There’s no format to WestFest – we want it to be as unique and original as our independent businesses. The festival is an opportunity for our West Didsbury indies to show to visitors (both new and old, local and not-so-local) why they’re so special. In the past we’ve had BBQs, a Farmers’ Market, Punch & Judy, live music, wandering poets, mosaic making, fabulous foodie offers, art exhibitions, picnics, face-painting, floral workshops, wine tastings, crafting events and cookery demonstrations to name but a few.
This year, weather permitting, businesses will be putting on a show again – so, put the dates in your diary and take a stroll through West Didsbury. You just never know what you’ll stumble upon…
(If you’ve never been to WestFest before, things usually start getting going around midday – please be aware that the area can get very busy in the afternoon/evening and so we urge that all children are accompanied by an adult. Please note also, that the businesses would appreciate any consumption of alcohol to be done on the premises where bought, not on Burton Road or the surrounding roads).
Please note: WestFest cannot be held responsible for any changes made to the events listed below.Milly Mog will be starting WestFest festivities a little earlier with their annual Charity Evening on Wednesday 29th August. Tickets are now sale at the shop, priced at £5.00 per person, with proceeds going to the Manchester Children's Hospital. As well as showcasing the gorgeous new Autumn/Winter lines, there'll be canapés, provided by Pinchjo's. Then on Saturday 1st September, Milly Mog has invited back their amazing face-painter - people were queuing last year (and it wasn't just the kids who wanted to be painted up like ladybirds, dragons & tigers!), so get there early...
And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon will be holding a 48 Hour Bake-athon over WestFest weekend. They'll be treating the good people of West Didsbury to a a cake range that takes you from breakfast to dinner, and they'll be unveiling a sneaky peek preview of their Baked Breakfast Menu with lots of opportunities for breakfast freebies when the full menu launches in September. They'll also be pulling out all the cake stops and putting on a fabulous dessert table spread both inside and outside the shop – think decadent and naughty, perfect for the weekend treats and you’ll get somewhere close! All of this will be served-up in their new-look tea room with, most importantly, more tables and chairs so hopefully a) they won’t sell out by 2.30pm this year b) they can fit some more of you in!
Azzurro Restaurant is now taking bookings for between 12.00pm - 4.00pm on Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd of September for The Azzurro Antipasti Mash-Up! The restaurant is offering TWO starter sized portions of food COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE per person. (Please note that drinks charged accordingly). Azzurro antipasti plates comprise of a choice of King Prawns/ Grilled Sardines/ Mussels/ Char-grilled Calamari/ Involtini di Melanzane (v)/ Antipasto for 1/ Bruschetta Pomodoro (v)/ Artisan bread, olive oil & balsamic vinegar with marinated olives. Please be aware that they may run out! So, book to avoid disappointment - call 0161 448 0099.
Thyme Out Delicatessen on Nell Lane is having a bit of a mini WestFest of its own this year! Benefitting from the "Secret Garden" (you must know about it now!), Ben is hosting, on Saturday 1st September, Didsbury’s inaugural BEAT THE BREAKFAST CHALLENGE. The saying goes that you should “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” As part of this year’s WestFest celebrations, Thyme Out is offering everyone the chance to eat like royalty with the king of all breakfasts. If you love the Full Didsbury or Foodie’s Breakfast, you’ll go nuts for Thyme Out's latest creation, which is a breakfast THREE times the size of a standard Full English. This plateful will definitely keep you going until dinner! And best of all, if you finish it, you get it for free!* The Beat the Breakfast Challenge will take place in the Thyme Out Deli garden (weather permitting) starting at 10.00am. There will even be a special prize for the challenger who finishes first.
HOW TO ENTER - Registration is now open, so to to enter the challenge you can either call Thyme Out on 0161 434 8686 and pay your entry fee over the phone, or else simply call in and put your name down. If you’re too much of a wimp to take on the breakfast, you can come along and cheer on the challengers. As usual they will also have a stall full of freshly baked cakes, delicious cheeses, olives and deli fare along with the original and best WestFest BBQ; returning for the 4th year running. So come along and join in the West Fest-ivities at Thyme Out, celebrating doing business the Didsbury way. (Terms and conditions *All entries cost £20. If you finish within the allocated time (30 minutes), your entry fee will be returned in full. Any challengers who do not show up on the day will not be entitled to a refund. All entrants will be allocated a time between 10.00am and 1.00pm to attempt the challenge).
