Manchester serves up top festivals for summer

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Albert Square, © Lee Wild, with thanks

Manchester will serve up a plethora of cultural delights to whet the appetite of music and theatre lovers, festival-goers, jazz enthusiasts and food junkies this summer.

Kicking off in July, the city will come to life when a collection of the finest, international artists and performers descend upon the city for the Manchester International Festival (MIF2015), followed by original new music and some of the city’s best emerging talent will be showcased.

And finally, there will be 11 days of food festivities that will take you on a culinary trip around the world that – something you definitely won’t want to miss!

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Manchester International Festival 2015, Albert Square, with thanks to MIF2015

Manchester International Festival
2 – 18 July
Various venues

This is the fifth installment of MIF, whose programme this year features, in equal measure, huge talent, innovation and original work spanning the arts spectrum. Not only does the event attract world talent, events also take place in some of the most historic, alternate and iconic venues the city, which simply adds to the atmosphere of it all. This is also the last year for Director Alex Poots.

Highlights this year include the awe-inspiring Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork. Returning for a second time after her dazzling performance in ‘Biophilia’ in 2013, the artist plays at Manchester’s Castlefield arena this time, with material from her new album, ‘Vulnicura’.

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Bjork, © Inez and Vinoodh, with thanks

The critically acclaimed and equally mesmerising, FKA Twigs, will bring take up residency at Old Granada studios to create seven short films over seven days, which audiences are invited to experience and observe.

New production, ‘The Skriker’, starring British actress Maxine Peake (another returning performer), as a disturbing shapeshifter in an ancient fairy story set in a fractured England, promises to be a chilling and captivating performance. While ‘Neck of the Woods’, debuting at Manchester’s newest cultural space, HOME, brings to life the story of a wolf from Charlotte Rampling, the Broadchurch starlet.

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Neck of the woods, © Douglas Gordon, with thanks

Richter/ Pärt’, promises to be an exciting collaboration between a world class composer and artist, who have created new musical works inspired by and dedicated to one, performed live in the stunning surroundings of the Whitworth Art Gallery.

Plus, new performer on the MIF scene this year, electronic music producer and DJ, Four Tet, will play a live set in the vast surroundings of former abandoned warehouse, Mayfield Depot, as part of a weekend long music event,‘10×10′.

There’s also a healthy injection of inspiring debate and discussion for two days at ‘Interdependence’ and a groundbreaking science show, featuring Professor Brian Cox.

If you just want to sit back and soak up the carnivalesque atmosphere, with great food and enjoy some free performances, you can be promised that too in Manchester’s Albert Square.

Manchester Jazz Festival

31 July – 9 August

Various venues

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Orquestra Timbala, © Daniel Parker, with thanks

Over 10 days an exciting array of international, regional and local jazz talent will take to the stage. With over 80 performances, bringing together multiple genres of jazz, there’s sure to be something for everyone, including some very special acts.

Launching with the New York Brass Band (NYBB), hailing ‘from the mean streets of Yorkshire’, this band will bring ‘swagger’ and ‘energy’ to Albert Square in order to start the party!

Don’t miss the big band sound of Orquestra Timbala, who will be returning with their distinctive Afro-Cuban beat.

For something alternative, a unique collaboration between Manchester’s Efpi records and Paris’ Onze heures Onze, will be performed by French quartet OXYD at Manchester’s hippest night spot, Soup Kitchen.

And for something new, Jazz North will be showcasing new talent from The Matt Holborn Quartet, an emerging gypsy jazz band hailing from Leeds, who will be performing in the Central Library.

Pride: The Big Weekend, Canal Street
August 28-31

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Manchester Pride Festival, with thanks

Held over the bank holiday weekend, this is the 25th anniversary of the Manchester Pride festival; a celebration of the city’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, spanning four days of ‘BIG’ festivities.

This year’s headlining act is award-winning pop-indie giants Texas, plus performances from Union J, DJ Fresh, US DJ Andy Butler and Hercules and Love Affair.

Pride festivities will kick off with the annual carnival parade, complete with floats, music and spectacular fancy dress, followed by a variety of acts and performances in different venues, including fringe arts events & performances throughout the city.  It will culminate in a poignant candlelight vigil in Sackville Gardens, when Canal street and the gardens will be lit up with lights.

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