Went to talk to that lovely Allan Beswick on Radio Manchester's breakfast show, the subject the third Manchester International Festival, which sadly drew to a close yesterday.
There will be an interim report at next week's Executive on the festival's outcomes but I can already confidently declare it a success. Ticket sales massively up on two years ago, recession not withstanding, but also a third of the events free. Massive media coverage, not only in this country, but across the world. The Arts world flocking to Manchester but at the sametime hundreds of ordinary Mancunions involved as participants, as volunteers as well as spectators. The festival taken out to community -based locations including a church, a mosque, a synagogue, a hindu and a sikh temple. Co-commissioning with organisations outside Manchester added £2.5m to the budget and means a number of MIF shows will be appearing all over the world. Lots of critical acclaim not least for the concept of the festival itself, and for most of the two and a half weeks people could enjoy chilling out in Festival Square. The full economic impact statement will follow but in the meantime a very big well done to festival director Alex Poots and all the festival team.
Then up to the Etihad Stadium, this time for the launch of Manchester City's pre-planning consultation on their proposed new training complex on the site of the former Clayton Aniline chemical works. Noticed that the report in the MEN drew the usual baa yoo sucks comments from Blues and Reds, but hopefully this blog can be a bit more grown up. Whatever your football allegiance, fact is that this is very good news for the city, and for East Manchester in particular. I'm afraid the day wasn't all good news though as had to spend some time grappling with a few knotty budget problems, but we haven't done bad over the last couple of weeks.