May is here and our next opportunity for freedom is on the horizon.
With ‘Step Two’ in the government’s roadmap to lifting England’s current national lockdown having already commenced from 12th April, and ‘Step Three’ – which crucially allows up to 30 people from different households to gather outdoors, hospitality to open indoors, indoor entertainment venues to reopen, indoor group sports / exercise classes to commence and more – set to be introduced from 17th May, pending official review, normality has been returning to Greater Manchester week on week.
And there’s plenty to be getting up to.
If you’re stuck for something to do, then this is your go-to guide for what’s on and what’s happening in the city of Manchester and beyond this week.
Some of the events we’re going to mention here are completely free, others will set you back a few pounds and most will need to be booked in advance, but all are COVID-secure in order to keep you as safe as possible:
Whatever you fancy doing though, there’s certainly no shortage of choice in our region, so here’s some of the things you can get stuck into:
World of Music Choir
Band On The Wall (Virtual)
Tuesday 4th May
Think you’ve got a good singing voice? Love to sing regardless?
Organised in Greater Manchester by the city’s iconic music venue, Band On The Wall, but happening every Tuesday at 6pm virtually all across the UK, World of Music Choir invites you to join award-winning folk singer Bella Hardy and the fantastic guest leaders for a workshop of song learning and harmony.
Workshop participants sing traditional and modern songs, three-part harmonies and rounds, all learned by ear, so you don’t have to be able to read music to take part.
The main aim is to enjoy yourself – there’s nothing scary, and no judgements are made.
Keen to learn the history of the iconic Manchester Guardian newspaper on its 200th anniversary?
The Manchester Guardian, now The Guardian, was first published on Saturday 5th May 1821, and this tour – led by notable Manchester tour guide, Jonathan Schofield – tells the story of how it came into being amid the turmoil following the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, and will also reveal the story of the city and the paper as both grew to international importance.
The tour will look at the extraordinary characters, and the weird and wonderful stories from The Manchester Guardian that give primary source to so many years of Manchester life.
Tickets for each 90+ minute tour will set you back £15 and must be booked in advance here.
Contact Theatre MCR
Thursday 6th May
Contact – the city’s much-loved “fiercely northern theatre with an international outlook” – is set to welcome five up and coming musicians from Manchester for a 90-minute panel discussion via Zoom centred on a range of issues and talking points within the music industry that they are passionate about.
This live discussion will also feature performances from each of the artists involved.
Although the event is free, advanced booking is required and you will receive a link to watch the live event via email.
To celebrate the reopening of one of the city’s most iconic and historic venues, the Grade II-listed Victoria Baths will be hosting a Creative Makers Fair designed specifically to give some much-needed support to independent makers and businesses after a challenging 12 months and as lockdown begins to lift.
Ideas for the home, textiles, art, gifts and jewellery will be just some of the products being showcased by businesses from the North West.
You can find more information, COVID-safety procedures, and book tickets here.
Manchester Cheese Crawl
Saturday 8th May
The Manchester Cheese Crawl will take you around some of the cheesiest spots the city has to offer for two hours of non-stop cheese-related fun, including everything from blue cheese tasting, to cheese quizzes, competitions and more.
Starting off in St Ann’s Square, the tour wanders across the city and gives you the chance to try the finest cheeses Manchester has to offer along the way.
With tours taking place this Saturday 8th May, and happening every Saturday until 25th September, tickets cost just £25 each and include cheese samples, optional bread and crackers, and some red wine to complement.
Nestled among the backstreets of Manchester and tucked into the courtyard of an old, red-brick historic mill, Ancoats Pop Up Market is a COVID-safe weekly-run market event which has teamed up with MUD (Manchester Urban Diggers) to supply the neighbourhood with a wealthy selection of fresh, organic and locally-grown fruit and veg, as well as dry goods, all throughout May.
The market also features Manchester-based stallholders serving speciality coffee, locally-brewed rum liquors, locally-sourced bakes and crafts, and more.
Street food and freshly-brewed coffee is also available while you browse.
Named as “Manchester’s best secondhand book sale”, the Elizabeth Gaskell’s House secondhand book sale is a popular favourite for book lovers.
From 11am – 4pm, with new stock every month, there’ll be two rooms packed full of secondhand books of all genres, including a wide variety of contemporary fiction, art, gardening, photography, classics, OS maps, biographies, history, cookery, social history and children’s.