Thyme Out will also be hosting the inaugral GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF - http://www.didsburylife.com/news/692/the-great-british-bake-off-launched-at-westfest2012.html - open to amateur bakers and with prizes! And, as if that's not enough entertainment, there'll be busking musicians, playing in the garden, for your pleasure...
David Gavin Design will be holding a selected stock sale over the West Fest weekend, with selected items up to 50% off. There will be a selection of display curtains, lighting, wallpapers and giftware, plus a glass of wine for any shoppers. A brand new range of coffee table books will also be available from WestFest weekend - perfect for gifts as they'll be a mix of interiors, architecture and some quite unexpected titles!
Greens Restaurant, on Lapwing Lane, are running events over the two days. On Saturday 1st September, they will be lighting the BBQ - bring the kids along & for every dining adult, the youngsters will eat for £1.00. On Sunday 2nd September, there'll be a "Meet The Supplier" showcase event, with tastings - and over both days, we're promised our very own WESTFEST PIE on the menu.
Another Lapwing Lane independent, MacleodBradley Hair Salon, will be offering Bumble and Bumble Goody Bags to all clients booked in on Saturday and these will be being given out randomly on the street on Saturday so keep your eyes peeled! On WestFest Saturday, they will also be offering £5.00 off hair products on the Saturday and £20.00 off all electrical items, including hairdryers (rrp £49.99), Cloud 9 Hair Irons (rrp £129.95), Cloud 9 The O Gift Set (rrp £199)and Cloud 9 Wand (rrp £129) (WestFest offer excludes Cloud 9 Mini Irons). There'll also be Bucks Fizz and Bacon Barms for anyone who wants them on Saturday!.
Burton Road will experience a Pop Up Rose Garden stall will be serving tasty homemade treats outside the restaurant, all day from 10.00am – 4.00pm on Saturday 1st September. Westfest Specials will be on the weekend menu and the set menu running all day Sunday.
West Didsbury's gorgeous vintage bridal boutique, The White Closet, has a lovely WestFest gift for brides who place orders on Saturday 1st September - a half price accessory of your choice. With some stunning pieces available in the boutique, you lucky brides, who've already booked tour appointments, will be spoilt for choice. The boutique will also be open on Sunday 2nd September for some bridal browsing...
At Mary & Archie there will be food to take away, served on the street, including old favourites such as Jerk Chicken and a Chilli. There'll be a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party theme during Saturday and Sunday daytime, with pots of tea & plenty of cakes, and free lollies for children and face painting. On Sunday 2nd September, there'll be a very special WestFest Sunday Spoonful, with some specifically created WestFest specials on the menu.
Burton Road Bakery, as well as serving up their regular fabulous fare of hearty breakfasts which are always a winner on the morning of Sunday WestFest, will be - weather permitting - setting up a gourmet sausage cook-up on the terrace.
Customers who visited the Bond Store on Burton Road will be entered in to a prize draw to win a £30.00 gift voucher, and there'll be a glass of Prosecco for all our customers on Saturday and Sunday.
Crazy Wendy will be doing what only Crazy Wendy does at WestFest - as well as Thai food being for sale outside the restaurant, the lady herself will be found dancing on a table and blasting out Elvis Presley & Shirley Bassey. If you've not experienced Crazy Wendy at WestFest, this is one highlight not to miss, as before you know it, there'll be a karaoke show on Burton Road...
Burton Road newcomer, The Violet Hour, will be bringing a cosmopolitan flavour to proceedings with their mojito station (weather permitting) and a focus indoors on the new daytime food menu.
A Taste of Honey is taking on global flavours over the weekend of WestFest - Don Marco Pizzas will be doing tasters for their gorgeous new DIY pizza range and there'll be complimentary tasters of African and Indian curries from the new range, now being stocked in the deli.
If your child has an artistic or creative streak, you'll want to have Living Flowers on your list of things-to-do, because over the weekend Lynsey will running floral sessions, where children can run away with their imaginations and create bright & bold arrangements to take away.
