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A huge outdoor food and drink festival on May Bank Holiday weekend has been announced

‘Kantina Weekender is an opportunity to finally come back together and share in the joy of food and drink’

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escapetofreightisland / Instagram

The team behind Escape to Freight Island over at Depot Mayfield have announced a brand-new food and drink festival for 2021: Kantina Weekender.

With vaccines being rolled out across the country at rapid speed, we’re all hoping that by the time summer comes around things will be a bit more back to normal, and we can start enjoying the things we love again.

The guys at Freight Island are optimistic we will be able to enjoy some cracking food and drink, with Kantina Weekender set to run from Friday May 28th to Monday 31st at Depot Mayfield.

Escape to Freight Island is a new, vast industrial fairground of food, drink, music and entertainment, and was the standout success in Covid safe hospitality last year.

Home to some of Manchester’s most loved restaurants and bars, Freight Island is made-up of a grand Ticket Hall, a covered outside courtyard and a brand-new Pavilion – filled to the brim with plants, creating a calm, green, oasis in the city.

Jody Hartley / Escape to Freight Island

Kantina Weekender’s lineup will include incredible local food and craft-beers, as well as new-world wines and liquors, and will feature some Manchester favourites collaborating to serve up mouthwatering dishes.

Mary-Ellen McTague from Creameries in Chorlton will pair with Great Northern Pies; Gary Usher from Elite Bistros will partner with Forever Changes; Tast of King Street and Baratxuri will join grill forces; and Pippy Eats will partner with Mi+Pho for noodle heaven.

The lineup also includes Stosie Madi from Parkers Arms, and the legendary Simon Martin from Manchester’s first Michelin Star restaurant in 41 years, Mana.

Joining them will be Sam Buckley from Stockport-based Where The Light Gets In, which recently became one of only 23 businesses in the UK and Ireland to receive a ‘green’ Michelin Star – an accolade which celebrates sustainability.

Sam said: “I’m absolutely delighted to finally be cooking at Escape to Freight Island. It’s an incredible space in the heart of the city and Kantina Weekender will be a great return for food fans across the country.”


As for drinks, Pomona Island will team up with Lervig and Northern Monk, and Deya and Camden Town Brewery will complete the beer offering. On the wine side, Charlie Miller from the Laughing Heart and Dom the Som aka Dynamite MC will join other special guest wine experts.

During Kantina Weekender, Escape to Freight Island will host a packed roster of live entertainment, exclusive talks on stage, satellite events, wine tasting and a guaranteed feast for all.

The charity partner for the event will be Eat Well MCR, a Manchester collective made up of hospitality professionals and volunteers from all sectors delivering meals to people facing challenging circumstances in Greater Manchester – a percentage will be included on to bills with the choice to opt-out.

Dan Morris, managing director of Escape To Freight Island said: “Kantina Weekender is an opportunity to finally come back together and share in the joy of food and drink.

“We are very proud to be able to showcase the talents of the Escape To Freight Island residents whilst they collaborate with some of the UK’s most prestigious chefs, brewers, bartenders and all round hospitality heroes. Manchester’s food and drink scene is a special one and we can’t wait to celebrate it.”

Tickets will set you back £35 per person, and this is fully redeemable as credit to spend at Kantina Weekender – you can find more info here.

What's On

There’s a huge Courteeners themed party coming to Manchester

Love a bit of Courteeners? Well, a Northern Quarter boozer has you covered.

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@penandpencilnq / Instagram & @juan.agh / Instagram

Ahead of the Courteeners’ massive homecoming gig at Old Trafford next weekend, a Northern Quarter boozer is throwing a huge pre-show party to get all you concert-goers warmed up for the festivities.

The Pen & Pencil, located down Hilton Street, is throwing the do for all those who have managed to get their hands on tickets for the shows – and those who sadly haven’t, too.

And even more excitedly, XS Manchester DJ and overall legend Clint Boon will be in attendance, dishing out a load of the Courteeners’ top tunes plus a load of other staple Manc music.

@penandpencilnq / Instagram

The party is completely FREE to attend, and will be the perfect spot for getting into that concert mood we’ve all missed for the last year or so. The Pen & Pencil is also located just a short walk from the Piccadilly Metrolink stop, where you can jump on a tram and get to the gig in just ten minutes.

