Exodus returns this July for the ninth and possibly last year, promising to transform Albert Square with the myriad colours, sounds and tastes of the world.
Last year saw 10,000 party in the sunshine in Cathedral Gardens. Event organiser Community Arts North West (CAN) can’t promise that the weather will hold, but has programmed two stages and a range of family friendly workshops both outdoors in the square and inside the town hall.
Two stages will host music, song and dance performances from over 25 international acts, including Wigan-based Zimbabwean band Heritage Survival, local rappers Educated Thugz!, which boasts members from three continents, Polish hip hop from Lorek Przemyslaw, and drumming from renowned Gambian musician Mbackeh Darboe.
Headlining is the renowned Beating Wing Orchestra, veterans of the Manchester International Festival. This unique orchestra is made up of refugee and local musicians and has previously played with Palestinian singer Reem Kelani and Malian world music stars Amadou and Mariam.
A colourful parade featuring banners made by community groups and led by east Manchester Afro-Latin band Bloco Novo will set off around the square at around 4pm.
Challenge your taste buds with authentic home cooking from Pakistan, West Africa, Poland and Bosnia from the international food village. All dishes are just £3. And Mr Kipling could only dream of the sweet treats in store from the cakes of the world stall.
Family friendly workshops and arts and crafts activities taking place both in Albert Square and the town hall will feature tai chi, African and Caribbean dance, African drumming, mask making, henna art, Congolese ceramics and Chinese calligraphy.
Stalls will include Indian handmade textiles, African crafts, Chinese crafts, fairtrade gifts and world music.
Exodus festival has edged its way closer to the heart of the city each year, beginning in Hulme Park in 2001, moving to Platt Fields in 2007, Urbis and Cathedral Gardens in 2008 and finally to Albert Square and the Town Hall in 2010.
It is funded by Big Lottery Fund and Manchester City Council.
Cilla Baynes, director of Community Arts North West, said: “Exodus festival is a true celebration of the contribution our diverse communities have made to the culture of Greater Manchester.
“It is a great free day out with integrity and it brings out the best in everyone.”
Councillor Mike Amesbury, executive member for culture and leisure for Manchester City Council said: "It’s great to see the Exodus Festival in Albert Square this year. It’s gone from strength to strength over the past few years celebrating the tremendous diversity that we enjoy here in Manchester. It’s a lively and creative family-friendly event which people of all ages will enjoy and I strongly encourage everyone to come along and join in the fun."
Exodus Festival, Sunday 18 July 12noon-6pm
Albert Square and town hall, Manchester
More information www.can.uk.com/exodus or 0161 234 2975