Chorlton Big Green Festival Celebrates “All Things Eco & Ethical”

Decorate your bike and join the parade at the Chorlton Big Green Festival. Photo: Sam Fairbrother

Community members and visitors in South Manchester, England are gearing up for the second-annual Chorlton Big Green Festival, to be held March 27. In 2009, an estimated 4,000 visitors gathered at the first festival where they learned about living lighter on the planet and celebrated the green lifestyle.

The 2010 event, which begins at 11:00 AM on Saturday, the 27th, will include a mix of entertainments and exhibits, a bicycle race, and a wide variety of organic foods. “The idea behind Chorlton’s Big Green Festival,” say the organizers, “is to offer local people the chance to sample sustainability in fun and friendly surroundings.”

Several types of events are promised for the day, but don’t miss the lead-off Thursday evening at the What Next? Forum.

What Next? Forum

The Big Green Festival has a new offering this year: On Thursday, March 25, the public is invited to attend the inaugural What Next? Forum. The evening will begin with talks by three green-living experts.

  • Marc Hudson, editor of Manchester Climate Fortnightly and the recent report Call to Real Action, will discuss the latest word in climate change science.
  • A resident of Ashton Hayes (TBA) in Cheshire will talk about how those who live in the village are working to become England’s first carbon-neutral community.
  • Andrew Leask from the Trafford Eco-House will describe what he and his family are doing to create sustainability in their three-bedroom home in Sale.

The Green Festival Discussion Group will finish off the evening with short presentations, followed by an open forum about how to make Chorlton greener. If you’re interested in the topics — or just curious — join in at 7:15 PM at St Clement’s Church, Edge Lane/St Clement’s Road, Chorlton.

Growing Locally

The theme of the festival this year is “Growing Locally,” which includes both gardening and growing your own food. Find out about garden allotments, plant swapping, and home delivery box schemes, among other topics. Tours of the Ivygreen Alotments will leave the Festival site at 2 PM and 3 PM.

Pedal Power

Riders join the bike parade at the 2009 Festival. Photo: Ian Palmer

The bike parade was a highlight of last year’s Festival, and this year promises to be no exception. Decorate your bike and don a costume if you wish — the theme, of course, is Green! Riders are invited to gather at St. Clement’s Church. The parade will begin at noon.

Several bike-related activities will take place during the day, including a free bike clinic. You’ll also find information on cycle paths and cycle safety, as well as low-cost bike repairs and bikes for sale.

Participating groups confirmed so far include the following:

Dead Rats – free bicycle clinic
Jack Cooper of Freewheelin’ – low-cost bike repairs and refurbished bikes for sale
Bike Right – information on cycling safely
Practical Cycles – bikes for sale and demos of cargo bikes
Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign – info on bike training
Friends of Fallowfield loop – info on cycle paths
Sustrans – info on cycle paths


Have you ever wondered about alternative therapies such as Reiki, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Shiatsu, Sound Therapy, Homeopathy, or the Alexander Technique? You’ll have an opportunity to try each of these and more at the Festival. For free “taster” sessions of the various techniques, go to the second floor of St. Clement’s Church.


In the spirit of learning about “all things eco and ethical,” the Festival offers unique workshops for adults and kids. Confirmed offerings include the following, with more in the works:

  • Learn to identify wild foods and herbs for medicinal remedies with by foraging with Medical Herbalist Jesper Launder.
  • Watch an exciting demonstration by Dreads ‘n’ Hoops, a talented troupe of hoop dancers, circus performers, and movement teachers. Then grab a hoop and try it yourself!
  • Get your creative juices flowing with the folks from the Grumpy Play Resource Centres as you make your own scarecrow.

Food and Drink

It wouldn’t be much of a festival without delicious goodies to eat and drink. Big Green Festival-goers will be able to purchase delicacies from a variety of Manchester’s best eating venues. Diners will also enjoy Fair Trade and environmentally friendly foods, including excellent organic and vegan selections. Come hungry!

If thirst strikes you during the day, take advantage of the opportunity to taste delicious ales and ciders from local breweries. Or, choose from organic wines and treat the kids to hot or cold soft drinks. Of course, no eco festival would be complete without a pedal-powered smoothie maker; your smoothie never tastes so good as when you truly “make it” yourself.

Music for Every Taste

Fair-goers gather at the Festival stage in 2009. Photo: Ian Palmer

Attendees will be treated to entertainment from such notables as SRGents (other/blues/melodramatic popular song – in French), Thingumabob and the Thingumajigs (showtunes/music/comedy), Dr. Butler’s Hatstand Medicine Band (acoustic/blues/jazz), Vanessa Lewis (acoustic/jazz/folk), I am Blackbird, Robin Mukherjee (acoustic), Samson and Delilah (other/acoustic/folk), Extra Love (reggae), Maliika (soul/ambient/acoustic), Blind Atlas (rock/blues/country), and the Rothwell Incident (psychedelic/ska/Southern rock).

Artists performing on the green stage include Irish folksinger Albert Thompson, classical guitarist Arlen Connolly, and Indie/acoustic/pop artist Taylor Giacoma. Additional acts include Lowrisers (folk rock/reggae/funk) and Midge Bite Band (ceilidh). A solar- and wind-powered sound system will broadcast green tunes throughout the day.

What more could you want? A dancefloor? They’ll have that, too.


Three exciting films will be showing during the day. The Vanishing of the Bees explains the disappearance of the bee population around the world. Following the film, beekeeper John Charlton of Manchester Beekeepers will speak about beekeeping.

Glocal tells the story of an American family who moved to Chorlton, leaving their “consumption-obsessed lifestyle” behind. “Glocal challenges the viewer to be more aware of the impact of their daily routine on their health, the environment and even international relations.”

Sisters on the Planet, a film by Oxfam, chronicles the stories of four women from around the world. The film “the destructive impact climate change is having in different communities around the globe” and shows how the women are fighting climate change in their own ways, in the developed and the developing world.

Scarecrows, Vintage Fashion, and Arts & Swaps

Information booths and swaps took place in the St. Clement's Church last year. Photo: Ian Palmer

Festival-goers are encouraged to start now to create a handmade scarecrow for the Scarecrow Competition. Several scarecrows will be displayed at local businesses in the week leading up to the Festival. Scarecrows will need to assemble (well, you’ll have to bring them, unless yours comes from Oz) by 10 AM at the church.

Once again, the Festival will host a vintage/retro fashion show featuring clothing from local charity shops. The emphasis this year will be on a discussion of the history of waste and recycling since the 1960s.

Check out the craft stalls with recycled and reclaimed goods. Meet local artists and environmentalists. Network. And in true environmentalist spirit, swap your used books, crafts, or clothes you no longer need that someone else might love.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)


One Response to “Chorlton Big Green Festival Celebrates “All Things Eco & Ethical””

  1. Chorlton Big Green Festival Celebrates “All Things Eco & Ethical” | Eco-FamilyFun - Green Living Tips On Saving Money For The Family on March 10th, 2010 9:25 pm

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