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Operators of Manchester outdoor market and festival space Escape to Freight Island have invested £2 million in the creation of new inside space The Ticket Hall.

Located at Depot Mayfield, which holds the Warehouse Project, Escape to Freight Island launched in July and managed to remain operational prior to the November lockdown.

The opening of The Ticket Hall on 3 December will extend the socially-distanced capacity of Escape to Freight Island to 1,200. Since its launch the development has created more than 1,000 jobs and has seen an attendance of more than 80,000.

The project is the result of a collaboration between industry veterans in the festival, food and hospitality sectors. Co-creators include Jon Drape of Engine no 4; Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey of Volta, Electrik Bar and The Refuge; Broadwick Live CEO & Festival No.6 director Gareth Cooper and venue operator Dan Morris.

Cooper said, “We are really proud and excited to have taken on this ambitious project in the middle of a pandemic. Part of the adventure was to create something totally unique but also it was very important to me that we always had an eye on helping out Manchester and its people.

“It did feel like a responsibility that while the world was doom and gloom and shutting up shop and waiting for the end that I got out there and took the challenge on and went forward with the total belief that what was at the end of the journey would be an epic venue for Manchester and the North West.

“We needed to create something that shone out, the moved the marker forward and with the help of huge amounts of people we got there and we are well proud of what we’ve done”