatre, dance, fashion, poetry and journalism on offer in the three-day festival, as well as interactive workshops and activities for families.
In the Piazza, the centre-piece and a central hub for the festival, there promises to be a rather splendid giant perspex box, the Create Cube, which will house a variety of exhibitions and performances.
Hosted by Jo Good (XFM, BBC 6 Music), a Salford Uni alumna, the festival also showcases work from designer, maker and Lazerian founder Liam Hopkins who will devise an interactive artwork which will eventually become a permanent fixture on the campus from which he graduated.
There’s also some top theatre from Massive Owl with their show We Used to Wait and 24:7 Theatre Festival’s Best Production 2013, Billy, the Monster and Me.
With comedy in the Dock Bar, broadcasts throughout the festival from the university students and a spectacular closing event by Walk the Plank theatre company, there really is something for every taste and every age. For those still asking, ‘where’s Salford?’ it’s an excuse to get to know the place and visit the Quays, home to Salford Uni, the BBC, Coronation Street and The Lowry. For those in the know, yet more reason to boast about a truly innovative city in the midst of its celebrations.
When: until June 14, 2014
Where: various locations, Salford Quays