Massive Manchester gathering celebrates late icon of city

The Charlatans, New Order and Irvine Welsh pay tribute to Tony Wilson

The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess, cult author Irvine Welsh, comedian Steve Coogan and members of New Order were amongst the figures who today (June 22) completed a 24-hour “conversation” in memory of the late Manchester impresario, Tony Wilson.

The speech marathon – dubbed the city’s longest intelligent conversation – finished at midday on Sunday. It took place at Cathedral Gardens and the Urbis museum in the city.

Organisers of The Tony Wilson Experience hoped the event would inspire the next generation of creative talent in Manchester.

“Tony was always a great evangelist for Manchester and his music,” Irvine Welsh said. “I first met him in the Hacienda and then again a few years later when I got into writing.

“What always struck me was the way he never talked down to people, he always made time for them, no matter who he was speaking to.

“Talking to other people, sharing ideas and thoughts with them about what you do and what they do is an important part of the creative process for most artists and this is what the Tony Wilson Experience is all about.”

Broadcasters Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie – the former NME writer – were amongst the 24 key speakers over the 24 hours shared their creative expertise and experience with the hand-picked audience.

Tony Wilson was former boss of Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub. He propelled Joy Divison, New Order, Happy Mondays and others to fame. He died in August 2007.