Exodus Festival

The Exodus Festival was an immensely popular event developed as part of CAN's nationally acclaimed and ground-breaking Exodus programme.

4 Nov 2020

The Exodus Festival ran between 2004 – 2010 as part of the UK’s and celebrated the rich contributions by refugee communities to the region’s creativity and culture.

The free festival largely took place at Urbis and Cathedral Gardens in city-centre Manchester and was enjoyed by over 50,000 people over its six years. The festival featured a live stage with world music, dance, spoken word, hip-hop, and rap. The event featured refugee artists and community groups from a vast number of countries including Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran, DR Congo, Cameroon, Burundi, Zambia, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Peru, and China.

Audiences could take part in workshops featuring dance, drumming, and music. The event had a family-friendly atmosphere with family workshops ranging from circus to face painting. The stalls in the festival’s global marketplace sold crafts and introduced visitors to a delicious range of international foods.

“Exodus celebrates the tremendous diversity we enjoy here in Manchester. It’s a lively and creative family and friendly event.”

“The Exodus Festival has gone from strength to strength over the past few years celebrating the tremendous diversity that we enjoy here in Manchester.”

Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester’s then-Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure.

Building on the legacy of the Exodus Festival, CAN was chosen to host and co-produce the second England-wide biennial Platforma Festival in 2013.

CAN’s experience of programming and producing Exodus has led to significant partnerships including its work with Manchester’s HOME in developing the city’s Horizons Festival for Refugee Week.