Manchester Jazz Festival has announced it will be bringing three days of music right to Escape to Freight Island this summer.
With the government’s “irreversible” roadmap for lifting England’s current national lockdown now set out, the team behind the region’s longest-running music festival will bring the very best in contemporary jazz to three stages – ‘The Ticket Hall’, ‘The Round’ and ‘The Pavilion’ – at the highly-popular Depot Mayfield venue this June.
The event will be free to access, and audiences can book tables across the venue throughout each day of the extended weekend.
On Friday 11th June, audiences can catch sets from soul artist and favourite from the Manchester scene, Yemi Bolatiwa, storming sets from Mr Wilson’s ‘Second Liners’, and one of the brightest and boldest jazz talents in the UK, Rebecca Nash.
DJs Pablo Blanquito and Danielle Moore will also be providing some tunes.
Saturday 12th June will kick off with Ain’t Misbahavin’ – an interactive concert for 6-11 year olds and their families – followed by sets from fast-rising, global-infused Leeds band Yaatri, MOBO-nominated saxophonist Camilla George and nine-piece afro-beat collective Nubiyan Twist.
Saturday audiences can also enjoy Manchester-based singer songwriter Marco Woolf, the synthesised soundscapes of Rafe’s Dilemma, pounding brass parades from Back Chat Brass and Young Pilgrims, and DJ sets from Debra Richards and Harkirit Boparai.
Sunday 13th June will see The Untold Orchestra ft special guest Mali Hayes, high-energy beats and traditional African vocals from Ubunye, the Binker Golding Band led by the multi-award-winning saxophonist and composer, and sessions from Jazz North’s northern line bands Nishla Smith Quintet and John Pope Quintet.
There’ll also be high-energy brass covers of pop gems from Twisted Tubes and Break Out Brass, along with a DJ set from Jenna G and her Freight Island favourite, From MCR with Love.
A selection of street food and open-air bars will complete the festival vibe.
Speaking ahead of the event, Steve Mead – Chief Executive and Artistic Director at Manchester Jazz Festival – said: “As it became apparent we couldn’t stage our usual festival across the city in May, we wanted to do something that still embodied the spirit of Manchester Jazz Festival, and our weekend at Escape to Freight Island will do just that in what will be one of the first live music events with an in-person audience this year – three days full of unmissable, surprising musical moments teamed with a relaxed festival vibe and the best food and drink.
“Whether you’re first in line to book a table to see a new band or you simply want to surround yourself with live music again, the weekend promises great music and a good time all from the comfort of your own seat.
“We’re so excited to work with the team at Freight Island and can’t wait to show audiences what’s on offer”.
Fancy booking tickets?
Audiences can book socially-distanced tables with their household bubble free of charge for up to 2.5 hours in the different areas of the venue in advance, and there’ll be no entry on the door during the festival without a table booking.
In line with COVID-19 restrictions, table service will be available for food and drink during the event.
Audiences must not roam around the venue.
You can book your tickets for mjf @ Escape to Freight Islandhere.
Featured Image – Escape to Freight Island
Chester Zoo is giving away 35,000 FREE tickets to children
Chester Zoo is giving away tickets to local schools to help inspire a whole new generation of young conservationists.
The UK’s largest charity zoo is on a mission to help nature to “survive and thrive”.
And so, in a bid to do just that, has announced that it will once again be handing out tens of thousands of tickets to schoolchildren for completely free of charge, so that they can explore the zoo up close and learn all about the inspiring work the conservation charity does.
Chester Zoo‘s free ticket scheme has been running since 2017, and has already seen more than 100,000 children get to experience all the wonders the zoo has to offer.
We're giving away 35,000 FREE tickets to children in nurseries, schools and colleges across the UK! 🙌
We want to inspire a new generation of conservationists who can help us create a future where nature THRIVES. 🌍
With the hopes of empowering as many youngsters as possible, and sparking their passion for saving species once again, the zoo has now opened the scheme back up for the 2024/25 season – with a whopping 35,000 tickets available for schools, nurseries, and colleges to claim.
