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Key workers’ faces to light up trees across Manchester to say thanks for their hard work

Some new art for the city!

Alex Watson



A new public art trail that will honour Greater Manchester’s key workers has been announced.

The project comes from Ramsbottom-based Illuminos, an artist duo responsible for some of the digital works seen at the likes of Bluedot festival and Chinese New Year.

Trees across the city centre will be illuminated with the faces of nominated key workers in a touching ‘tree tribute’.

There is set to be 33 trees, known as Sentinels, glowing with the faces of key workers over a series of evenings throughout June.

The project has been created by Hits Radio and City of Trees, a charity that aims to plant a tree for every person living in the city region. 


The Sentinels will create the City of Trees Trail, including trees in spots like Stevenson Square, St John’s Gardens, Sackville Park and Manchester Cathedral.

You can nominate key workers for the project, whether they are NHS staff, teachers, delivery drivers or supermarket employees!

Just use the #LivingHeroes hashtag before June 14th with a photo of your nominated key worker on social media. 


Rob Vale, one of the Illuminos artists, said of Sentinels: “It is our response to the coronavirus outbreak, and a way of using our artistic practice as celebration of those people who must continue to work – steadfast and unwavering, through this crisis.

“The growth of these urban trees – the green against the grey – remind us of the life force of the many key workers that carry us through these difficult times.

“By forming each tree via video projection into living portraits, their actions can be celebrated – sentinels stood proud in the city.”

Do you know someone who’s been a real key worker hero over the last few months? You could nominate them to feature as a…

Posted by City of Trees on Thursday, 4 June 2020

Sarah Nurton from City of Trees said: “We hope this will be a fitting way to recognise and celebrate some of Greater Manchester’s amazing key workers.

“Each tree has its own unique character and we aim to match that with those nominated in a truly unique tribute.”

What's On

Sing your heart out with your pals at this epic bottomless karaoke brunch event

Take my money!!

Alex Watson



All Star Lanes is hosting a series of special Terrace Brunches and Karaoke Brunches, starting from this weekend. 

We’ve all missed bottomless brunch and there’s a small portion of the population who have been itching to do their best rendition of Islands in the Stream

If you fall into one or both of those categories there’s just the thing happening for you this weekend.

Celebrate the reopening of bars and restaurants in style with a delicious Bottomless Karaoke Brunch with the drinks flowing, brunch and even a cocktail reception before your X-Factor finale worthy performance. 

All Star Lanes

You can get your own luxury private karaoke booth for four to six people and sing to your heart’s content. Tickets cost just £47 per person, and you can get them here

Maybe you get the jitters at public speaking, never mind singing, in that case you can opt for a delicious brunch out on the terrace with bottomless Prosecco, Mimosas or beer for a full two hours instead. 

On the food menu is a whole host of delicious grub including Buttermilk Pancakes, American Breakfast and Fried Chicken & Waffles. 

The classic Bottomless Brunch will set you back just £39 per person. Get your tickets here

Both events will be running at various times throughout the day on most weekends, starting this Saturday, July 4th.

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What's On

A huge new outdoor food market and event space is opening in Manchester in July

This looks incredible!

Alex Watson



Manchester is set to get a brand new outdoor market and art space at the Depot, Mayfield, as part of the £1.4bn regeneration of the area. 

Escape to Freight Island has until now been something of an enigma, with mysterious posters popping up in the city centre with almost no other information but the name.

Well, it turns out it’s a brand new outdoor food market, where art space and terrace-style seating collide on one sprawling tract – a long-forgotten freight depot carved from the city’s industrial past.

The new opening is set to be an international destination akin to Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Coney Island in New York and Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

The area will be home to restaurant quality food vendors, inventive bars, secret dens, music, immersive art, festival takeovers and family focused happenings.

Of the food vendors confirmed they include Madre, a non-traditional taco stall, Voodoo Ray’s Pizza, and Baratxuri will also be having a wood-fired ‘Asador’ grill. There will also be a specialist wine bar, and a cocktail space from The Jane Eyre. 

