Bringing the community together in Manchester over four days in June.
Irlam Live 2022 took place over the four day Platinum Jubilee Weekend from 2-5 June. Headline acts included Marti Pellow, Bananarama, The Feeling and N-Trance. We talk to Darren Goulden.
Describe your event and how many people it attracts?
We are a boutique family festival with a unique atmosphere. We are in our sixth year and attract 5,000 people per day over a four day event.
Explain a bit about your venue
Our venue is a purpose built amphitheatre (2011) in the heart of Prince’s Park in Irlam, Manchester. The park has been an integral part of the Irlam and Cadishead community since the 1930s.
What is the event’s history and what made you decide to run it?
We have been running our event since 2016, originally it was going to be a food and drink festival with tribute bands but the event was adopted and supported by the community and local businesses which enabled us to set our sights higher. The idea came about as there was so little going on in the area and the annual summer fair had got to be embarrassingly small and out of date!
How does the relationship work with the venue?
The venue is owned by Salford City Council (SCC) and we have had our differences regarding the amount charged, but we are on a better understanding after this year’s event.
How is your relationship with the local authority and community?
The local authority is SCC and our relationship has been rocky but we are OK now. Our relationship with the local community however has never been better. People have taken our event into their hearts and adopted it as their own. To this end the local community is very protective of the event.
How have you planned the layout?
As the event has grown massively the layout is done on a CAD drawing program to scale. This forms part of our event management plan. A large stage, marquees, toilets, power generators, seating and fencing make up the infrastructure. We use track matting for ground protection.
How do you work with creatives to make these spaces work?
We have a great creative team and we have done our homework to make sure we make the most of the spaces provided. We use Buddah Group for décor and lighting.
How did you research and source your infrastructure?
We do research online and also visit numerous events looking for new suppliers and contacts. We also network and attend the Showman’s Show. We have our own bars and bar staff.
What entertainment do you offer and how did you choose and source it?
We offer a myriad of entertainment, from world class artists to opportunities for grassroot bands. In between we have a silent disco, princesses, dinosaurs, table tennis, football goals and a funfair.
This year we kicked off on the Thursday with ‘Cool Britannia’ – the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee day – and some awesome tribute bands including Real Magic Queen, Revival Abba, Aladinsane (Bowie), Take Off That, LMX (Little Mix) and Tony Lewis as Robbie Williams. We had lots of things happening off stage too, including a fantastic model-making workshop from the Oscar-winning Aardman Animations.
Friday generally has an indie feel and we had leading Oasis tribute band NOASIS headlining the main stage for the second time. Runaway Killers, Ultimate Stone Roses, Bob Marley Experience, Small Weller and Amy Winehouse Alive also played. Off stage, we had Chomp, the UK’s largest T.Rex, making a terrifying walkabout.
On Saturday we had Banarama headlining the main stage along with N-Trance, Brutus Gold’s Love Train, Abz Love from 5ive and Ben from Phats & Small. The Feeling, Heather Small, Nadine Coyle from Girls Aloud, Hue & Cry and Doctor and the Medics played on the Sunday.
What provisions do you make for power, lights and sound?
We bring in all our own power, lights and sound each year – the ban on red diesel has certainly increased costs of the power for the weekend.
How do you manage admissions and visitor safety?
We have a dedicated security team from Exclusec who manage admissions and keep visitor safety as the priority.
How did you cope during 2020 and 2021?
We had to move our event four times but managed to get it away in September 2021. We received no help at all, especially from the likes of the Arts Council or, in fact, anything from the government.
How do you publicise the event?
Through our social media and PR channels. We have around 8,000 followers on Facebook.
What additional challenges have you faced?
All the new criteria post Covid.
How have you financed the event and how profitable is it?
We have had very little in the form of grants over the six years. Sponsorship, ticket sales and running our own bars have helped to finance the event. Profitability improved after years 3 and 4.
What are your plans for next year?
We are doing Irlam Live and two new events in 2023.
What advice could you give to someone coming into the outdoor event industry?
Come and have a coffee and a sit down and I could save you a considerable amount of time and money if you’re thinking of getting into events!
DÉCOR & LIGHTING
Budda Group www.buddhagroup.co.uk
HEAT & POWER
Euro Generators www.eurogenerators.co.uk
BARS & CATERING
Joseph Holt www.joseph-holt.com
Nixon Hire www.nixonhire.co.uk
WI-FI & CARD MACHINES
Breath Payments Epos www.breathepay.co.uk/smart-pos-and-epos
Event Insurance www.events-insurance.co.uk
2-4 June 2023
Manchester M44 6BR