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Festa Italiana unveil full line-up for its huge Italian food festival on August bank holiday

Festa Italiana is back!

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Festa Italiana & sicillianfoodnq / Instagram

The UK’s largest Italian food festival, Festa Italiana has unveiled a colossal line-up ahead of its free Cathedral Gardens event over the August bank holiday weekend.

Festa, initially born out of Manchester’s Italian community four years ago, is back with a bang after Covid-19 foiled its plans last year, with workshops, demonstrations, book signings and some of Italy’s finest cuisine courtesy of celebrated Italian chefs such as Aldo Zilli, Giancarlo Caldesi, Gennaro Contaldo and Festa founder, Salvi owner Maurizio Cecco.

So, what’s up for grabs on the food front? 

Well, considering that Festa celebrates all things Italian, it never fails to deliver on the cuisine side of things.  Throughout the weekend, returning Festa favourites, Café Cannoli will be selling their delicious cannoli made using authentic ingredients imported from Sicily.

Some familiar names will also be making an appearance – I Knead Pizza will be using their staple wood-fired oven to serve their famous Neapolitan pizza, while NQ Sicilian will be dishing up artisan gelato, Coppa Della Casa, Brioche Gelato and Brioche Col Tuppo. Also on the bill, the driving force behind Festa Italiana, family run Salvi’s will be frying up its popular Festival dish, Italian Pizza Fritta.

Pasta Factory will also be serving up a menu of fresh pasta paired with handmade sauces, lovingly prepared by a family with culinary roots in Puglia Italy. And for those with a sweet tooth, Paradiso Authentic Italian will be bringing its range of carefully crafted tiramisú.

Carmela Sereno Hayes, the hugely popular pastaia (specialist pasta maker) and author, will also be making a return to Festa with her much talked about pasta workshops.

I Knead Pizza

And as for the beverages front?

Well, it wouldn’t be a weekend dedicated to Italian cuisine without some authentic Italian booze, would it? The Main Festival Bar will be bringing all of the Italian classics to the party, including Aperol Spritz, the Festa’s signature cocktail Limoncello Spritz in partnership with official Festa brand partner, Limonce.

There’ll also be Italian craft beers, Prosecco, Italian wine, Negronis, Gin & Tonic, and San Pellegrino soft drinks, and
Peroni will also be serving pints of their famed lager at the Peroni Showcase Bar, alongside their own portable cinema.

The films showed will be Romeo and Juliet, Cinema Paradiso and La Dolce Vita.

But perhaps most excitingly, there will also be a number of masterclasses across the weekend.

On Friday 27th August, there will be a series of family-friendly masterclasses for those attending with children – at 1:30pm, Sienna Cecco, the twelve-year-old daughter of Salvi’s owner, will be hosting a cooking demo to teach kids how to make simple and tasty dishes with ease, and at 2:30pm, Julia Martinelli from Pasta Factory will deliver a fun kids pasta masterclass.

Festa Italiana

Saturday 28th August will then see back-to-back workshops and book signings hosted by celebrity chefs and award-winning authors: Gennaro Contaldo, UK brand ambassador for Parmigiano Reggiano, (Saturday Kitchen, Two Greedy Italians, Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast) at 1:30pm, and Giancarlo Caldesi (Return to Tuscany, Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch) at 2:30pm.

On Sunday 29th August, Gennaro Contaldo will be back at 12:30pm with another Parmigiano Reggiano masterclass and book signing, and at 1:30pm, Fran Scafuri from Altrincham’s Tre Ciccio will be taking guests through a very special recipe. At 2:30pm, celebrity chef and award-winning restaurateur, Aldo Zilli will be hosting a masterclass and book signing.

On the music front, Compagnia Sole Luna will be flying over from Naples and performing each day, bringing traditional folk music revisited in a folk-rock style from southern Italy, while DJs will be spinning records each night.

The free festival will be taking place at Cathedral Gardens on the August bank holiday weekend, Friday 27th to Sunday 29th. For more information and to grab tickets for the paid events, visit the Festa Italiana website here.

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N-Dubz are reuniting with new music and a huge Manchester gig

Nearly a decade on, N-Dubz are back…

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N-Dubz

N-Dubz are making a much-awaited comeback ten years after their split with a new single and nationwide arena tour.

The trio rose to fame in 2007 with hits like ‘I Need You’, ‘Ouch’ and ‘Playing With Fire’, but announced their split just a few years later in 2011, with singer Tulisa Contostavlos blaming bandmate Dappy for being the reason of the break up.