Not only that, but the zoo has also decided to open the initiative up to the education providers that haven’t benefited from the scheme within the last three years.
Every school participating in the programme will receive a free resource pack to help maximise the educational impact of their zoo visit.
Chester Zoo is giving away 35,000 tickets to children for free / Credit: Chester
“Every one of us is a custodian of our natural world,” commented Charlotte Smith, who is the Director of Conservation Education and Engagement at Chester Zoo, “But it’s the next generation of conservationists who are fundamentally important to overcoming the environmental and biodiversity challenges our planet is facing.
“They are inspiring and they give us hope, which is why we’re so keen to connect them with the awe and wonder of nature and help to nurture their passion and desire to make a difference.
“It’s proven that a visit to the zoo can significantly enhance people’s understanding of the huge efforts that go into conserving highly threatened species, while also bringing physical and mental health benefits.
“That’s why we particularly want to reach youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds and ensure they are the primary beneficiaries of the initiative, so we can provide them with the skills and know-how to go on and make a real, positive difference to wildlife in their everyday lives.”
The zoo is hoping to help inspire a whole new generation of young conservationists / Credit: Chester Zoo
Applications for Chester Zoo’s Free School Visits programme are now open, with free visits able to take place between Friday 1 November 2024 – Friday 28 February 2025, and any forms that are incomplete or received after the deadline date of Friday 22 March 2024 are unable to be processed.
The scheme is open exclusively for nurseries, schools, and college groups.
Places are open to schools who haven’t taken advantage of the scheme in the last four academic years, and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so the zoo is advising that people complete and submit the application form at “your earliest opportunity” to make sure they don’t miss out.
Pretty Woman The Musical at Palace Theatre Manchester – a Hollywood dream come true
“Welcome to Hollywood. What’s your dream?” goes one of the most iconic lines in Pretty Woman, the musical version of which has just landed in Manchester.
And after the opening night of the theatre production of this beloved film, mine is to relive the experience over and over again.
There are tears, incredible voices, amazing outfits, and just generally the perfect remake of my favourite film.
After a record-breaking run on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical opened at The Palace Theatre in Manchester last night, and my god it was brilliant.
If you don’t know the story line by now… then come on? Set in the 1980s, it begins with Edward (in the film, a suave Richard Gere) asking for directions in Hollywood Boulevard, and finding all the answers from Vivian (played by Julia Roberts in the film). And so the romance begins.
On stage, we kick off in the Blue Banana, and exactly like the film, we meet Vivian, Kit and the homeless man (or Paige Fenlon, Natalie Paris, and Ore Oduba, plus Ben Darcy as Edward). Their CVs include stints on SIX The Musical, Les Miserables, and Strictly Come Dancing.
Their voices will all blow you away, but my favourite on stage has to be Ore, transforming from the homeless man shouting ‘what’s your dream!’ to Mr Thompson in the hotel teaching Vivian to dance, to the conductor at the opera, a shop owner on Rodeo Drive and loads more roles.
He delivers brilliant transitions into every scene.
Ore Oduba in Pretty Woman The Musical, which is at the Manchester Palace Theatre until 16 March.
The theatre show has all the major moments from the film, like the iconic shopping scene, the day trip to a polo match, when he finally ‘sleeps’, and down to the most perfect costume of the red dress and the necklace for the opera. The voices of the opera singers are staggering, too.
With its own soundtrack compared to the film, there’s enough to lure in even those of us who have re-watched the film 100 times and can quote it line-for-line.
But Pretty Woman The Musical does wrap up with the titular song from the classic hit, and there’s something about the finale – the standing ovation, huge cheers and applause – that brings me to tears.
If you don’t have tickets yet, big mistake… HUGE!
Pretty Woman The Musical is on at the Palace Theatre in Manchester until Saturday 16 March, and it’s definitely not one to miss.