A new festival series combining music and food growing in Manchester is helping to attract a new audience to community gardens.
The second event in the Green Island Festivals series, which took place on Saturday 30 July, was hosted by Hulme Community Garden in Manchester with a diverse line-up of live music and DJs.
Afrobeat legend Dele Sosimi headlined the community-inspired festival, which also featured local unsigned artists alongside home-grown food from the garden and local food stalls.
“It’s an immersive experience,” said event organiser Ruby Fryman. “There’s something really appealing about music in nature as a combination. There’s something about walking through trees and finding a DJ or someone playing amazing guitar or playing a fabulous African drum.
“It’s something quite intrinsic about our nature as humans. It’s sensorial. You’re immersed in this thing,” said Fryman, who explained that event was designed to showcase the garden to people who wouldn’t find it otherwise.
“We’re introducing people who didn’t know it existed. They’re like ‘this is five minutes outside of the city centre, we’re going to come here again, and look there’s a café and we can have our breakfast here’,” Fryman added.
The not-for-profit community garden, based in Hulme, one mile south of Manchester city centre, is a creative hub centred around encouraging people to grow food and leading a healthy lifestyle, as well as offering sessions to people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and recovering addicts.
“We’re a place where people can come and learn how to grow food,” said manager Tim Knight. “We grow a lot of veg plants here, we’re organic and peat free. It’s all about encouraging the community to grow stuff and learn about gardening and the benefits of gardening.
“It’s physical and also mental. It’s widely documented now that it’s really beneficial to be outside in a green space.”
Knight continued: “We want to support unsigned artists and it [the festival] brings people here who wouldn’t have normally come here. It brings the community together.”
The event was the second in a series taking place in the community garden, with the next one taking place on 17 September.