The gig is set to be one of Manchester’s first since the start of the pandemic, which saw all live music grind to a halt.

The Middleton-born rockers will be joined by The Smiths’ Johnny Marr and Stockport band Blossoms, as well as The Big Moon and Zuzu.

@juan.agh / Instagram

So, do you fancy it?

There’ll be no need to make a booking or reservation, all you’ll need to do is turn up and enjoy the music. The party starts at 4pm and runs through to 7pm.

For more information, follow the Pen & Pencil on Instagram.

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What's On

Ed Sheeran is coming to Manchester as part of massive UK tour next year

The ‘+ – = ÷ x Tour’ will be kicking off next year

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@zakarywalters / Instagram

Ed Sheeran will be performing two shows in Manchester as a part of his upcoming UK Mathematics Tour. 

The singer will be embarking upon the ‘+ – = ÷ x Tour’ in May next year, where he will perform at six major locations across the country, Manchester’s Etihad Stadium being one of them.

Fans will get to see Ed perform a whole array of tracks from his upcoming album‘=’ live for the first time, as well as experience a new production set-up with Ed’s staging in the round surrounded by the crowd in each stadium.

Kamil_Took / Flickr

The highly anticipated new album ‘=’ will be released next month on October 29th and will feature his new single ‘Shivers’ and ‘Bad Habits’.

Ed will be taking over the Etihad Stadium on Friday June 10th and Saturday June 11th 2022. Here’s the tour schedule in full:

  • Thursday 12th May – Belfast Boucher Road Playing Fields
  • Thursday 26th May – Cardiff Principality Stadium
  • Friday 27th May – Cardiff Principality Stadium
  • Friday 3rd June – Sunderland Stadium of Light
  • Saturday 4th June – Sunderland Stadium of Light
  • Friday 10th June – Manchester Etihad Stadium
  • Saturday 11th June – Manchester Etihad Stadium
  • Thursday 16th June – Hampden Park, Glasgow
  • Friday 17th June – Hampden Park, Glasgow
  • Wednesday 29th June – Wembley Stadium, London
  • Thursday 30th June – Wembley Stadium, London
  • Friday 1st July June – Wembley Stadium, London

Eva Rinaldi / Flickr

There is no pre-sale for this tour, and tickets go on sale next week on Saturday September 25th at 9am. 

As was the case with his previous tours, Ed and his team have a strict stance against anyone using unofficial secondary ticketing sites in order to try and stop fans being exploited when trying to buy tickets for his shows.

Tickets will be available to buy at www.edsheeran.com

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What's On

A RuPaul’s Drag Race UK premiere party with bottomless fizz is coming to Manchester next week

Sashay away…

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BBC & @alexandernaglestad / Unsplash

Engines at the ready, drag racers; there’s a massive bottomless RuPaul’s Drag Race UK premiere event coming to a cinema here in Manchester.

As fans of the hit drag show will know, the highly anticipated third season of the UK version is landing on BBC iPlayer next week and to celebrate appropriately, GRUB Manchester is throwing the mother of all launch parties.

On Thursday, September 23rd, you and your friends will be able to watch the first episode of the new season alongside an abundance of bottomless bevs and delicious street food.

BBC

Costing £20pp, tickets also include a selection of fun additions to enjoy throughout the evening, including a welcome cocktail, ninety minutes of bottomless fizz, draught beer or wine, and a private table to enjoy with friends, positioned for prime viewing on the night.

Indoor and covered seating in the event of rain (which, let’s face it, is looking very likely this month) is also available, as is a number of independent and local food vendors dishing up tasty food and extra drinks.

Though it is worth noting that this event isn’t an official RuPaul viewing event, it is just a bit of fun for Drag Race fans and their friends.

@grubmcr / Instagram

Tables can be reserved from 5:30pm onwards, and the bottomless drinks deal begins an hour later at 6:30pm. RuPaul’s Drag Race will be shown at 7pm.

Get your own tickets here.

BBC Three is yet to confirm which famous faces will be appearing on the judging panel. As for the regular judging panel,  Michelle Visage will be back, as will Graham Norton and Alan Carr, alternating each week as they have done for the past two series.

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