Dig the City became a summer event staple in Manchester. During the 7-day celebration (31 July – 6 August), shopping streets reported a 5% increase in footfall. Gardner Diarmuid Gavin started the festival with a flowery flourish, increasing footfall by 25% on the first Friday, a critical shopping day for shops.
Every day, about 100,000 people visited the festival. New Cathedral Street had a 30% increase in footfall over last year.
With personal passions, environmental awareness, and making gardens and green areas freely available to all, Diarmuid Gavin applauded Manchester for holding a unique event. The city produces the festival for the Heart of Manchester Business Improvement District (BID), a group of city-center shops.
It brought 22 exhibition gardens to the city streets, free musical entertainment all week, and ‘Dig the City’ inspired offers and discounts for shoppers.
Over 20 top businesses created garden party-inspired windows, with House of Fraser taking home the ‘Best in Show award.
After a city-wide treasure search for kids, Wild Rumpus hosted a massive water fight in Greengate Square on the festival’s final day. Footfall increased by 11% as the event encouraged families to spend a fun-filled day in the city center. Thousands of festival-goers have increased footfall in shops across Manchester’s city center. This is a unique alliance between merchants, community organizations, and important partners like the BBC and National Trust to create something really Manchester-centric.
Dig the City has benefited our workers, customers, and the city center itself says House of Fraser General Manager Anne Latham. Like many retailers, we enjoyed designing garden-themed windows. It’s great to see so many families visiting the city to buy, garden, and attend free events.”
The gardens from Dig the City have found new homes in the city’s core, providing a lasting legacy.
Sue Jeffries’ gold medal-winning garden is now an outdoor garden in Wythenshawe, offering edible crops for a food education project. Coronation Street plants, trellises, planters, and benches The Tour garden is now in Whalley Range, while Incredible Edible’s garden is now in Salford.
Plants used to adorn the festival have been donated to Manchester Cathedral’s Victoria Street legacy garden. The festival has not only benefited retailers, but also brought together the community and business. We’ve created a Mancunian summer garden festival.”