Folk will be continuing their "WEST" theme. In previous years, we've had Wild West, West Coast, Weston-Super-Mare - and this year, they're promising...the West Indies. You'll need to watch this space as plans are still under wraps, but think we can guarantee it'll be another event to remember! We've heard rumours of jerk chicken, goat curry & an amazing face-painter, who we think will appeal to the little - and not so little - ones... And THE BEACH IS BACK!
The decorations start to go up on Friday and the fun starts in earnest on Saturday, with street food to go from the terrace & BBQ, food and drink from the West Indies, music heavy on the dub from two of Manchester's best, but lesser known, vinyl junkies. You're invited to come & relax on a caribbean beach amongst the coconut palms.... On Sunday, Folk will be showing off West Didsbury to its full, with a live band made up entirely from three local resident musicians who are more akin to playing with big names worldwide! On the terrace from 2.00pm. Old favourite Rob continues on the decks till late.
The Stove Room will be open over WestFest weekend, showcasing the amazing range of stoves they have in store. From The Hobbit, to the Stack through to the retro Dovre, we'll bet you've not seen many like these before. Nicola and Mark would love to pop in and say "hello" and get to them and their stoves - over a fizz and some nibbles.
Piccolino Restaurant will have the lovely ice-cream cart out on the terrace, where they'll be serving scoops of home made ice-creams, in a variety of flavours, and home-made, Piccolino speciality truffles. A real sweet-treat for WestFest...
Verso Bar & Restaurant will be joining in the festivities with the Choose Happy launch event which isopen to all open to all. There will be an acoustic guitarist set, Ed Sax & the Quartets live jazz session, poetry reading, health body scanning as well as stalls devoted to healthy and nutritional living and some enviromental discussions 1.00pm -6.00pm. Verso will also be setting up a hog roast on the Sunday afternoon.
Get a taste of authentic Persian cuisine with Pomegranate Restaurant on Burton Road - taster menu samples will be available, and this is an ideal opportunity to maybe discover a restaurant you haven't tried before.
Wing & his team from Wok & Flame on Burton Road will be cooking up some very tasty tasters to tempt your taste buds. Bet you won't be able to resist!
On WestFest Saturday, as long as it's not pouring with rain (!), The Metropolitan is intending to set up a BBQ on the Burton Road side of the pub - please note that this is event is not 100% definite, but we'll hopefully be able to confirm nearer the time. Then, on Sunday, lunches will be served as normal.
G.T.Blaggs will have some fantastic deals & offers on calor patio heaters, calor flame powers & gas BBQs all at clearance prices, for the WestFest weekend only. There will also be discount for calor gas for the weekend of Westfest.
Burton Road's Love2Eat Deli is getting all loved up for WestFest and introducing their new Music & Food Nights - Love Music - Love 2 Eat! The first themed evening will be on WestFest Saturday night when they'll be holding a soul music & food extravaganza. They will be playing all the hits from James Brown, Aretha Franklyn, Otis Reading, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder etc in a nonstop Motown & Soul Music Feast, served up with a giant slice of Love 2 Eat style SOUL FOOD... The price of the evening is £25.00 per head for a three course menu with unlimited wine. Bookings are being taken now - 0161 434 7077. During the day time over WesFest weekend, Buskers' Corner will return with Tea & Toasties for any budding musicians who want to rock up and play outside Love 2 Eat. There'll be extra tea for those prepared to keep to the Soul theme... All food and drinks are for sale to take away & eat in and Love 2 eat will be serving up traditional style Mississippi Lemonade & Hibicus Cocktails all day, plus Lady Marmalade Roasted Chicken Wings and Love Train Loaded Skins. So, if you're feeling the Love over WestFest, you know where to go...
Pinchjo's will be entering into true WestFest spirit with a weekend of Spanish styled party-ing. With a menu of favourite Pinchjo's dishes, new drinks created especially for WestFest weekend, some seriously good tunes - and a piece of original art being created by Joe himself - this is going to be one hot place to stop off at over the weekend.
Evie's Beauty Spa team will be out in force over WestFest weekend, on the streets of West Didsbury, spreading the word about their full range of treatments and with news of their latest adventure - Evie's Nail Bar which will be launching shortly. Watch out for the guys and girls in their Evie's T-shirts - they'll be handing out leaflets, which we suggest you keep a hold of, as with these you'll get £5.00 off your next treatment, whether it be in the Spa or the new Nail Bar...On WestFest Sunday (2nd Sept), if you have a nail shape & varnish for just £5.00, you'll receive a complimentary goodie bag. Evie's Nail Bar is trusting the weather forecast and doing filing & shaping outside the salon! No appointments necessary, so first come, first served between 1.00pm - 3.00pm.
