The last couple of years have been rough for the theatre and live music industries, but there are some massive shows to look forward to in Manchester this year.
Our city’s cultural scene continues to push forwards with huge festivals, world-renowned theatre and some of the planet’s biggest musicians paying visits in 2022.
Parklife will be back, as will open-air gig series Sounds of the City, and the AO Arena has a packed programme of concerts ahead.
Our theatres will also welcome global musical talent, including the UK premiere of a stage version of one of the most-loved films of all time.
Here are some key dates for your diaries.
Parklife, Heaton Park
Parklife is easily one of the biggest dates in Manchester’s music calendar, attracting 80,000 music-lovers to Heaton Park every day.
The line-up for its 2022 edition hasn’t been announced yet, but still 42,000 eager people have already bought tickets.
Registration is open now for this year’s festival between June 11 and 12.
Sounds of the City, Castlefield Bowl
There was a tonne of disruption for Sounds of the City in the last couple of years, but the popular open-air gig series is back with a bang in 2022.
This summer’s line up at Castlefield Bowl will be made up of performances from Lewis Capaldi (June 28), Foals (June 29), Crowded House (June 30), James (July 2), Pixies (July 5) and Sam Fender (July 6).
The whole thing will wrap up with the always sold-out gig with Hacienda Classical on July 8.
Disney will be hogging the stage at the Palace Theatre in 2022, in news that will delight thousands, with both huge runs of both The Lion King (October 27 to December 24) and Beauty and the Beast (March 31 to June 4).
School of Rock will keep playing at the Palace until January 15, before making way for a huge bill of musical biopics including 9 to 5 The Musical, and We Will Rock You.
The fun will continue with shows like Sister Act, Dreamgirls and Blood Brothers.
Strap in – it’s a BIG year at the AO Arena this year.
Manchester’s biggest indoor gig venue will host the likes of Billie Eilish (June 7 and 8), Little Mix (May 6 and 7), and Stormzy (March 19) in the coming year.
Some of the biggest names on the planet will grace the stage here in 2022 – we’re talking Celine Dion (June 5 and 6), Queen and Adam Lambert (May 30 and 31), and Bryan Adams (May 17).
It’s not just music either – Cirque du Soleil will return with Corteo, the Strictly Come Dancing Live tour will dance into town, and Alan Partridge Live will take over for two nights.
Ian Harris, general manager at Vue Manchester Printworks, said: “As the home of the biggest screen in Manchester, we’ve always taken pride in offering the very best of big screen entertainment possible for film fans and families looking to escape into the latest blockbusters.
“With our fully refreshed IMAX screen and newly installed Recliner offering across all 19 of our other screens, we’re hugely excited to see the people of Manchester enjoy the best that film and big screen events have to offer in the best and most luxurious seats in the house.”
Every year, the British Street Food Awards highlights the very best chefs from the scene – and this summer, the northern heat will be held right here in Manchester.
Hosted by Manchester’s biggest and friendliest street food operator GRUB in partnership with newcomer Circle Square, the city will welcome the Northern Heat of the British Street Food Awards (BSFA) on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 August.
This year, the line up includes local favourites Unagi street food and suhi, 2020 Best Burger winners Porco and Kara’s Kitchen, who is known for serving up paellas with a twist.
That’s not all. You’ll also find authentic Sri Lankan food from Archchi’s, Posh Street Food from former Master Chef Professional Matei Baran, Shoot The Bull, plus more from Ted’s tacos, Skullduggery, Pellizco and DOSA.
Taking place at Circle Square from 12 noon until 8pm, across two days some of the best street food traders in the region will come together for the event with a fully-stocked beer bar from North Brewing Co.
Food fans will have a chance to sample some of the best street food traders from across the region and cast their votes for the People’s Choice over the weekend alongside a stellar line-up of judges, including former BSFA champion Claire Kelsey of Ginger’s Comfort Emporium inside Afflecks.
The event in Manchester will mark the last of four regional heats, at the end of which the winners will be chosen by the general public and expert judges.
The winners will then go on to the grand finals in London next month.