£50m festival bonus for Manchester

Published: 10 November 2019
Reporter: David Upton

Bells for Peace in Cathedral Gardens, Manchester Credit: Jon Super

This year’s Manchester International Festival, the biggest yet, with more than 1,000 ticketed events—ranging from dance, theatre, music and visual arts, to site-specific performance and immersive installations—delivered an economic impact to the city of £50m.

Underpinning the city’s status for culture and creativity, nine of this year’s commissions are already confirmed to tour nationally and internationally across the globe.

Closer to home, the number of volunteers increased to more than 500 and local artists and residents from across the city played a key role. Almost 6,000 people were involved in MIF19 engagement activities including workshops, skills development programmes and resident-led public conversations.

A record number of commissions were participatory, placing the people of Manchester and beyond centre stage. Thousands of residents and visitors came together to ring out for peace at Yoko Ono’s opening event Bells For Peace; 40 city centre businesses and residents hosted Utopolis Manchester; and Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s School of Integration saw hundreds of members of the city’s migrant communities become teachers to share their experiences, skills and knowledge.

More than a third of all tickets were available at £10 or less to Greater Manchester residents and a further 2,500 were given free via community groups around the city.

MIF19 had more than 302,000 visitors.

Following its world première at Manchester International Festival, Tao of Glass will travel to Perth Festival, Australia in February.

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