The sad but inevitable news that the Manchester Christmas Markets have officially been cancelled was announced today.
While some people will be absolutely gutted about this, fear not, there is still some hope for the festive season in Manchester this year.
Escape To Freight Island has announced the next stage of its evolution at Depot Mayfield this week, revealing that the new Winter Island markets will join The Ticket Hall.
You can expect family-friendly enchantment and festive food, drink and entertainment this Christmas, when Winter Island opens its doors on Thursday November 12th.
When it opens, Winter Island will become the UK’s largest fully outdoor, heated winter market, with a 45ft Christmas tree and a massive 1500sqft garden tent full of festive traders and stalls to get you in the Christmas spirit.
The likes of Great North Pie, a bratwurst grill, traditional hog roast, a mulled wine and hot cider hut, local chocolatier and artisanal cheese stall will be in attendance, to keep you fed and watered.
This is just some of what you can expect at Winter Island:
- Traditional Hog Roast
- A Mulled Wine and Hot Cider Hut
- A Local Chocolatier
- An Artisan Cheese Stall
- Winter Ice Curling Rink
- Hot Chip and Alfos
- Just The Tonic Comedy Nights
- A Festival No.6 Take Over
- A Big Brass Band
- Disney Singalong
- A Stunning Installation Feature By Lightopia
- A Huge 45ft Christmas Tree
Escape to Freight Island recently confirmed the first part of its new development over at Depot Mayfield, following a hugely successful launch and summer, revealing The Ticket Hall – which opens on October 30th and will see the venue double in capacity.
This next chapter at Platform 15 will see a whole host of new food vendors arrive at the venue, taking over the industrial indoor area, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy top scran from some of your favourite local eateries down at Freight Island.
Taking over the original structure within Depot Mayfield, there will be a fully heated area with table seating, a wine shop, bars, a bike cloakroom, as well as a new stage and top entertainment lineup.
Joining the amazing Baratxuri, Voodoo Rays, Patty Queen and Madre, there will be some of Manchester’s favourite food and drink vendors, including:
- Sugo Pasta Kitchen – The famous pasta restaurant based in Ancoats bringing stunning Italian food will be setting up shop.
- Mi & Pho – An award-winning family-run restaurant serving authentic Vietnamese dishes.
- Plant Grill – From Dan Hope of Fire Bird Hope and Krum fame, Plant Grill will be a vegan offering of modern cuisine.
- El Boleto – A San Sebastian-style Deli serving up delicious small plates and freshest
produce to enjoy at home or on-site.
- The Jane Eyre – Classic drinks with a twist.
There will also be two taprooms in The Ticket Hall from Camden Town and Pomona, alongside Forever Changes – an independent wine shop.
The site will continue to operate under the world leading ‘Safe + Social Manifesto’, meaning Escape to Freight Island is committed to maintaining a safe environment for everyone.
This means it’s: “A space where you are able to socialise safely with your party, maintaining social distance from others and remaining alert to the risks of coronavirus, while being part of the overall urban festival atmosphere of Freight Island”.
A family-friendly dinosaur jungle adventure land is coming to Greater Manchester
The perfect socially-distanced family day out!
The social-distanced outdoor dino adventure in Hyde is set to reopen this spring following the lifting of restrictions.
Families loved Totally Roarsome when it opened to the public in the middle of last year once restrictions were eased.
Created in an untouched woodland in Hyde, the trail featured dinosaurs, jungle animals and Arctic creatures as well as a couple of superheroes, pirates and cartoon characters too.
Named as one of the safest attractions for the family in Greater Manchester, families have been eagerly awaiting the news as to when the adventure will reopen after closure during the cold winter.
The attraction has officially announced that it will be reopening for the Easter Holidays following Boris’ latest announcement.
Announcing on social media, Totally Roarsome wrote: “Enter into Jurassic Land, then onto the Jungle and once you’ve encountered our dinosaurs, lions, and tigers, it’s off on a Bear Hunt.
“Then take a trip through the Wild West and head down the rabbit hole into Alice’s Wonderland, before making your way into Neverland, where there are pirates everywhere you turn.
“Then we are off to the world of superheroes [where] Batman, Superman and Spiderman will all be there to greet you, before finally wandering through our fantasy land with dragons, unicorns and knights of the realm.
“With Dinosaurs, unicorns and superheroes all on the same day, what else do you need?”
The attraction now has a new home at Mottram Hall with strict Covid restrictions in place to ensure the safety of guests.
Tickets are on sale now and will set you back £7.95 (plus a £1.50 booking fee per transaction). They must be booked in advance to enable for monitoring of numbers to follow the Covid-safety precautions and social distancing measures.
Find out more information and book your tickets here.
Manchester Pride confirms the festival will be happening this year
Some more good news
Manchester Pride has today confirmed the good news that it will be going ahead this year.
Plans for a physical festival to celebrate LGBTQ+ life in Greater Manchester are coming together for the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The charity is planning to hold the Manchester Pride Festival, in partnership with Virgin Atlantic, in its regular spot from Friday August 27th until Monday August 30th.
On Monday Boris Johnson outlined England’s roadmap out of lockdown, with the plan that live events will be able return this summer.
