The summer of 2019 is going to be a busy one in Manchester. The city's tourism sector is pulling out all the stops and visitors can look forward to a packed calendar of events. Art, culture, sports and music - it's all going to be happening. Here are some of the top events we have picked for if you’re visiting Manchester this summer.
Immerse Yourself in the City’s Best Festivals
Things kick off in early June, as Manchester's King Street Festival promises a heady mixture of food, games, talks and live music. The event will mark the launch of the Manchester Flower Show and will feature special offers from over fifty of the city's biggest retail and catering brands.
Cultural highlights include performances of works by Shostakovich, Mozart and Mahler, a positively fizzing programme of live musical and theatrical events, and to mark his 80th birthday, a stage performance by Sir Ian McKellen to raise funds for the charity HOME.
One of the cultural highlights for 2019 will be the bi-annual Manchester International Festival (MIF19), which describes itself as "the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events." This year, it will run from 4th-21st July.
The festival has always attracted an impressive line-up of stars from the worlds of music, theatre and cinema. This year, that line-up includes such names as Yoko Ono, film director David Lynch, composer Philip Glass and actor/artist Idris Elba. Three Hallé choirs and the BBC Philharmonic will be amongst some of the notable musical performers, and live bands will be playing at venues across the city.
Visitors to MIF19 should also call in on the new-look Festival Square, which features a large stage and a busy programme of live acts, DJs and performances. Food and drink will be available, as well as the popular MIF Supper Clubs, with food and presentations by a series of Michelin-starred chefs.
July will also kick off with the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival. Now in its eighth year, the Fringe is a popular multi-venue arts festival that enables artists to showcase a wide variety of works.
Comic Super Fans will be Entertained all Summer
All sorts of other events will be pulling in the crowds from early June. The first week of the month will see the opening of Manchester's Comic Con. Themed around popular films and programmes from the 1980s and 1990s, this two-day event will take a fond look at productions such as Gremlins, Police Academy, Baywatch and more. Visitors will also get a chance to have a selfie taken with Greedo in Manchester's very own Star Wars space cantina. Special guests will include actors Jason Patric and Steve Guttenberg.
June marks the launch of the '80s themed Comic Con, but July will see the launch of the main event - the MCM Manchester Comic Con exhibition, which will be held at Manchester Central Convention Complex on the 27th and 28th July. The organisers describe it as a "blockbuster weekend of everything awesome and geeky". The first special guest to be announced is Michael Rooker, who has appeared in The Walking Dead and in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
No Visit to Manchester is Complete without Music
On 8th June, Muse will be playing at the Etihad Stadium as part of their Simulation Theory world tour. The same night sees the return of Manchester's biggest music festival, Park Life, which will showcase over 200 live acts.
One of the city's biggest musical events will also take place in July. Sounds of the City, which will be held at the Castlefield Bowl between the 6th and 13th July. Headline acts include Elbow, The Wombats and Kylie Minogue.
…. or Sport for that matter!
For sports fans, Manchester will host cycling and tennis events, as well as a busy season of county and international cricket at Old Trafford. More active sports fans can take part in fun runs and a Race for Life, which aims to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
This July, we will see the return of the ever-popular Manchester to Blackpool cycle ride, a 60-mile route which raises funds for The Christie. The following week, in neighbouring Bolton, participants will gather for the Ironman UK Triathlon, and there will be another triathlon competition in Salford on the 28th, so aspiring athletes will have plenty of opportunities to test themselves.
Keeping the Little Ones Entertained is Easy this Summer
Children will also find plenty to entertain them this summer. The Sea Life Centre will be inviting visitors to Meet the Mermaids, while elsewhere in the city, there will be steam locomotives to board, Lego competitions to enter, spells to practice at the Wizard Academy, and a visual extravaganza hosted by Cirque du Soleil based on James Cameron’s film, Avatar.
Towards the end of June there will be more festivals including Manchester Day - an annual event that celebrates everything great about the city - and Incoming Festival, a celebration of emerging talent with in the UK's theatre companies. Both festivals take place on the 23rd June.
On 12th July, The Retro '80s Music and Film Festival will start with an open-air cinema night, presenting films, food and drink. The following day, it will host a Tribute Festival where performers will pay homage to stars such as George Michael, David Bowie, Madonna and Blondie. A family-friendly event, the festival will offer plenty to entertain the kids, including a children's fair and face painting.
August promises to be a fun time for children. Fans of Thomas the Tank Engine can enjoy a special day out in Bury courtesy of the East Lancashire Railway happening from 3rd-4th August. A single-entry fee covers rides in carriages pulled by Thomas, unlimited travel on steam and diesel trains, and meeting the Fat Controller, as well as taking part in activities and games.
Young technophiles should also look out for Power UP! at Museum of Science and Industry (MSI). Here, visitors will get the chance to play on over 160 consoles, enjoying some of the most popular video games from the past forty years - everything from Pacman to Minecraft.
Wave your Rainbow Flag in Support of the LGBT+ Community!
Manchester Pride Big Weekend will take place between the 24th and 25th August, starting at Fairfield Street in the Gay Village, but quickly spreading from Mayfield to Deansgate. Manchester Pride Festival 2019 will encompass Manchester Pride Live, the Candlelit Vigil, the Superbia Weekend, the Gay Village Party, Manchester Pride Parade and Youth Pride MCR. It will feature live performances by pop superstars Ariana Grande, Years and Years, Banarama, Liberty X and a host of other well-known acts.
And for those that can’t stop working!
In addition, Manchester will be hosting a series of major business exhibitions over the summer. These include an array of science and medical conferences, trade shows, educational symposia and renowned international expos such as Housing 2019, Europe's largest event for the housing sector.
The dates and attractions above are just a small selection of the many special events that will be happening in Manchester over the coming summer, giving all the more reason to stay in Manchester. To this list can be added countless theatrical performances, art exhibitions, live acts and comedy performances, together with all the city's usual entertainment and family attractions.