It's the last Bank Holiday now until Christmas so you'd better get out and do something. Don't waste it! I'm off on a massive bender, starting at Friday lunch time and ending Monday evening - if you see me at any of the following events, make sure I'm not dead. Thanks.
The biggest and best celebration of all things LGBT in Manchester - Pride is now in something like its 27th year - featuring the biggest parties, live acts, discos and hair you're ever likely to see over the Bank Holiday weekend. Although it's not the official start of Pride (there's the Fringe bit earlier), the Big Weekend kicks off on Friday night, followed by the Manchester Pride Parade through the streets of the city on Saturday. The parade is free and I once got a hug and a kiss off Sir Ian McKellen so it's pretty good. The Festival then continues inside and around Canal Street, right up until Monday evening. There's loads of acts on and more nights and parties than I care to list here. Top of my favourites are Poptastic's 21st Birthday, Liberty X, Mel C, Ultra Nate and fellow Oldhamers, N-Trance.
Come As You Are Weekender @ The Refuge
It's another Bank Holiday, and so there's another Weekender over at the brilliant Refuge on Oxford Road. Anyone who has been inside The Refuge will know that the space is pretty special, and they also have a proper cool outdoor bit - which is where most of the party will be taking place throughout this 3-day bender. Starting on the Friday, the weekender features a massive list of performers, DJs, parties, screenings, food, drink and general sexiness, culminating in Homoelectric's Come As You Are Closing Party on the Sunday. There's a full list of everything that’s going on right here.
The Refuge by Volta, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
0161 233 5151
Taking place right near Marple Bridge, at the Etherow Country Park; Moovin Festival is probably the most fun you can have in Stockport over the Bank Holiday weekend - unless there’s a sale on at Decathlon, obviously. With a line up featuring Roy Ayers, Black Grape, 808 State, Mr Scruff and loads more, it looks set to be a pretty decent weekend where you can chill on a field, have a few ciders and maybe have a bit of a groove. Being located on a farm, there may be a small chance of some type of cow-related disaster - so be on your toes - just in case.
Moovin Festival, Etherow Country Park, Stockport, SK6 DJQ
Pride Cocktails @ Grafene
Modern British restaurant and bar Grafene will be celebrating the Bank Holiday weekend, and Manchester's biggest party with a collection of Pride Cocktails, each one a specific colour on the Pride Rainbow Flag. Each one will be £5 all weekend and they are: Red - Life (Vodka, pomegranate, raspberry, lemonade), Orange - Healing (Tequila, blood orange, citrus, sugar, salt), Yellow - Light (Gin, lemon, sugar, prosecco), Green - Nature (Gin, elderflower, cucumber, lime, soda), Blue - Art (Vodka, triple sec, almond, ginger, egg white) and Violet - Spirit (Prosecco, blueberry, lemon, violet).
Grafene, 6, 55 King St, Manchester M2 4LQ
0161 696 9700
Luna Open Air Cinema @ Tatton Park
Pop up cinemas are sprouting up everywhere nowadays, as if everyone has forgotten where their local Odeon is. To be fair though it's probably down to the fact that most new movies are absolutely terrible - people would much rather watch Jurassic Park on the big screen than that new Transformers film that featured so many pointless dialogue and explosions that not even Anthony Hopkins could make it better. Tatton Park will feature 2 top films over the Bank Holiday weekend and one pretty rubbish one, with Back to the Future and Grease on the Friday and Saturday respectively, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone being played on the Sunday.
Tatton Park Gardens, Mereheath Dr, Knutsford WA16 6QN
Bank Holiday @ Cottonopolis
Once again Cottonopolis are putting on a packed weekend of events this Bank Holiday starting with the Closing Party of their Tropadelica Summer Beer Festival on Friday and then featuring a Hip-Hop Hooray All Dayer on Sunday and an Eastern Bloc hosted Bottomless Brunch on Monday. I went to the opening party of the Tropadelica Beer Festival and it was great - the closing party will feature the same; brewers from around the UK offering their lovely ales in a North v South Beer Off, as well as free tastings and loads of giveaways. Hip-Hop Hooray is 12 hours of DJs and a Breakdance Showcase, while the Monday's Bottomless Brunch will feature an all-day vinyl session from the Eastern Bloc Records crew. More details here.
