Through The Mill Festival is on this Saturday for the third year in a row. With entertaining and equally enlightening events the festival invites neighbours to come together, talk and discuss. I spoke to organiser Paul Darnborough who explains why Through The Mill has the ability to strengthen the Ancoats neighbourhood.
The Ancoats Dog Show, the world’s biggest dance class for Northern Soul music, and a workshop called „Unfuck Yourself“ – these are only a few programme peaks of the Through The Mill (TTM) Festival taking place this Saturday, 15th of September, in Ancoats. Organised by volunteers the festival celebrates its 3rd edition with loads of diverse events that invite neighbours between 12pm and 6pm to various locations within the district mainly being St Michael’s Church and Cutting Room Square.
Attending the festival is free, which is and always has been a key factor for the inventors, as organiser Paul Darnborough explains: „The festival experience is increasingly popular but it excludes a lot of people as ticket prices are high and people don’t have all the equipment needed. We wanted to try to put on a free festival in the middle of Manchester that everyone could attend.“
With that in mind, the TTM team created an inclusive programme, which aims to bring people together. „We think that people are increasingly isolated and do not connect with each other in real life enough. Communities are weakened and the opportunities for healthy social interaction are less and less frequent – this is not a good thing“, Paul states and adds: „The core aim of TTM is, therefore, to provide a day of interesting events, for people to engage in and interact with each other, for people to meet each other and hopefully find that they have more in common than divides them.“
Despite creating a communal experience the festival also wants to look at the past. A workshop called „The Histories of Ancoats“ for example takes a journey back in time exploring the rise and fall of Cottonopolis. An excursion to yesterdays that is followed by a talk about the area’s future: In „The City We Build“ visitors are invited to discuss urban visions and concepts.
TTM Festival is a great opportunity to learn something about Ancoats but more importantly, it is a good way to meet neighbours, discuss, laugh, get out of your bubble. Paul stresses: „Healthy neighbourhoods are places where there is trust and good connections. These can be built and created by the will of the people. Everyone has a role to play in a neighbourhood. A neighbourhood is only groups of people living together. You have a choice, you can make a commitment, put down your roots and connect with people and be positive. This is what we are trying to do.“
Through The Mill Festival
Saturday, 15th of September 2018
St Michael’s Church and Cutting Room Square
More info: www.facebook.com/throughthemill