Manchester is in for a treat this bank holiday weekend with the return of the UK’s biggest Italian food festival.
Described as ‘the country’s most exciting and vibrant festival of Italian food, drink and culture’, Festa Italiana is a unique celebration of the very best of Italian culture, and will once again be gracing Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens for the August bank holiday weekend.
The festival found life five years ago by the family-run Italian restaurant group Salvi’s, and was quick to grow in popularity, with over 38,000 people visiting during last year’s event alone.
And this weekend, a number of the festival’s most popular faces will be returning alongside some exciting new additions.
Here’s what’s on the line-up….
Festa’s famed cooking masterclasses
To kick start the festivities on Friday August 26th, there will be a cooking masterclass from Festa founder Maurizio Cecco and his daughter Sienna at 1:30pm, while the team from I Sapori di Corbara Tomatoes will be flying in from Naples for a talk on their brand and products at 2:30pm.
At 3:30pm, Giulia Martinelli of The Pasta Factory will be showcasing her best pasta-making techniquies and, at 4.30pm, the Luxardo Maraschino team will guide guests through the versatility of their cherries in desserts and drinks. And to round up the day at 5.30pm, there will be a Campari cocktail masterclass.
The following day on Saturday August 27th, there will be a Pasta Masterclass from Maurizio Cecco at 1:30pm, followed by masterclasses and book signings from Gennaro Contaldo, UK brand ambassador for Parmigiano Reggiano at 2:30pm. Then, there will be a meet-and-greet with celebrity chef Aldo Zilli at 3:30pm, and at 4:30pm, the Aperol team will be talking you through the methods behind some of the most loved Italian drinks.
Sunday 28th August will see masterclasses and book signings from Giancarlo Caldesi at 1:30pm, while Gennaro Contaldo will be back at 2:30pm. Great British Bake Off 2021 winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno will be looking after things at 3:30pm and at 4:30pm, there will be a very special pizza making masterclass by the team from Pizzeria Da Michele.
Carmela Sereno Hayes will also be hosting ‘Carmela’s Kitchen’ across the entire weekend, with free drop-in sessions teaching pasta loving adults and kids alike how to make the perfect – and most beautiful – pasta.
Festa Italiana Feast at Festa Marquee
On Saturday 27th August, there will be an intimate chefs’ table dinner featuring top class Italian celebrity chefs, Gennaro Contaldo, Giancarlo Caldesi and Aldo Zilli, hosted and cooked by Maurizio Cecco, with fresh pasta made from scratch by Carmela Serano Hayes (Carmela’s Kitchen).
Guests will dine with the legendary Italian restaurateurs and will be able to engage in conversations about Italian food, drink and culture throughout the feast.
The evening will be toasted with a Gin Mare drinks reception, and Italian wine will flow throughout the delectable four course meal, with all drinks for the evening included in the ticket price.
Get tickets for the Festa Feast here.
It wouldn’t be an Italian festival without good food, would it?
Over the course of the weekend, returning Festa favourites Café Cannoli will be selling delicious cannoli made using authentic ingredients imported directly from Sicily, local lads Paul and Mike from I Knead Pizza will be bringing their wood fired oven along to serve up their highly acclaimed Neopolitan pizza, while Lucky Mama’s will be serving extruded pasta with fresh homemade sauces.
Proove will also be joining the line-up with their authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza, T’arricrii will bring the essence of Sicily to Cathedral Gardens with their mouth-watering arancini and Fritto Misto, while Manchester’s very own Pasta Factory will be serving up a menu of simple, authentically Italian fresh pasta.
Café Azul will be serving up Kickback Coffee, hot and cold drinks, snacks, cakes and grilled paninis all weekend long, while Destination Doughnut will be dishing out delightful doughnuts described as: light, airy and the perfect balance of sweetness.
Also on the bill, the driving force behind Festa Italiana, family run Salvi’s will be selling sweet treats and branded Salvi’s delights from their Deli.
Festa Italiana’s famous Festival Bar will be making its grand return, and will showcase incredible signature serves across the weekend, including the perfect serve Gin Mare Capri and Gin Mare. Birrificio Angelo Poretti will also be bringing its craft Italian beers served from its Airstream Bar.
The Aperol Spritz Bar will be doing exactly what it says on the tin by serving up everyone’s favourite Italian summer refresher while the Main Festival Bar will be bringing you all of the Italian classics including Gin Mare, Gin Mare Capri, Luxardo, Aperol Spritz, Italian craft beers, Ponte Prosecco, the very best Italian wine and soft drinks.