Cottonopolis Food & Liquor, 16 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AE
0161 236 5144
Summer Weekenders at B.Eat Street
This Bank Holiday sees the final B.Eat Street Summer Weekender to be held at the current location near the Great Northern bit on Deansgate. I've not been told where they will be moving to but I'm sure someone will let me know in due time and I can get the info to you. In the meantime you can enjoy a final piss up with tunes and street food with a variety of DJs and Live Music. Friday and Saturday night sees a Bad Fun DJ Takeover, with Jess Kemp performing live from 4pm on Saturday too. Finally on Sunday they have a band, Lavender playing live - probably with nice hair and leather jackets.
B.Eat Street, Great Northern Warehouse, 235 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
Pride Cocktail @ The Botanist
If you happen to find yourself in The Botanist this weekend there is only one thing you should do. Eat their Salt and Pepper Onion Petals. They are in the 'Nibbles' section of their menu and they are divine. You won't just be able to eat just one though. Oh no. Once you've started, you will probably blast through about 5 of these bad boys, and still want more. They're like smack. But nicer. And more addictive. Whilst you are stuffing your face, you can also partake in a Pride cocktail this weekend which features the added benefit of £1 from every sale going to the Manchester Pride charity. It's called Smoked Pink Grapefruit Margarita and features Lime Juice, Mari Brizard Gomme, El Jimador Blanco, Briottet Pink Grapefruit.
The Botanist, 78 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2FW
0161 833 1878
Pride up your Slice @ Crazy Pedro’s
Perhaps a homage to the fact that Mel C will be playing at Pride on Friday night, Crazy Pedro's will be letting people 'Pride up their Slice' when they pop in over the weekend. There will be Gypsy Shrine Glitter Stations set up to shove a load of shiny stuff on your face and beard, as well as edible glitter for their brilliant pizza slices. I recommend you get one of their Katsu Chicken Curry August Specials down your neck. Oh and 50p from each pizza sold on the 26th August goes straight to Manchester Pride Charities. Nice.
Crazy Pedro’s Pizza Parlour
55-57 Bridge Street, M3 3BQ
1 Short Street, M4 1AA
0161 359 3000
Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2017
There used to be only one thing I ever wanted to go to Bolton for and that was Bolton Baths. I'm not sure if it's still there anymore but as a kid, that trip from Oldham to Bolton, to piss around in a massive swimming pool was one of the best things ever. It was pretty annoying that you had to go outside to get to the top of their big slide though. This weekend sees another reason to go to Bolton - their Food and Drink Festival. Taking place in the town centre, you can expect loads of food, drink, workshops, live music and children's activities. Ainsley Harriott is going to be there too - as if you need anything else.
Pride Cocktail @ Don Giovanni
Another Pride cocktail for you to have a sup on here and this time it's at Don Giovanni's at the top of Oxford Road. They love their Italian food here, and are currently running a 50% OFF food promotion throughout August so if you find yourself in there slurping down some Carbonara, get involved in their cocktail - of which 50% of each sale goes to Manchester Pride charities. It's got vodka, cranberry, lime and orange, in it and comes with a little rainbow sweetie on top. As you can see in the picture.
Don Giovanni, Peter House, 1-2 Oxford St, Manchester M1 5AN
0161 228 2482
Friday 25th August, 7pm
It's always good to know that Bongo's Bingo is back in Manchester, mostly because it's one of the only nights ever where you can win a Henry Hoover, 500 quid or a bottle or Archers while getting Coco Pops thrown all over you, looking at photoshopped pictures of dick heads and dancing to some belting tunes. All while playing Bingo. Like your nan. On acid. With her mates. While still giving the evil eye to anyone in the Bingo Hall that they've not seen before. It's much friendlier at Bongo's though – but don’t forget, if you win the jackpot - you should get a round in. Dems the rules.
Albert Hall, 27 Peter St, City Centre, Manchester M2 5QR
0844 858 8521
Friday 25th August
My only real exposure to classical music comes when flicking through the radio stations in a car on the way down to London, looking for Smooth as I get past Stoke and it gets crackly. Classical Uproar will be presenting a unique evening of classical and house music at the Gorton Monastery this Friday featuring a 25 piece orchestra led by Simon Robertshaw from BBC Philharmonic. Coming from Suddi Raval - founding member of 90's dance act Together, the night aims to create a unique evening of live club music and classical instrumentation with dance music anthems reinterpreted in classical style. Plus DJ sets Phil Rose, Richard Moonboots & Jason Boardman and Mark XTC.