Conley Hair & Beauty,will be having a sale on their range of clothing & accessories over WestFest weekend, as well as a sale on selected hair products. Bookings are being taken as normal for Saturday 1st September but make sure you do book in advance as the salon is very busy at weekends.
Reserve Wines, West Didsbury's only independent wine retailer, will be doing a wine tasting quiz for their chosen charities (Meningitis & Children with Cancer) and a special WESTFEST wine case offer just for WestFest weekend, meaning you can try before you buy and get an amazing deal on some brilliant wines...
Rhubarb Restaurant, on Burton Road, proudly presents, for WestFest weekend only, THE POP-UP TAVERN, serving a range of cooled draft beer, cider, stout and bitter and home cooked bar meals. A cheerful welcome from landlord, Mark Ramsden awaits all at the tavern. Families welcome. Coach parties by arrangement. The Pop Up Tavern Bar Menu comprises Buffalo Chicken Wings with stilton-sour cream dip, Classic Burger with everything on, Crispy Fried Chicken with a secret blend of spices and coronation coleslaw, Southern Pulled Pork Roll and of couse, Chips. (Takeaway is also available).
Belly Button, is hosting a craft table with jewels, glitter and card making! For adults and children! Everyone can join in and create something really special. Turn up between 12noon and 2pm on Saturday 1st September to get stuck in!
Frankie's Fish Bar, will be sailing the high seas over WestFest weekend, as their pirate ship sails into West Didsbury. Expect mini fish & chip cones and rum punch galore...
Junk Shop on Burton Road will have a DJ, gift bags, a £5 rail - and the odd drink or two...
Dhoop Shack will be showcasing their real Indian Street food along with an Indian Village Curry Tasting - all available inside & outside the Burton Road restaurant.
Friends of Lapwing Lane Arcade (FOLLA), is a local community campaign to rescue the last Edwardian shop canopy in Manchester. The canopy in front of the shops at the corner of Lapwing Lane and Palatine Road, West Didsbury is in danger of collapsing and, for various reasons, the shop owners can’t carry out the necessary restoration. So local people have got together to save their heritage and ensure it’s passed to the next generation intact. FOLLA has already collected £6,5000 towards their £35,000 target. With grants from the local council and further fundraising efforts, they're hoping to be able to get the work done by next summer when the arcade is 100 years old – and the West Didsbury Metrolink station opens opposite the arcade. At WestFest they'll be telling people about our campaign and signing up ‘Friends’ to join the campaign. There will also be a tombola on the stall, with prizes galore.
West Didsbury Residents' Association will be selling tickets to raise £1000 needed as a contribution towards the West Didsbury Christmas lights & tree. The Council pay the rest. All the prizes are kindly donated by our local businesses. Come and see what they are, in addition to one of Andy Burgess's carved wooden owls, just perfect for your backgarden/yard. WDRA will also have information about Albert Park Conservation Area, which many of you live in, and includes Burton Road. For those of you who are WDRA members it's a chance to renew your membership if necessary. And, if you're not a member, but want to be, this is your opportunity to join up.The WDRA stall will be outside the Co-op both days. Follow on Twitter @westdidsra
The Legend of Sia: An Entrepreneurial Tale
Piecing it together
WestFest was borne out of an initial discussion between Didsbury Life and Folk Café Bar and has grown and developed into a community festival which really does celebrate the spirit of independence in West Didsbury.
Here at Didsbury Life, we are very passionate about businesses collaborating and working together because it gives us a stronger voice. But Didsbury Life is just one of the pieces of our mosaic. WestFest is another. The Didsbury Wedding Event is another. We Are Life is another. As is Life PA. And our family is growing, hopefully now enabling collaboration across independent communities with Chorlton Life, Prestwich Life and very soon Urmston Life and Heatons Life.
So, it is a bit like the mosaic that Amanda McCrann created at WestFest10 – lots of little pieces, which when all glued together, become the bigger picture…