Dig the City success takes root

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Dig the City was a blossoming success, becoming a fixture of Manchester’s summer events season. Across 7 days (31 July – 6 August) the festival saw increased footfall across the shopping streets, up 5 per cent on the previous year.

The festival was launched with a floral bang by gardener Diarmuid Gavin, seeing a 25% increase in footfall on the opening Friday, a key shopping day for retailers.

On average over 100,000 people visited the festival area daily. It was particularly good news for New Cathedral Street, footfall was up 30% on last year.

Diarmuid Gavin praised Manchester for hosting a unique event “full of creativity and energy, different from the po-faced garden festivals elsewhere, but full of personal passions, respect for the environment and making gardens and green spaces easily accessible to everyone.”

The festival, in its 3rd year, is delivered by CityCo on behalf of the Heart of Manchester Business Improvement District (BID), a consortium of city centre retailers.

It brought 22 show gardens to the city streets, hosted a range of children’s events with the BBC and National Trust, free musical entertainment throughout the week, and a host of ‘Dig the City’ inspired offers and discounts for shoppers.

Over 20 leading retailers joined in the green spirit by creating garden party inspired windows, with House of Fraser winning ‘Best in Show’ for its impressive display.

On the final day of the festival, Wild Rumpus led a city wide treasure hunt for children, ending in a joyful giant water-fight in Greengate Square. *Footfall was up by 11%*, the festival successfully encouraging families to experience a fun-filled day out in the city centre.

Jane Sharrocks, Chair of the Heart of Manchester BID says; “We’re delighted with this year’s Dig the City, building on the success of previous festivals by offering a remarkable range of things to do and events that appealed to everyone from families to young professionals. Shops across the city centre have been reporting increased footfall with thousands of people coming into Manchester to enjoy the festival. Dig the City is a unique partnership bringing retailers together with community groups and key partners like the BBC and National Trust, to deliver something that’s truly unique to Manchester.”

Anne Latham, General Manager, House of Fraser adds; “Dig the City has been a great boost for our staff, customers and the city centre itself. Like many retailers, we enjoyed the creative challenge developing garden inspired windows. It’s been brilliant to see so many families coming into the city to shop, see the gardens and enjoy the free events.”

The gardens that appeared at Dig the City have found new homes in a variety city centre locales, leaving a lasting legacy for Manchester.

Sue Jeffries’ gold medal winning garden has been re-homed on the roof of the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and the ‘50 Shades of Green’ display is now an outdoor garden in Wythenshawe, supplying edible produce for a food education project.

Plants, trellises, planters and benches from the Coronation Street The Tour garden have been relocated to a residential alleyway in Whalley Range, and Incredible Edible’s garden will find a home in Salford.

Hulme Community Garden Centre’s award winning gold garden is being replanted in Hulme as part of a larger crowd-funded regeneration project, and plants used to dress the festival have been donated to Manchester Cathedral’s Victoria Street legacy garden.

Jane Sharrocks, Chair of The Heart of Manchester BID concludes; “We can all be very proud of the legacy of Dig the City. It’s not only been a terrific boost for retailers, the festival is a remarkable coming together of both community and business. We’ve managed to create a summer garden festival with a uniquely Mancunian spirit.”



Talk to us about getting involved next summer. Email us at digthecity@cityco.com

Let’s keep up the green spirit Manchester!

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