Not Quite Light Festival: What's on as arts festival returns to Swinton for the first time since the pandemic

There will be three days of live performances, exhibitions and more.
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Not Quite Light Festival is returning to Salford next month for the first time since before the pandemic. It will feature a whole range of events around art, music, architecture and debate. 

This revival edition of the festival will take place across Salford, including Swinton Square shopping centre and the Grand Palais ballroom from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 March. There will also be workshops, exhibitions, live performances, talks and guided walks.

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The first festival took place in 2016, founded by artist Simon Buckley. According to the festival’s website, the inspiration behind the event was a sunset walk through the historic Angel Meadows and the question: “If this light could magically bring these souls back to life, what would they make of their city today?” 

Not Quite Light Festival is returning to Salford in March 2024. Credit: Not Quite LightNot Quite Light Festival is returning to Salford in March 2024. Credit: Not Quite Light
Not Quite Light Festival is returning to Salford in March 2024. Credit: Not Quite Light

There will be 12 events in total, including the premiere of Simon’s film Gathering Points followed by a cabaret and dance festival launch event at the historic Grand Palais. There will also be a soundscape set in the shopping precinct in collaboration with artist Lowri Evans and musician Biff Roxby (Wood Rooms Studios / Honeyfeet), as well as artist Len Grant, who will be leading sketching sessions in the precinct.

 Buttress Architects will be putting together a diverse program for kids and there will also be a drop in session with Swinton’s knitting group, guided walks by the Modernist Society, a music production workshop by Brighter Sounds, a dawn photo-walk along Swinton Greenway, a music event with headliner Gideon Conn, and an exploration of Coronation Street creator Tony Warren’s work, among other things. 

What do the organisers say?

Creative director Simon Buckley said: “I love Salford, and find it a very exciting city. It's not got one centre, but several, and I think this gives the communities that live here a unique character and strength. There is so much local talent, and a real underground dynamic.

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 “I'm delighted to bring back the Not Quite Festival, to again have the opportunity to commission some great artists and bring community groups together for the people of Swinton to enjoy. This year we've had fantastic backing from Salford City Council, which understands the value of creativity within the city. I work out of Islington Mill in Salford, and am very aware of the commitment shown by the council in making Salford a tremendous place to be for cultural activity.

 "It's been a wonderful experience bringing together various community groups and artists, and discovering how much talent and energy there is within the town. Like so many places that might not be on our radar there is so much more going on than is immediately apparent, if we'd just take the time to explore and discover.”

Not Quite Light Festival is returning to Salford in March 2024. Credit: Not Quite LightNot Quite Light Festival is returning to Salford in March 2024. Credit: Not Quite Light
Not Quite Light Festival is returning to Salford in March 2024. Credit: Not Quite Light

 Councillor John Merry, Chair of the Swinton Project Board, said: “it’s great to see an established event like the Not Quite Light Festival choosing Swinton as its home for 2024. Swinton has plenty to celebrate, and it also has the potential to be one of the best places to live in Greater Manchester.

"During a recent consultation asking what people thought about Swinton and what sort of future they wanted to see for the town, one of the things local people told us was that Swinton needed to be a more vibrant place, with more going on - and more reasons for people to visit and spend their leisure time in the area. This exciting weekend of activities is part of a programme of events for 2024 developed in response to that community ambition - and is a great opportunity for people to explore the town and experience something new."