But now, over a decade on, it has been announced that the band are making their comeback with their new single ‘Charmer’, set to be premiered on BBC 1 Xtra on Thursday evening.

A spokesperson for the band said: “‘Charmer’ is instantly recognisable as an N-Dubz song, featuring their trademark storytelling via the slick raps of Dappy and Fazer, alongside the sassy vocals of Tulisa.”

And along with the news of their new single, it has also been announced that N-Dubz will be embarking upon a nationwide arena tour, with them scheduled to play ten shows across the UK, including at Manchester’s AO Arena.

Speaking of the tour, a source close to the band told The Sun: “It’s going to be massive. They have seen all the success other groups have enjoyed coming back and want a piece of the action.

“They have been trying things out in the studio for ages but finally things have fallen into place.”

The Back To The Future tour will begin on November 7th in Newcastle, and finish in Manchester on Saturday November 19th. 

Other locations during the tour include Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Tickets will go on sale from 10am on Friday May 20th. Get yours here.

N-Dubz consists of rappers Dappy, real name Costadinos Contostavlos, his cousin Tulisa Contostavlos and Fazer, real name Richard Rawson.

The band have won four Mobo awards, including best newcomer in 2007, Best Album and Best Act in 2009 and Best Song in 2010 and were nominated for the Brit award for Best British Single in 2010.

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The Manchester Day Parade is BACK for the first time in two years

The council are on the look out for a team of enthusiastic volunteers to help with the festivites

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Mark Waugh / Manchester City Council

Thousands of people will take to the streets next month as part of the iconic Manchester Day, a huge celebration of the city, its people and its culture.

After a two year hiatus thanks to the Covid pandemic, Manchester Day is set to make its grand return on Sunday June 19th, along with the legendary Manchester Day Parade, which will weave its way through the city throughout the day.

And in preparation for the big day, the council are now looking for ‘dedicated and enthusiastic’ volunteers to help bring the streets to life during the celebrations.

According to the council, volunteers will be right in the heart of the action, and will have behind-the-scenes access and a vital role in pulling off the Manchester Day celebrations.

Mark Waugh / Manchester City Council

Their responsibilities will include setting up the parade, helping visitors find their way across the event and assisting the creatives involved.

Volunteers will be positioned at various spots across the city, and will be assisted by a Team Leader who’ll be available to help them throughout the day.

Roles available include Wayfinding Volunteers, Participant Support Volunteers and Creative Volunteers to help ensure the parade runs smoothly.

The Chair of Manchester Day Councillor Pat Karney said on the return of the event: “It’s great that Manchester Day is returning to the city.

“Manchester Day’s success relies on the passion of our thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time each year. The day would not be the same without the enthusiasm of our army of volunteers. 

Mark Waugh / Manchester City Council

“I can’t wait to see people get involved in the parade – if this is your first Manchester Day, I can guarantee you’re going to love it!”

Manchester Day was created in 2010 with the aim to celebrate the city’s creativity and diversity, and has since become one of the North West’s flagship events of the summer.

Each year, the celebration welcomes 1,500 performers and artists from local communities and an audience of more than 60,000.

Manchester Day will take place on Sunday 19th June 2022. Applications to volunteer are open until 31st May. For more information on how to get involved, click here.

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The Lion King musical is finally coming back to Manchester’s Palace Theatre this year

After a postponed tour, The Lion King is finally coming back to Manchester…

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The Lion King

Disney’s multi award-winning musical The Lion King will be making its highly-anticipated return to Manchester this year.

The show was supposed to embark upon its UK tour last year but, thanks to various Covid restrictions still in force, it had no choice but to postpone.

But now, after a couple of date changes, it has been confirmed that The Lion King will enjoy a three-month residency at Manchester’s Palace Theatre this Autumn.

The Lion King

The production is made up of over fifty actors, singers and dancers, and uses over 200 life-size puppets to tell the iconic tale of Simba’s journey as he enters adulthood and reclaims his title as King.

The Lion King’s stage adaptation was initially brought to life by Julie Taymor in 1997 and has since gone on to become one of the most successful Broadway performances of all time, with it having twenty-five global productions performed in nine different languages.

The show has been watched by a global audience of over 100 million in over 100 cities in twenty countries – sixteen million here in the UK alone.

The Lion King

As a part of its UK & Ireland 2022 tour, The Lion King will be taking over Manchester’s Palace Theatre, located down Oxford Street, from October 27th, 2022 – December 24th, 2022.

The tickets for the show, which runs for two hours and thirty minutes, are priced from £20, and are on sale now.

Get your tickets here.

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