A snapshot of my experience of the Whitworth’s WARP festival, by Lou Greenwell from Circuit Cambridge at Kettle’s Yard & Wysing Arts Centre.

What was clear was the cohesiveness of the event, there was a definite link to the Whitworth and its surroundings, which worked very well.

WARP Festival – Whitworth Gallery, Manchester

From the outset, WYC potentially had one thing against the success of their festival – the weather. But luckily for them, and us attendees, the rain only made brief appearances and we were free to get to down to business – enjoying the smorgasbord of experiences laid on for us.

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Music had a big part in WARP, but there were also workshops, innovative (and bizarre) arcade games, film screenings and a market – Saturday’s was a showcase for local teenagers and their crafty creations, and Sunday’s market was run by the Manchester Craft Mafia. If you’re a fan of origami cranes – you missed out!

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To gauge where the audience had come from, we were asked to place our thumb print on a giant map of Manchester. As the festival was for those from the local area, it didn’t matter that it felt a little weird to not having a ‘place on the map’. You could definitely tell that people had come from all over Manchester, though I did hear a few people mention that they hadn’t seen anything about the festival, so wouldn’t have known had they not passed by.

There wasn’t time to chat to the WYC team about their entire festival process so it was a little difficult to work out which parts of the festival were their creations, as there was so much going on. There were a large number of partners for the festival and it would have been interesting to find out where the overlaps were, but, as I well know, mid-event is not the time for such questions.

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What was clear was the cohesiveness of the event, there was a definite link to the Whitworth and its surroundings, which worked very well. WYC created a brilliant event, in the ideal backdrop of the park, that lured in a wide variety of attendees.

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