Manchester’s newest live streaming platform has announced the special lineup of acts coming together to social distantly mark the anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack.
United We Stream GM will be broadcasting a four-hour commemorative live show on Friday evening.
Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, also known as ‘Mel C / Sporty Spice’, has been confirmed as the show’s headliner for an hour long DJ set.
Other acts filling the lineup include ex Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley and the Manchester Survivors Choir – the 100-strong group of individuals present at the Arena on the night of the attack – who will all be showcasing a socially-distanced performance.
This Friday 22nd May marks the third anniversary since the attack at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in 2017 where 22 people lost their lives and many more were injured.
People across Greater Manchester are being encouraged to not gather together to commemorate the anniversary this year, but to instead mark the day remotely and adhere to UK lockdown guidelines amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Speaking on her special appearance this Friday, Mel C said: “I can’t wait to for my live DJ set on Friday night.
“It’s so important to never forget the lives lost and affected because of this awful attack, now more than ever, as we face a crisis that effects every single one of us.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to bring a smile to your faces and get you dancing round your living room!”
Member of Manchester Survivors Choir, Cath Hill, said: “We feel honoured and excited to be asked to contribute to the wonderful United We Stream Greater Manchester project. We were anxious about how we would mark this year’s anniversary and felt deeply sad that we could not be together.
“With the help of everyone involved in the production of United We Stream, we can safely sing together, and remember and honour those who lost their lives.
“It means so much to us that on this day, we can share our message of resilience and hope in our amazing city. United, we shall sing!”
Catherine Tyldesley added: “To be remembering those we lost and anyone affected by the Manchester bomb attack is crucial. It reminds us of how strong we are in union.
“The city-region of Manchester has a heart and a strength greater than any other city I know. This is a special honour for me to take part in this United We Stream Greater Manchester remembrance. A true privilege to stand among such strong people.”
“I’ve never felt more proud to be a Manchester lass.”
“My prayers for the lost, and the families of those grieving will always remain in my Mancunian heart.”
United We Stream is hoping that the show will help to raise the spirits of Greater Manchester, whilst continuing the fundraising efforts that have so far raised £320,000 for the city region’s night time economy and local charities during the pandemic.
Sacha Lord, Executive Producer at United We Stream GM, said: “Clearly I know how difficult this week is, not just for the families of the 22 lives that were lost on the 22nd May 2017, but also for the many families, NHS, police, paramedics, firefighters, first responders and many people who pulled together on the evening of one of Greater Manchester’s worst days.”
“I also understand the importance of coming together on this date, remembering those lives and paying tribute to those who risked their lives.”
He continues: “That night at the Arena was a night of pop music with people dancing and having fun. At United We Stream we wanted to pay our respects, but can’t have the kind of anniversary gathering take place that we would have wanted.”
“At a time when we are living through another period when we need the city region to come together, we felt it right to pay tribute, but also allow residents of the city-region to dance their way through it, in their homes.”
Speaking on the announcement of the commemorative live broadcast, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, added: “Greater Manchester has experienced dark times in the past and the attack on the Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017 was one of the darkest.”
“The families and friends of all those whose lives were lost on that devastating night are always in our hearts – the 22 will never be forgotten.”
“This Friday’s United We Stream GM, will be a very special and thoughtful night marking a very important anniversary. It will showcase Greater Manchester doing what we do best as a community; remembering, commemorating and being together.”
It has also been announced by Mr Burnham across social media yesterday evening that “70% of the donations via the [United We Stream GM website] on Friday & up to lunchtime on Saturday will be given to charities set up by families who lost loved-ones on 22/5/2017”.
More details to follow.
For more information on the event, please refer to the United We Stream GM website here.
The broadcast will be free to watch, but donations are welcomed to support local causes.
You can donate via the website, or by texting ‘MUSIC’ to 70140 to donate £5.