Macclesfield Garden Festival 2019 is set to attract visitors from all over the North West this month, with stunning displays and lots going on for everyone, not just garden enthusiasts! The event will take place from Friday 21st June to Sunday 23rd June, transforming the town and historic Christ Church grounds on Great King Street.
We had a wonderful opportunity to speak with Festival director Jon Tilley. He eagerly explained that his aim is to encourage visitors and the community to come together in this inclusive Multi-Arts festival. Gardens, design, arts and nature will be celebrated. Schools, Colleges, the town council and businesses have got involved and shown the strong community spirit in our town. Jon worked in the landscape industry for 20 years including RHS gardens at Tatton Flower Show, Hampton Court and a Gold Medal in 2011. He felt this had left ‘a hole in life which he needed to fill’.
Jon shines with passion and positivity for nature and the environment. He wanted to share his love of gardens with his local community and encourage the new generation to feel passionate about having a greener environment. As he says “I think our slogan for this year, considering words from both ends of life’s experience, David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, should be taken from the Green Cross Code: Stop, Look, Listen! We want to change our town for the better. It is hard to change the world, but we can change the world around us…”
The theme for 2019 is ‘Geography and Travel’. There is a host of events taking place and a great mix of musicians and artists. Local high schools are creating 16 ft high and 4 ft wide installations on the Town Hall pillars and Kings school will be creating a 2-metre diameter ‘Plastic Planet’, to be exhibited in the Town Centre. 9 primary schools are building gardens along with 1 high school. There will even be a World Fashion event on Saturday evening where School designers will create amazing clothes designs based on styles from around the world. The community have been making Eco bricks from plastic bottles to make flower beds too!
There will be 13 gardens to see, a floral marquee with hands-on creations for children. Reaseheath Horticultural College is getting involved, Jon says “We are really excited to welcome Reaseheath this year, who will be entering a garden design and floral art display. They were really impressed at the number of schools taking part and saw the potential of the festival to enlist budding garden designers and landscape professionals into our industry”.
There will be a Martial Arts’ oriental garden this year. To tie in with the ‘Geography and Travel’ theme there will be demonstrations from Artists from:
American kickboxing, Brazilian Ju Jitsu, Japanese Karate and Thai boxing! Many local clubs have taken part including Voodoo Gym, Macclesfield Muay Thai, Protea Kickboxing and Shuko freestyle Karate.
There is a shop front display competition which runs from Saturday 15th to Saturday 30th June which will see Macclesfield bloom with beauty and has a prize of £100 for the best display! McCann Manchester, an international agency who won the TV advert of the decade award have offered a life-changing career opportunity of a week’s work placement for a 6th form student to design a Macclesfield Garden Festival poster.
Astra Zeneca is recreating a small piece of Tuscany on their Macclesfield site. They have also been selling sunflower growing kits in conjunction with the East Cheshire Hospice and are inviting people to plant them in a plot they have prepared on site.
On Saturday 22nd June, there will be the ‘1@1to1’ Solstice wassail. This is where children are encouraged to make as much noise as possible for one minute at 12.59 in the main show ground at Christ Church gardens around the ‘Plastic Planet Project’. This enjoyable event is to encourage nature to be bountiful and drive away bad luck.
There will be music from the considerable local talent we have here throughout the weekend and a range of food and drink on site.
Children go free to this festival and adults only pay £4 for tickets, £2 of which is a voucher to spend at the event. Any profits raised by this inspirational event go back into building community gardens. The previous Macclesfield garden festival in 2017 profits went into building the Broken Cross Primary School ‘Dinosaur Garden’ and the Macclesfield Bus Station ‘Oriental Garden’.
Come and see our town in all its blooming glory and contribute to make more creative community projects a reality and remember the entrepreneurial ethos behind organising this event is positivity and lateral thinking. As Jon poignantly put ‘We want to change our town for the better. It is hard to change the world, but we can change the world around us…’
For more information on the event visit the official Facebook page