Escape to Freight island will be located on Baring Street and will become a permanent urban market and festival space.

There will even be a ’70s New York-inspired roller disco, a hidden high-fi audio bar – which will transform into a karaoke venue called Queen Samantha’s – and a retro arcade games corridor.

The entire venue will be sound-tracked by a visionary selection of music, festival takeovers and exclusive collaborations with the likes of Homoelectric, We Out Here festival, Festival N°6, Love International and other iconic musical curators.

Escape to Freight Island is the brainchild of individuals with a formidable reputation around food and culture in Manchester, including Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey of Volta, Electrik Bar and The Refuge, Gareth Cooper of Festival N°6, event production veteran Jon Drape of Engine No. 4 and Managing Director Dan Morris, who launched leading Manchester music venues Gorilla and the Albert Hall. 

Electriks’ Luke Cowdrey, co-curator, said: “Escape to Freight Island isn’t your average food market. It’s a new and unique destination in Manchester, it is the next evolution in the food market sector that will fill a hole in the life of our city.

“Escape to Freight Island will take its place as one of the most exciting, forward-thinking and disruptive markets in the world. Escape to Freight Island is a game-changer and most importantly to me, Escape to Freight Island has soul.

“Platform 15 will give a flavour of what is to come when we launch the full Escape to Freight Island experience, so let’s all meet at Platform 15 to begin our escape to freedom.”

Phase one of the launch will open in mid-July 2020 with social distancing at the forefront, and limited capacity for 600 people. Following that phase two is planned for August, where capacity will be increased to 1,000 people.

Once restrictions are lifted, the venue will extend the capacity of 2,500 people.

Find out more and sign up to access tickets here

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What's On

Blackpool Illuminations will be on for two months longer than usual this year

Amazing news!

Proper Manchester



Visit Blackpool

Blackpool illuminations are set to be extended for an additional two months this year to help boost the seaside resort’s tourism.

VistBlackpool has revealed that the Illuminations will run for an extra two months this year from September 4th to January 3rd 2021.

They have also announced they will be hosting their first-ever virtual Switch-On concert in association with MTV Music UK.

This means the switch-on will be free-to-access for all in the online streamed event taking place on Friday September 4th.  

Originally the Switch-on was scheduled for the same date, but with an audience of 20,000 people at the Tower Festival Headline. 

Mark S Jobling/Wikimedia

Due to social distancing, this event cannot go ahead in its usual format. So instead, for the first time in 70 years, the resort will be holding an accessible virtual Switch-On event that can be seen all over the world.

There will be an hour-long concert with a mixture of pre-recorded and at-home performances as well as live performances filmed at a closed event in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

The event will be hosted by Diversity’s Ashley and Jordan Banjo, and will feature a star-studded line-up of talent, leading up to the all-important Switch-On moment.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Cabinet Member for Tourism & Culture for Blackpool Council, said: “The annual Switch-On event is the biggest night in Blackpool’s events calendar. Sadly, it is simply not possible to stage an event of that scale given the current restrictions around social distancing and mass gatherings.

“However, it would be unthinkable not to launch our Blackpool Illuminations season with an extraordinary event. Staging the first-ever virtual Switch-On concert to a mass audience watching from home does exactly that. 

🚀✨ Blackpool Illuminations UPDATE 🚀✨Due to the social distancing measures arising from COVID-19, our annual Switch-On…

Posted by I Love Blackpool on Thursday, 18 June 2020

“We are very much aware of how much our tourism businesses are suffering as a result of the pandemic and we hope that by extending the Blackpool Illuminations season by two months, it will give them an opportunity to bring in some additional trade.

“We are planning for a safe, socially distanced Illuminations experience and will be keeping all Government health guidance under review as we move towards the autumn season.”

Details of the Switch-On concert’s line-up will be revealed over the course of the next few weeks, along with how you can view the streamed event. 

Plus VistBlackpool will also be releasing a preview of new features on the 2020 illuminations display. 

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