Let’s Grow Allotment – brought by Ben Faulks, the co-creator and presenter of the award winning CBeebies brand Mr. Bloom’s Nursery – delivers a truly unique experience by combining the core themes of Mr Bloom’s Nursery with the shows of Ben’s theatre company ‘Plunge Bloom’.
Championing nature, nurture, wellbeing, and imaginative play, with a deftness of touch that leaves an indelible impression upon audiences of all ages.
There will also be the a pop-up allotment by Let’s Grow Nannies, which will offer parents a mix of gardening and childcare. The show takes place in a charming pop-up allotment which serves as an interactive play space hosted by two Let’s Grow Nannies with their family of baby fruits and vegetables.
The Let’s Grow Allotment show runs at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm each day across the weekend.
Music and Festa Italiana go hand-in-hand and, this year, Compagnia Sole Luna will be flying over from Naples to bring the city’s traditional folk music to Manchester. There will also be a full line up of local artists and bands including the city’s best loved opera singer The Manchester Tenor, while DJs will be spinning records each night.
Festa Italiana will take place at Cathedral Gardens from Friday August 26th to Sunday August 28th, 12pm – 11pm every day.
Find out more here.
Celebrate Christmas in style at Manchester’s King Street
Visitors can get their hands on some excellent prizes in the run up to Christmas
Celebrate this Christmas in style at Manchester’s King Street – the city’s premium shopping and dining destination.
What better way to celebrate the festive season than on the picturesque King Street against a backdrop of 18th and 19th century buildings featuring a variety of premium shopping and dining destinations, plus plenty more.
Nestled in between historic landmarks in the city’s old banking district are a host of Alpine festive market stalls selling a tempting selection of European goods as well as crafts, food and drinks.
This beautiful street features an eclectic collection of fantastic high-end and designer brands, salons, an art gallery and even a tailor-made travel agents. Just some of these include the likes of The White Company, Hobbs, Patagonia, Kuoni Castle Fine Art, and Nailed It.
Some fantastic dining destinations here include El Gato Negro, Franco Manca, Gordon Ramsay’s Lucky Cat, Miller & Carter, and many more.
To add an extra sprinkle of festive magic, weekly competitions will be held where visitors to King Street will be in with the chance of winning prizes from various brands and shops situated here.
Visitors can simply scan the QR code, located on King Street, to enter the competition and be in with the chance of winning.
Winners of prizes will be announced each week with goodies from the likes of: TAST, Charles Tyrwhitt, Franco Manca, Kala, Castle Fine Art, and Kuoni.
For those dreaming of jet-setting off to a sunny paradise on a luxury holiday, Kuoni will be giving away a £500 voucher towards flights as one of the prizes to be won, which will be announced at the end of December.
For those wishing to enter the competition, just visit one of the two vinyl screens located on 35 King Street and scan the QR code – you can’t miss them!
There will be POS signage in some stores for people to scan as well.
Once you’ve scanned the code, just sign up to the mailing list to enter the competition. Prizes will be announced each week with weekly giveaways until Christmas – find out more and sign up for the mailing list HERE.
Paddy McGuinness announces first stand-up comedy tour in eight years
He’s coming to Greater Manchester in his first tour since 2016!
Paddy McGuinness has announced his first stand-up comedy tour in eight years and he’s coming to Greater Manchester.
The Bolton-born comedian, best known for his roles in Phoenix Nights, Max and Paddy, and The Keith and Paddy Picture Show, will perform his Nearly There tour on 40 dates at selected venues around the UK in 2024 and 2025.
McGuinness is a much-loved presence on British TV, presenting primetime shows such as Take Me Out and BBC’s Top Gear, as well as having previously sold out hundreds of venues across the country on his stand-up tours.
In 2021 he released his acclaimed autobiography My Lifey, and is now raring and ready to get back to where he belongs – on stage, making people laugh, with his hotly anticipated show.
Paddy said: “It’s been eight years since my last tour and there’s lots of things to laugh about!
“I’m looking forward to getting back in front of a live audience, along with running the gauntlet of cancel culture, click bait and fake news!”
Tickets go on sale Friday December 8th at 10am, book yours by clicking HERE.