The Church and Friary of St Francis (Gorton Monastery Manchester), Gorton Lane, Manchester, M12 5WF
Pappy Van Winkle & Burning Dram @ The Whiskey Jar
Friday 25th & Sunday 27th August
Continuing their Whiskey Tasting antics are the blokes and lasses over at Whiskey Jar who will be pulling out the famous Pappy Van Winkle drop for all and sundry to get their lips around. Apparently it is one of the most sought after and hardest to find whiskeys in the world, so instead of looking in whiskey shops or in Mike Baldwin's liquor cabinet - just cruise down to Whiskey Jar and they will provide the goods. They will have his 10 year old one, right up to a 23 year old one. Which is a long time for something to be sat in a manky barrel – but will probably taste amazing. Oh and they will also be hosting 'Burning Dram' - a mega event that brings together all their best Open Mic Night acts from 2017. That's on Sunday and there's more info here.
The Whiskey Jar, 14 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF
0161 237 5686
Saturday 26th August
I'm always a bit sceptical when I see events like this advertised online - mostly because they are either completely fabricated or they end up being atrociously organised and everyone gets angry. For example - there is a 'Sausage Festival' advertised for this Bank Holiday weekend, with no details, no location or anything. Just a fancy website and logo and a place for you to put in your email address. Smells fishy to me. Anyway, this Tequila one looks like the real deal, not only do they have a nice logo but they also have a location - Bowlers - and are selling tickets. I can't guarantee that it's going to be organised well though - you'll have to go and see for yourself. There promises to be loads of different tequilas, street food, all that jazz. Tickets are selling out fast.
Bowlers Exhibition Centre, Longbridge Rd, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 1SN
0161 876 0007
Vinyl All-Dayer & BBQ @ Oddest
Saturday 26th August, from 2pm
Oddest seem to have a monopoly on All Day BBQ's in Chorlton, with one happening pretty much every week now. Of course, the Bank Holiday will not disappoint if you enjoy vinyl and charred meats and Chorlton in general. Taking place on the Saturday, from 2pm til 8pm - there's a bloke called Terry who is seemingly well known for his collection of vinyl and his knowledge of tunage. He will be standing at the side of a variety of DJs throughout the day, who will be thrilled to get the chance to play YOUR records that you can bring in from home. Perhaps it’s a good idea to keep the Kylie Minogue album where it is.
Oddest Bar, 414-416 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0SD
0161 860 7515
Brutus Gold's Love Train @ The Empire, Rochdale
Saturday 26th August
Everyone's favourite hairy-chested, 70's stereotype is back and after a very successful evening at the Ritz a couple of months ago, he's heading to Rochdale - for a special version of his brilliant Love Train night. You can expect the usual stuff - some mint 70's disco tunes, loads of dressing up and hopefully - 70's priced drinks. The whole night culminates in a stage show, featuring Brutus and his gang of similarly-clad dancers - strutting their stuff on stage. There will probably be a conga which makes this night better than anything else you can do over the weekend - anywhere.
The Empire, 7 Packer St, Rochdale OL16 1NJ
Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club ft. Myles Sanko
Saturday 26th August, 9pm
It's the Funk and Soul Club at Band on the Wall with a Bank Holiday special featuring Myles Sanko. I didn't have a clue who Myles was so I've gone and Asked Jeeves and he came back with this. Myles Sanko is a Ghana-born British soul singer and songwriter who has performed to sell-out crowds across Europe and gained extensive airplay on all major radio stations. Well done lad. Adding to the live performance by Myles will be absolute legend Craig Charles, spinning his vinyl and pumping his fist at every opportune moment.
Band on the Wall, 25 Swan St, The Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 5JZ
0161 834 1786
Mayweather Vs McGregor Fight
Saturday 26th/Sunday 27th
There have been some truly memorable and iconic boxing moments over the past 100 years or so, including that time when Mike Tyson chewed on Holyfield's ear, when Ali fought Joe Frazier, Homer's fateful bout against Drederick Tatum and when Rocky sparked out Thunderlips while Mr T looked on with a grimace. Whether this fight will produce another iconic moment is anyone's guess - you've got a technical fighter who manages to bore all audiences into ambivalence, and a UFC fighter who can't help but cause a bit of a ruckus with both his fists and his gob. It's on ridiculously early in the morning but there's loads of places to watch it in town, my choice would be Black Dog NWS where you can secure yourself some chicken wings and beers to scoff while two grown men punch the shit out of each other. Almost like Yorkshire Street in Oldham on a Friday night.