Prices start from £1 for a paperback.
A number of social distancing measures will be in place, the wearing of face masks is mandatory, and all visitors browsing will be asked to use hand sanitiser before they touch the books.
Pre-booking is essential due to limited numbers, and you can register here.
Monday 3rd – Sunday 8th May
Manchester’s newest event space is back and it’s better than ever.
Cinemas and entertainment complexes may currently still be closed, but reopening is on the horizon.
If you’re far too eager to wait until mid-May though, Park N Party – the team that delivered both the sell-out successes of ScareCity and ChristmasCity, and a number of other outdoor live events throughout 2020 – has launched SecretCity, and there’s a whole host of immersive drive-in entertainment events happening this week.
There’s screenings of cinema classics such as The Greatest Showman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Superbad, Pineapple Express, Mulan, and more all on show throughout the week.
Tickets must be booked in advance, and you can grab yours from £35 per car here.
Monday 3rd – Sunday 8th May
Named by many as being one of the safest attractions for all the family in Greater Manchester, Totally Roarsome took the region by storm last summer after it opened to the public following the initial lifting of coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions in mid-2020, with visitors flocking from far and wide.
Now at the new location of Mottram Hall, just over the border into Cheshire, Totally Roarsome features everything from dinosaurs, jungle animals and Arctic creatures, to superheroes, pirates and cartoon characters.
Tickets are priced at £7.95 per ticket (+ £1.50 booking fee, per transaction), and must be booked in advance online from the Totally Roarsome Facebook page.
This is to manage and restrict the number of visitors / families being allowed around the attraction at any one at a time, with five minutes between slots, to allow for necessary COVID-safety precautions and social distancing measures to be upheld.
You can find out more information, and book your tickets here.
OT Art Trail
1st May – 31st July
The OT Art Trail – which has been organised by OT Creative Space and is funded by Arts Council England – sees a number of local artists work together with members of the Manchester community to create six individual large scale murals which have been painted onto walls and building gable ends around the area, including in Seymour Park and Ayres Road.
The new murals have added to murals and artwork already seen around Old Trafford.
The several new street art sites will be linked together via a downloadable audio tour, which is suitable for people of all ages.
Each mural centres around the theme ‘community togetherness and diversity’.
You can find more information on The OT Art Trail via the OT creative SPACE website here.
Elton John Farewell Tour 2023 at AO Arena Manchester – tickets, setlist, support act and more
Elton John is set to touch down in Manchester this week as the legendary musician continues his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.
Elton has just played 10 (yes TEN) shows at the O2 in London, and now he’s heading up north.
He’ll be doing three huge shows at the AO Arena as part of this tour, his final ever.
It’s all ahead of his headline performance at Glastonbury too. We all knew Elton John wasn’t going to retire without a fanfare, come on…
His unparalleled career spans six decades, five Grammy Awards, and a frankly unbelievable 31 studio albums.
His massive hits include Rocket Man, Saturday Night’s Alright (for Fighting), I’m Still Standing, and Candle In The Wind, which became the fastest- and biggest-selling single of all time after he performed it at Princess Diana’s funeral.
He was also the subject of the award-winning 2019 film Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton.
The tour has had to be rescheduled a couple of times but it is finally here. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re seeing Elton John in Manchester.
No one. He’s doing this one solo – to be fair, he’s got enough hits to fill a few hours…
Despite the lack of support act, ticket-holders for Elton John are in for a long old night of live music.
The iconic singer is going to fill almost three hours with his hits.
Here are the expected stage times.
Doors open – 6pm
Show starts – 7.30pm
Show finishes – 10.15pm
Elton John’s expected setlist and songs
Based on his most recent show in Belgium, here are the songs you can expect to hear.
Bennie and the Jets Philadelphia Freedom I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues Border Song Tiny Dancer Have Mercy on the Criminal Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time) Take Me to the Pilot Someone Saved My Life Tonight Levon Candle in the Wind Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding Burn Down the Mission Sad Songs (Say So Much) Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me The Bitch Is Back I’m Still Standing Crocodile Rock Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting Encore: Cold Heart Your Song Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
How to get to the AO Arena
The AO Arena is right in the heart of the city centre, so it’s fairly easy to get to.
