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The second Manchester International Festival released its 2009 programme this week. It's turning into the the best multi-platform arts festival in the UK - but then the size of its budget - a whopping £10m this year - probably helps with that. That said, they're making great artistic decisions. While the Edinburgh International Festival is clearly on the up under Jonathan Mills, Manchester is setting a great standard in new commissions.

manchester21The second Manchester International Festival released its 2009 programme this week. It's turning into the the best multi-platform arts festival in the UK - but then the size of its budget - a whopping £10m this year - probably helps with that. That said, they're making great artistic decisions. While the Edinburgh International Festival is clearly on the up under Jonathan Mills, Manchester is setting a great standard in new commissions.

And obviously chosing to put an image for Gustav Metzger's new plea for environmental sanity Flailing Trees, which is one of those commisions, on the cover shows a kind of ethical intent which other festivals need to match.

More about Metzger's sculpture here.

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