Black Dog NWS, 11-13 New Wakefield St, Manchester M1 5NP
0161 236 4899
Vince Vega & Sunday Social @ Brasserie Abode
Saturday & Sunday
Brasserie Abode have a real treat for anyone who likes Pulp Fiction this weekend. That's right, Vincent Vega, John Travolta will be..oh no. No it's not. It's Vince Vega. Vince Vega the DJ. Sorry for the confusion. John Travolta is a bit weird now anyway isn't he?! Vince Vega will be much better. He will be spinning some absolute classics on Saturday night from 10pm with loads of club classics, funk, soul, dance, hip hop and house. Then for their Sunday Social, guests will be treated to DJ Edwin Sinclair blending tunes while you can tuck into your fantastic Sunday lunch.
Brasserie Abode, 107a Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2DB
0161 200 5665
Asiana Tokyo Champagne Brunch @ Sakana
Sunday 27th August
It seems everyone in Manchester is doing Bottomless Brunch now - you can't go anywhere in the city on a weekend and not be inundated with people scoffing their faces and getting pissed up on unlimited prosecco. Personally I'm just waiting for Gregg's to jump on the bandwagon - unlimited bacon butties, steak bakes and tins of Tizer would be right up my street. Alternatively Sakana are hosting an different take on the 'Bottomless' trend by offering unlimited sushi, dim sums and Asian tapas, all washed down with a bit of bubbly and unlimited signature cocktails and wine. It looks and sounds brilliant so get your name down as soon as you can!
Sakana, 23 Peter St, Manchester, M2 5QR
0161 884 1292
Pride Sunday Handsome Special @ Underdog
Sunday 27th August, 10pm
There's a special night at Underdog on Sunday called Handsome which will feature loads of "Bass & Beats" by DJ's Jamie Bull and Paulette. I met Paulette once and she was really, really nice to me - which is unusual for DJ's because they usually want to kick my head in for requesting 'Africa' by Toto at a Hip Hop night. Expect to hear some top tunes and have a proper good night I say.
Black Dog Ballroom NWS, 11-13 New Wakefield St, Manchester M1 5NP
0161 236 4899
The Manchester Soul Festival
Sunday 27th August, from 12pm
Home to a dazzling array of large chain restaurants and bars such as Frankie & Benny's, Walkabout and Wagamama - places where you would be hard pressed to walk a mile in any direction and not find two - The Printworks could be described as being a bit soul-less. In a very clever and innovative way I have managed to link this in with the event that is going on over the Bank Holiday - insofar that they are hosting The Manchester Soul Festival (implying that they are trying to give it some more soul - geddit!?) Now in its 3rd year, the Manchester Soul Festival is an event that brings Northern Soul to the streets of the Printworks while also raising money for The Christie Hospital. If you're a fan it should be a decent day with some great performances.
The Printworks, 27 Withy Grove, Manchester M4 2BS
0161 829 8000
Eyes Wide Shut Masquerade Ball @ Behind Closed Doors
Sunday 27th August
There is an Eyes Wide Shut Masquerade Party over at Behind Closed Doors over the Bank Holiday Weekend. I would usually write something up about it right here but I've already done it elsewhere and considering it is a slice of pure genius, better written than some of that Shakespeare stuff, I don't feel I can do it justice right here. So I'll just give you the link. Which is here. If you want to wear a mask, listen to some funky tunes and sip cocktails all with perfect anonymity - this is the place for you.
Behind Closed Doors, 91-95 Oldham Street, M4 1LW
Peek A Groove @ Electrik
Sunday 27th August
If you can't be arsed with dragging yourself into town on Bank Holiday Sunday, dodging all the crowds and then spewing on the Magic Bus back home, then Electrik in Chorlton are putting on a bit of a bash that you can get involved in and not travel too far. If you live in or near Chorlton that is. Their Bank Holiday Soiree will feature guest DJ Russell Paine who seems to be into Hip Hop and all that. If you fancy it - cruise on down - it's free too!
Electrik Bar, 559 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0AE
0161 881 3315