But with the pandemic always front of mind, Manchester Pride has revealed that it has alternative exciting plans which can be activated if the proposed dates for the roadmap out of lockdown change.
The four day event, which brings thousands of people to the city centre each year, is set to return for another weekend of campaigning, celebrating and fundraising for LGBTQ+ life, featuring activism, equality, youth and family, arts and culture, community and partying.
The team behind the festival is working towards a programme of events that includes all of the traditional elements, with some tweaks and allowances for the new restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The biggest difference will be a reduced capacity MCR Pride Live, which in response to audience feedback will be held at a smaller venue to ensure that the event is accessible, safe and viable.
To ensure the safety and comfort of festival-goers, artists and the Manchester Pride team the event’s capacity will be reduced by 50% – the venue will be revealed later this year.
Manchester Pride Festival 2021 will be made up of:
- THE GAY VILLAGE PARTY, 27th–30th August 2021
- MCR PRIDE LIVE, 28th– 29th August 2021
- MANCHESTER PRIDE PARADE, 28th August 2021
- THE CANDLELIT VIGIL, 30th August 2021
- SUPERBIA WEEKEND, 28th- 29th August 2021
- HUMAN RIGHTS FORUM, 29th August 2021
- YOUTH PRIDE MCR, 29th August 2021
- FAMILY PRIDE MCR, 28th August 2021
- + MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
Mark Fletcher, CEO of Manchester Pride, said: “Manchester Pride is proud to part of a global Pride movement that celebrates advancements in equality and challenges discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ people. As both a charity and organisers one of the UK’s largest Pride festivals, we had to fight for our survival throughout 2020.
“Having to postpone the Manchester Pride Festival in 2020 was necessary but extremely hard for myself and the team and I am so pleased that we are able to plan for an event in 2021. Naturally there is some uncertainty over what will happen in the coming months but we have to plan now in order to be able to deliver a festival of this scale.
“We are confident that by reducing the capacity of MCR Pride Live we can deliver the event, as long as the government’s plans for vaccinations and reopening of events and hospitality remain on track. With the health and safety of everyone involved our key priority, we remain cautiously optimistic and have plans in place to respond to a number of potential scenarios.
“Whatever happens Manchester Pride will deliver a celebration of LGBTQ+ life in Greater Manchester this August and we will do everything we can to make it a Covid safe, live, in person event across the city.
“If this just isn’t possible then we will host an alternative, innovative, world class celebration that incorporates socially distanced events and digital elements to ensure that LGBTQ+ people in Greater Manchester can come together to celebrate and ensure that our campaign for greater LGBTQ+ equality continues at this vital time.”
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic added: “We’re delighted that the Manchester Pride Festival is back for 2021 uniting people to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture. It’s been a difficult year for everyone and we look forward to working with Mark and the team to bring this much-loved festival safely back to the heart of Manchester.
“Virgin Atlantic has long been staunch supporters of LGBTQ+ rights and we strongly believe in making our business as inclusive and welcoming as possible. Although we haven’t been flying as many passengers as we’d like over the last year, we certainly haven’t been sitting still.
“We are working with Open for Business to show the economic impact that anti-LGBTQ+ laws have on countries around the world and how these laws restrict tourism and limit growth. In a post-Covid world, as travel and tourism recovers, it’s more important than ever for destinations to be open and welcoming to everyone.
“It’s an exciting time for us and as travel restrictions relax, we look forward to welcoming people back onboard Virgin Atlantic, flying them safely from Manchester to their favourite destinations including Orlando, Barbados, New York , Los Angeles, Islamabad and Atlanta.”
Tickets for all events, from Superbia Weekend to Youth Pride MCR, will be released over the next few months so keep your eyes peeled.
For those who bought tickets for the events due to take place in 2020, tickets were automatically rolled over to 2021.
Should the event be cancelled or rescheduled, all tickets will be automatically rolled over to 2022, and anyone who doesn’t want to roll forward their ticket will have the option for a refund at face value.
For more information about the festival, head over to the website here.
Leeds and Reading festivals are both going ahead this year, organisers confirm
Who’s getting tickets to this?
The organisers of Leeds and Reading festivals have confirmed that both events will be going ahead this year.
After months of uncertainty about whether big events were going to be allowed this summer, we finally had some confirmation this week.
On Monday Boris Johnson outlined his roadmap out of lockdown, saying he was hopeful that by June 21st all restrictions in England will have been removed.
This means large-scale events like festivals should be able to go ahead later in the summer, as long as Covid rates are kept low.
Tickets for the two events have been on sale since last summer, despite uncertainty over whether they would be able to go ahead, but now organisers have confirmed that they will.
They took to Twitter to confirm the good news, writing: “Reading and Leeds 2021. Following the government’s recent announcement, we can’t wait to get back to the fields this summer. LET’S GO”.
The headliners for the two events have already been confirmed, and will include the likes of Liam Gallagher, Stormzy, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Post Malone, Disclosure, and Queens of the Stone Age.
They’re not the only ones confirmed so far either, with Lewis Capaldi, Mabel, Doja Cat, AJ Tracey, KSI, Beabadoobee and Charli XCX also set to perform.
And the lineup isn’t complete yet, with the festival saying there are ‘many more’ acts still to be announced.
You can find more info on the website here.