On foot: The AO Arena is located within the Manchester Victoria Station complex in the city centre, on the corner of Trinity Way, Hunts Bank and Great Ducie Street. You can enter through the station (up the stairs), through the Trinity Way Tunnel, or from Hunts Bank.
By tram: Also super straight-forward – hop off the tram at Manchester Victoria and you’re right by the stairs to the venue. It’s also a short walk from Exchange Square and Shudehill. Trams run directly to Victoria Station from Rochdale, Bury, Altrincham, East Didsbury and the Airport.
By train: While Piccadilly is the city’s largest train station, plenty of trains do pass through Manchester Victoria. You can plan your journey through the National Rail website.
Parking: The postcode if you’re driving to the AO Arena is M3 1AR. There’s an on-site CitiPark car park with 958 spaces, which can be pre-booked here. Bear in mind that Trinity Way is closed after concerts to allow gig-goers to leave safely, though cars are allowed out of the car park with direction from staff.
About the AO Arena
The AO Arena has a few strict policies to keep gig-goers safe, so make sure to check entry requirements carefully before you travel.
For example, only one small bag per person is allowed, and bags like backpacks, travel cases and laptop bags are not permitted inside the arena.
All bags are scanned on entry to check for prohibited items like laser pens, flares, projectiles, weapons, drugs and alcohol, and even selfie sticks.
Featured image: Publicity picture
Coldplay at Etihad Stadium Manchester 2023 – stage times, support act, tickets and setlist
Coldplay will finally touch down in Manchester this month for their long-awaited Music of the Spheres World Tour.
The group, fronted by Chris Martin, will be performing a whopping four nights at the 60,000-capacity Etihad Stadium, home ground of Manchester City.
It’s the first time they’ve brought this tour to the city, choosing London and Glasgow on last year’s run of shows.
Coldplay are one of the most successful and popular bands of the last three decades, with nine albums and endless sold-out concerts in their back catalogue.
They’re also famed for putting on a staggering live show.
This 2023 tour promises to be as environmentally beneficial as possible. They’ve even added a kinetic dance floor that harvests energy from the audience’s dancing, and installed electricity-generating pedal bikes so that the crowd can recharge the band’s battery by having a little cycle.
If you’re heading to see Coldplay at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, here’s everything you need to know.
When are Coldplay performing in Manchester?
Coldplay will be taking over the Etihad Stadium for FOUR nights – quite a feat.
They’ll be performing on Wednesday 31 May, Thursday 1 June, Saturday 3 June and Sunday 4 June.
According to the Man City site, these are the stage times for Colplay and their support acts.
Campus opening time – 2pm
Doors open – 5pm
Porij – 6pm-6.30pm
Chvrches – 7pm-7.45pm
Coldplay – 8.15pm-10.15pm
What’s the expected setlist?
Setlists will always be subject to change as artists hone their live show, but this is what Coldplay played on their most recent gig in Barcelona.
Higher Power Adventure of a Lifetime Paradise The Scientist Viva la Vida Something Just Like This (The Chainsmokers & Coldplay cover) Magic What’s Love Got to Do With It (Graham Lyle cover) (with Lauren Mayberry) Charlie Brown Yellow Human Heart People of the Pride Clocks Infinity Sign Hymn for the Weekend Aeterna My Universe (Coldplay x BTS cover) A Sky Full of Stars Sunrise Bamboléo (Gipsy Kings cover) (with Gipsy Kings) Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Domenico Modugno cover) (with Gipsy Kings) Humankind Fix You Biutyful
How to get to the Etihad Stadium
Public-transport wise, the Metrolink is the most direct way to get to the Etihad Stadium (and its dedicated tram stop Etihad Campus), which is just a few stops away from Manchester Piccadilly.
Both Holt Town and Velopark Metrolink stops, located on either side of the Etihad Campus stop, will not be open for at least an hour after an event at the stadium.
The trams will be very busy though, and the weather looks good, so you might prefer to walk – it’s around a 30 minute stroll from town with this safe walking route recommended.
If you need to drive, official car parking is priced at £25 for cars, £50 for coaches, and £40 for mini buses.
There are unofficial car parks near the stadium too but make sure you’re not getting ripped off.
Weather forecast in Manchester for Coldplay
Oh guys, you’re in luck – for once in its life Manchester has a stunning weather forecast for the entire run of Coldplay shows.
It’s set to be sunny with highs of 19 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday, then there’s more sunshine with a high of 20 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. Glorious.