EUROCULTURED Afterthought

2017 June 8
by dickdickerydick

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Returning to New Wakefield Street for its sixth year, Eurocultured 2009 boasted a music and art showcase as ambitious and diverse as ever. Unprecedented Manchester sunshine on the Sunday drew the crowds down in their droves. Artists lined one side of the street, with Font Bar, Space and Thirsty Scholar playing host to some of the day’s music, tipped at either end by the two makeshift arch stages. The day rounded off with French act Nouvelle Vague playing out the main stage before the street was cleared to make way for the evening’s festivities…

Eurocultured Afterhours continued with the festival’s multicultural theme with some of Manchester’s renowned club promoters such as Contort Yourself, Roots Before Branches, Hit & Run and Drum Music inviting European DJs to play alongside their local residents across 6 different venues. Hit & Run vs. Drum Music at the Attic was the main attraction tonight with special debuts from Finland duo, Clouds, and Ninja Tune Spaniards, Zero DB. As predicted by 11 the place was rammed. Downstairs – Thirsty Scholar – was Drum Music, with Hit & Run reclaiming their old residence upstairs – the Attic. Gridlock was the inevitable result, with queues not only to get into the building, but snaking throughout it.

Playing it safe, after spending 20 minutes making our way upstairs, there we remained. Unfortunately that meant enduring an endless Ken Evil dull-step set, sacrificing Zero DB playing downstairs with Manchester Hip Hop collective Broke’n’£nglish. Clouds were entertaining if not slightly sedating, followed by Fibre vs. Paradigm X, who helped pick up the pace with a healthy dose of raga-infused D ‘n’ B. Whilst the night was enjoyable, it failed to live up to the incredible state I had personally hyped and hoped it to be.

Monday, the painters were once again out on force, but through a combination of overindulgence, ominous weather and the threat of work Tuesday, New Wakefield Street was otherwise relatively deserted. People were milling about but not to the extent of Sunday’s masses. The “Magnificent Revolution Bike Powered Stage” started failing then it began to rain, causing painters and crowd to retreat inside and the festival buzz to fizzle.

The festival concluded at Space with The Brothers Reed, Jon Kennedy, Blend and another of Manchester’s own, Hip Hop collective The Natural Curriculum – delayed and then cut short much to the annoyance of the growing Eurocultured after-dwellers.

To summate, Eurocultured is a true Manchester asset. It delivers something interesting, different to a city awash with homogenised music and cultural scenes. When compared to other local festivals, such as this year’s simultaneous Northern Quarter-based festival, Hungry Pigeon, its uniqueness becomes even more apparent. Run by the same promoters as In the City, Fringe and MAPS, Hungry Pigeon was yet another tiresome regurgitation of standardised music: same bands, same sounds, different venues.

With Eurocultured only one thing stays the same, the message: ‘to celebrate the diversity and similarities of culture from the continent’, this year executed once again to the highest degree of enjoyment. An ever-evolving and expanding Street Festival, one not to be missed.

Holly Dicker
photo by Joni Beattie