Paddy McGuinness will perform his Nearly There tour to venues around the UK next year on the following dates:
Thursday October 24th 2024 Blackburn King Georges
Friday October 25th 2024 Sunderland Empire
Saturday October 26th 2024 Hull Connexin Live
Thursday Oct 31st 2024 Llandudno Venue Cymru Theatre
Friday November 1st 2024 Leicester De Montfort Hall
Sunday November 3rd 2024 Milton Keynes Theatre
Thursday November 27th 2024 Middlesbrough Town Hall
Friday November 8th 2024 Dunfermline Alhambra
Saturday November 9th 2024 Dundee Caird Hall
Sunday November 10th 2024 Aberdeen Music Hall
Thursday November 14th 2024 Leeds Grand Theatre
Friday November 15th 2024 Leeds Grand Theatre
Saturday November 16th 2024 Glasgow SEC Armadillo
Sunday November 17th 2024 Edinburgh Usher Hall
Friday November 22nd 2024 Bradford St Georges Hall
Saturday November 13rd 2024 Stoke-On-Trent Regent Theatre
Sunday November 25th 2024 Oxford New Theatre
Thursday November 28th 2024 Halifax Victoria Theatre
Friday November 29th 2024 Sheffield City Hall
Saturday November 30th 2024 Newcastle O2 City Hall
Sunday December 1st 2024 Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
The tour will continue on the following dates in 2025:
Thursday February 13th 2025 Truro Hall for Cornwall
Friday February 14th 2025 Swansea Arena
Saturday February 15th 2025 Cardiff New Theatre
Thursday February 20th 2025 Ipswich Regent
Friday February 21st 2025 Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Sunday February 23rd 2025 Dartford Orchard Theatre
Friday February 28th 2025 Birmingham Alexandra Theatre
Saturday March 1st 2025 Wolverhampton The Civic at The Halls
Sunday March 2nd 2025 Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
Thursday March 6th 2025 Eastbourne Congress Theatre
Saturday March 8th 2025 Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre
Sunday March 9th 2025 Torquay Princess Theatre
Thursday March 13th 2025 Bath Forum
Friday March 14th 2025 London Palladium
Thursday March 20th 2025 York Barbican
Friday March 21st 2025 Scunthorpe Baths Hall
Sunday March 23rd 2025 Stockton Globe
Friday March 28th 2025 Salford Lowry Lyric Theatre
Saturday March 29th 2025 Blackpool Opera House
The Killers announce THREE Manchester shows as part of huge tour
Can’t wait for these!
The Killers have just announced a huge UK and Ireland tour for next year, including three shows in Manchester.
Ahead of the release of their brand new compilation album, Rebel Diamonds, on December 8th, the band confirmed a celebratory tour for summer 2024.
The Rebel Diamonds Tour will celebrate the band’s 20 years of hits in a series of arena shows, including three nights at Manchester’s very own Co-op Live.
The Killers will be bringing 20 years of hits to Manchester on Tuesday 18th, Wednesday 19th, and Friday 21st June 2024.
The new dates are the first time The Killers have played arena shows in the UK since 2017’s Wonderful Wonderful tour, and follow the band’s most recent stadium tour, which saw them play to 400,000 fans at sold out shows.
The Rebel Diamonds album and tour will celebrate 20 years of iconic hits including ‘Mr Brightside’, ‘When We Were Young’, ‘Read my Mind’ and ‘The Man’.
It’s the fourth multi-night announcement for Co-op Live’s opening season, following on from Olivia Rodrigo, Take That, and Liam Gallagher.
Co-op Live – Europe’s most sustainable music-first arena – is edging closer to its official opening in April 2024, when a diverse range of global superstars will head to Manchester.
Expected to be the busiest UK arena opening season ever, Co-op Live will host 25 shows within its first month of opening.
A joint venture between Oak View Group and City Football Group and backed by pop-singer Harry Styles, Co-op Live has been designed to transform the live music experience for both artists and fans and is set to host some of the biggest acts from around the globe.
Co-op Presale tickets will go live on Wednesday December 6th, 2023 at 9:30am – exclusively for Co-op members. For Presale tickets, click HERE.
The Killers UK and Ireland tour will visit:
- Friday 14th June: DUBLIN, 3Arena
- Saturday 15th June: DUBLIN, 3Arena
- Tuesday 18th June: MANCHESTER, Co-Op Live
- Wednesday 19th June: MANCHESTER, Co-Op Live
- Friday 21st June: MANCHESTER, Co-Op Live
- Tuesday 25th June: GLASGOW, Ovo Hydro
- Wednesday 26th June: GLASGOW, Ovo Hydro
- Thursday 4th July: LONDON, The O2
- Friday 5th July: LONDON, The O2
- Sunday 7th July: LONDON, The O2