Enjoy a May Weekender for the whole family with Our Friends Electrik at The Refuge in Manchester. For those who want to keep it simple you really don’t need to leave the city at all!
The crossroads of Oxford Road and Whitworth Street in Manchester have provided a cultural rite of passage for generations. While the Palace Theatre and The Ritz fly the flag for the role this spot has played over the years, The Cornerhouse Gallery and Cinema housed below the station for 30 years has moved to Home. The old Refuge Assurance company building, with its iconic red brick tower, lay empty for years before a new wave of Mancunian development saw it become the Palace Hotel and then undergo a refurb to become the Principal Hotel in 2016.
If you enter via the grand corner entrance, you’ll enter The Refuge Dining Room and Public Bar, a space curated since the hotel reopened by DJs-turned-restaurateurs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford. Like the location of the Refuge, Cowdrey and Crawford, under their Unabombers guise, have been central characters in an evolving Manchester cultural scene for years. Years that have seen their famous Electric Chair and Homoelectric parties evolve to add all things foodie to their repertoire. Very much in keeping, the Refuge space has been host to a stack of creative happenings, and this bank holiday promises to add to the list from Friday 25th to Monday 27th May so you don’t even have to leave the city centre.
On Saturday 25th May, The Whitworth Art Gallery will take over The Refuge recreating the gallery in The Den and The Courtyard spaces. Guests will be given the opportunity to immerse themselves in artist-led activities for all the family including bringing artwork to life in 3-D and Live Art all inspired by the Whitworth Collections. The Kid’s Social returns with an eclectic array of fun and games for children each day from 10am – 12pm in The Courtyard including lino printing, circus activities and mobile storytelling.
Onwards to Sunday 26th May, The Basement will be turned into a Stitched Up Clothes Swap and Wardrobe Surgery the Manchester based non-profit cooperative workshop offering skills and resources for sustainable style. Bring along up to 10 of your unworn or unwanted items of clothing to swap or fix them up at the alterations bar, to refresh your wardrobe the eco-friendly way.
Sunday will see make-up masterclasses and a pop up shop from Urban Decay with expert classes on add Disco glitz and glam with bright eyes and glitter, a Smokey masterclass where you can learn how to create the ultimate smoky-eye; and a Less is More masterclass for those who prefer things understated.
Sonic sensations will be provided throughout the weekend by Dr Sid’s Summer Riviera with Lord Chester and Dom Blood & Fire in The Courtyard and Public Bar. The soundtrack of lounge, Latin, cocktail jazz, jumped up jive, swing, exotica, roots and reggae will be perfect for a summer afternoon.
To conclude the bank holiday extravaganza in a relaxed pose ready for the week ahead, Monday 27th May sees Lululemon hosting a spectacular yoga session in The Winter Garden led by yogi Jen Possami to teach a calming flow with warming Indian vibes. Sign up at Eventbrite and bring your own yoga mat!
The Refuge is located on Oxford Street, Manchester M60 7HA next to The Principal Manchester Hotel. More details can be found at www.refugemcr.co.uk/blog/.