Spring is just around the corner so now’s a good time to get some plans in the diary for when the weather is a little less grey. SpringFest, a new festival taking place at Victoria Baths on Saturday 15 April, is set to be a huge celebration of art, music and culture in the city that does it best.
Taking place at the Grade II listed venue, doors will open at 11am with a range of musicians and performers playing everything from Afrobeat to Ukrainian folk. Already confirmed for the event are the Tungusku bringing their “hypnotic world grooves”, drums and dancing from the Senegalese Sens Sagna and the Kajamor Family, singalong songs from Chorlton Ukulele Group, the folk feel of Seamus Og & Friends, and klezmer from Klezmorim of Manchester.
Exhibitions and art pop-ups will line the beautifully tiled baths, with artists including Rachael Field and Nick Telfer from Pool Arts Studio, illustrator Sarah Thorley and printmaker Paulette Bansal all taking part in SpringFest 2023.
Guest participation is very much encouraged at this year’s festival, too, as those heading down will get the chance to try their hand at making their own music at Make Do and Disco from family-run business Our Kids Social. The collective runs events across the North West, with a focus on “good music, creativity, making new friends and bringing people of all ages together to connect at well organised, safe and exciting events.”
As part of Make Do and Disco’s Under The Sea themed pool party at SpringFest 2023, there’ll be fancy dress, art activities and silent disco headsets for families to get involved in. The free Victoria Baths activity station and kids play area opens from 11am.
Alongside this, Victoria Bath’s guided building tour will also open to the public, running at 12 noon, 1.30pm and 2.30pm across the day. This takes guests on a journey around the historic baths, diving into its history from when it opened its doors back in 1906, all the way through to its closure in 1993. For fans of Peaky Blinders, the Off Limits tour is another one to check out, as Tommy Shelby himself paid a visit to the Baths as part of the popular BBC drama, and guests can snap a selfie in the place of its most memorable scenes.
As day turns to night, a special performance from Ríoghnach Connolly and Honeyfeet will take place in the baths. Ríoghnach is the current BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year and her collaboration with Mancunian “wonky pop” band Honeyfeet takes in everything from protest song influences to dance rhythms resulting in unique musical poetry. Gallivantes will open the night with their danceable blend of ska-punk, reggae, disco, folk and rock.
Street food and drink will be flowing all evening, too, courtesy of local foodie favourites Honest Crust Sourdough Pizza and Dim Sum Su‘s steamed bao with fillings like crispy bulgogi beef, crispy beef and spring onion wonton pockets, and burgers with sauces like satay, hoisin and teriyaki. The Victoria Baths Bar will be serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
SpringFest runs from 11am to 4pm at Victoria Baths and tickets are £7. Tickets for the building tour must be booked separately, as well as for the evening performance by Ríoghnach Connolly and Honeyfeet. The tours cost £8 and tickets for the evening performance are £20 (plus booking fee).
Date: Saturday 15 April
Venue: Victoria Baths
Time: 11am – 4pm & 7pm – 11pm
Price: £7 for SpringFest, £8 for the guided tours, £20 for the evening performance