THE weekend saw Manchester’s first Double Scoop Sundae Festival.

The event, run by American ice cream-making pseudo-hippy types Ben and Jerry’s has been entertaining crowds in London for the past seven years.

This year they decided to recreate the formula in the North West for the first time.

The two-day festival was headlined in Heaton Park by Maximo Park on Saturday and Ocean Colour Scene on Sunday.

We went along for the Saturday and found something that was more like the ultimate summer fete than a festival in the conventional sense.

There are several angles that organisers can take when putting on an event such as this.

In the case of Sundae, it’s a day out at the park where the children and adults get to have fun on their own terms at good value, and still get home for bedtime.

It’s worth dwelling on the value aspect.

For £17 on the day (or £15 plus a variety of bewildering and pointless booking fees for an advance ticket), you get a line-up of mild-sounding lesser-known musicians and better-known headliners aimed predominantly at a 30-something audience and a dizzying array of activities for grown-ups and kids alike.

In fact, once you’re in, it’s refreshing how little you have to put your hand in your pocket.

Carousel, helter skelter, bungee running to name but a few are all free and mercifully short on queues.

Oh, and did we mention the ice cream. Every flavour and all free. Unlimited.

Festivals are an increasingly competitive market, so Ben and Jerry’s have wisely tried a new approach.

They’ve sacrificed a late curfew and multiple stages for silly games, friendliness and attention to detail.

It’s not all perfect of course.

The line-up is lacklustre and the animals in the “farm” really don’t have enough room, but the atmosphere is welcoming and all the staff are committed to the crowd having a good time.

Si Smith.