Famed for his striking photos of the city at dawn, Simon Buckley returns with NQl weekend (17-20 May)

After a successful debut in 2016, the Not Quite Light weekend returns this May (17-20) this time in Salford, with over twenty goings-on: from art to music, guided tours to architecture and debate.

Founded by local artist Simon Buckley, the arts festival draws on his year-round Not Quite Light project, in which he takes ethereal photos of the city before sunrise: often focusing on themes of heritage and restoration. 

Taking place in the Chapel Street and River Irwell areas, the NQL Weekend ‘seeks to inspire people to observe (Salford), so often in Manchester's shadow, from a different perspective.’ 

...the subjects in question are so interesting and important to the future of Salford

Launching the festival will be a photography exhibition entitled From Trinity to the Crescent at the Lowry Hotel, which runs for two months and investigates the historic connections between the two cities.

Other highlights span storytelling at dusk (with local actor and activist Julie Hesmondhalgh) to a 4am Mobike through Salford and an evening with premium Salford-made fashion label, Private White VC. 

Scroll the From Trinity to the Crescent photo galleries below:

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Simon Buckley said: “It has been a joy putting this programme together - the subjects in question are so interesting and important to the future of Salford. Individually and collaboratively, I have created events at dawn, during the day and at dusk to explore the city in a unique way.

"I’m thrilled to be back with a 2018 festival. It's a new festival for Salford, with the aim being to repeat in 2019 and 2020. It would be fantastic to see as many people there as possible to meet, socialise, discuss and enjoy the environs of a special place through the arts and these events.”

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NQL Weekend highlights:

TRANSITION - Sacred Trinity Church, Friday 18 May

Poetry reading and storytelling from local actor and activist Julie Hesmondhalgh alongside live performances from classical musicians playing the work of Beethoven, Britten and Macmillan on the theme of dawn and dusk. There will also be a special performance of Amid The Irk Over The Irk - combining trad Irish and Jewish Klezmer music, featuring well-known musician Mike McGoldrick - and a special NQL commission by Daniel Mawson.

THE CHANGING FACE OF SALFORD - St Philips Church, Saturday 19 May

A screening of 1968 film The Changing Face of Salford followed by a discussion between city influencers - City Mayor Paul Dennett, head of development at Salford city Council Shelagh McNerney, Clare Devaney of Citizen-i and Andy Avery of Buttress architects - on Salford’s history and future, chaired by Katie Popperwell.

NIGHT LIGHTS - St Philips Church, Saturday 19 May

A captivating night of art, light installations, new music, live performances, poetry, ghost stories and cocktails by Into The Gathering Dusk - all against the stunning backdrop of the iconic Georgian St Philips Church. Musicians include rising star Carmel Smickersgill, Room 1985 and DJ Yatie Reyes. There will be a first performance of a commissioned sound work by Xavier Velastin, based on the sounds of the River Irwell, and poetry by space poet Dom Conlan and Emily Oldfield. In the crypt, meanwhile, cult horror actor Lauren Ashley Carter will regale visitors with ghostly tales…

CITIZENS' JOURNAL - Greengate Square, Saturday 19 May

Guided walk with a writer, sketcher, photographer and psycho-geographer to observe the city in early morning stillness. A journey of discovery through different eyes, with work produced captured in a zine.

MOBIKE SUNRISE - Greengate Square, Sunday 20 May

A festival and Mobike collaboration to bring you an early morning bike ride through the carless roads - see Salford from a different perspective before the city wakes.

AN EVENING WITH PRIVATE WHITE VC - Cottenham Lane, Friday 18 May

Post Industrial Revolution, Manchester and Salford no longer rely on cotton - yet it’s still integral to their identity. Situated in a side street off Strangeways, Private White VC keep the tradition alive with high-end menswear. Explore their mill to a specially-curated soundtrack, produced by BBC 6 Music favourite LoneLady, as local entrepreneur Thom Hetherington interviews the iconic brand (whose outlets include Selfridges and London’s Bond Street). There will also be a special dance performance by Sam Hussain, alongside musicians Liz Hanks and Michael Walsh.

AWAKE - The Meadow, Sunday 20 May

Be a part of an immersive, social, art performance to experience the sunset and twilight in a meditative and collective way. A harmonious and special closing event of the festival, with artist Lucy May Schofield. 

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From Trinity to the Crescent Simon Buckley

Not Quite Weekend takes place from 17-20 May - full programme and tickets at notquitelight.com