We can barely remember what it feels like to work a full five-day week any more, so plentiful have the bank holiday weekends been of late.
But here comes another one, with many of us lucky enough to be off work on Monday next week.
The forecast looks relatively bleak but no matter - there will be plenty on this list that should tickle your fancy in our great city over the coming days, from massive gigs and festivals to an experimental day of shopping where you won't need money.
Even The Osmonds are getting involved...
Friday May 24
Music - Dot to Dot Festival
If you’ve ever found yourself complaining about seeing the same old bands on summer festival line-ups, then Dot to Dot is most certainly the event for you. Spread across three cities during Bank Holiday weekend – it starts in Manchester, before going on to Bristol and Nottingham - the annual festival has become renowned for its strong focus on fresh, emerging talent.
In previous years, then fresh-faced artists such as Wolf Alice, The 1975, Lewis Capaldi and Ed Sheeran have all performed at the festival before going onto major success. Put simply, it’s the one festival where you’re guaranteed to fall head over heels with several new bands and artists you've never heard before.
Judging by this year’s jam-packed line-up, we can surely expect plenty of those musical cupid moments. Featuring 100 plus artists, the festival will be taking over 20 of the city’s most popular music venues including the Albert Hall, Band On The Wall, O2 Ritz, Gorilla, Soup Kitchen, Mint Lounge and more.
Among the more established names on the line-up, there’s appearances from Crystal Fighters, Jordan Rakel, Swim Deep, Dream Wife, The Orielles and Mini Mansions.
Elsewhere, of the newer artists, there’s a healthy contingent of local talent on the bill. Keep your eyes peeled for the brilliant post-punk quartet Lynchs (stars of last week’s CityLife Made in Manchester profile), electronic-folk starlet IORA, Middleton grit-rockers Scuttlers, dream-pop outfit New Luna, and the enchanting acoustic soul singer Ellysse Mason.
Various venues / Friday, May 24, 1pm to late / £14, more info at – dottodotfestival.co.uk
Festival - Góbéfest
For a knees-up to end all knees-ups, you'll want to head to Albert Square this weekend. The free annual festival Góbéfest will return to the city, bringing with it a hefty dose of Transylvanian culture. That means folk dancing, live music, chimney cakes, langos, sausages, a puppet show and makers market.
Albert Square / gobefest.com / Friday May 24, 12pm-11pm; Saturday May 25, 11am-11pm; Sunday May 26, 11am-10pm / free
Music - Manchester Jazz Festival
Manchester Jazz Festival, which has this year moved its main hub from Albert Square to St Ann's Square, will continue to fill the city with live music and events across the bank holiday weekend. As well as the festival hub, there are gigs taking place at various venues around the city centre, and an impressive line-up of street food.
One of the first artists signed to Factory Records, A Certain Ratio never quite achieved mainstream success, but their thrilling punk-funk sound influenced countless bands – everyone from Talking Heads to Red Hot Chili Peppers to LCD Soundsystem. Still going strong, the band are celebrating their 40th anniversary with a new box-set release, ACR:BOX, and two special hometown shows at YES.
YES / yes-manchester.com / Friday, May 24 and Saturday, May 25 / £20
Clubbing - High Hoops 4th Birthday
Four years on its debut at the now-departed Roadhouse venue, High Hoops has become firmly established as one of the most joyfully inclusive parties on Manchester clubland. For tonight’s big birthday shindig, they’ll be joined by Dutch DJ Carista and New York electronica producer LSDXOXO.
The White Hotel, Salford / thewhitehotel.club / Friday, May 24, 11pm to 6am / £15
Visual arts - RAGE Collective: Resistance in the Digital Age
Curated by the London-based RAGE Collective, this ambitious film and sound installation explores the changes in political activism over the past three decades, drawing parallels between events such as the Tiananmen Square protests and today’s use of digital platforms as methods of protest and resistance.
Centre For Chinese Contemporary Arts / cfcca.org.uk / 0161 832 7271 / Starts Friday, May 24, runs until Sunday, July 21 / Free
Culture - Our Friends Electrik at The Refuge
With an Urban Decay makeup masterclass, a Whitworth Gallery takeover, Stitched Up's 'wardrobe surgery' and wardrobe swap, and yoga from Lululemon in the beautiful Winter Garden, The Refuge will be pulling out all the stops over the bank holiday weekend.
The Refuge / refugemcr.co.uk / Friday May 24 to Monday May 27 / Most events free, some require tickets - see here for details
Saturday May 25
Music - Sting & Shaggy
O2 Apollo / academymusicgroup.com/o2apollomanchester / 0844 477 7677 / Saturday, May 25, 7pm / £55
Shopping - Stock Exchange at Sadler's Yard
This one-day event at Sadler's Yard will show what the world would be like if money didn't exist. Visitors are encouraged to bring a thing - be it a pizza, a saw, a candlestick or a book - to swap for another thing at the experimental Stock Exchange.
The event organisers say: "We don’t encourage you to aggressively trade your way from a paperclip to a superyacht (please don’t bring paperclips or superyachts)."
Trading will commence at midday in Sadler's Yard, fuelled by DJ sets, outdoor seating, beer tasting and talks.
Sadler's Yard, NOMA / eventbrite.co.uk / Saturday May 25, 12pm-6pm / free
Comedy - Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast
Usually recorded in London’s Leicester Square, Richard Herring’s superb award-winning podcast is now gearing up for a string of UK live shows. For tonight’s Salford visit, he’ll be joined by special guests Sarah Millican and Jimmy Cricket.
The Lowry / thelowry.com / 0843 208 6000 / Saturday, May 25, 8pm / £18.50]
Comedy - Jason Manford
Mancunian funnyman Jason Manford is having an identity crisis – is he still working class, or has professional success elevated him into the realms of the middle class? Find out his conclusions in his latest tour, Muddle Class, another cracking evening of light-hearted anecdotes, misunderstandings and audience banter.
The Lowry / thelowry.com / 0843 208 6000 / Saturday, May 25, 7.30pm / £31
Music - Party on the Pitch
The actual Osmonds are heading to Urmston this weekend, performing at the Party on the Pitch festival. Taking place over two days, the line-up also includes cover artists Small Weller, The Bootleg Beatles, and Definitely Mightbe.
Urmston Sports Club / urmstonfestival.com / Saturday May 25 and Sunday May 26 / £49 weekend tickets, £28 day tickets
Theatre - Journey To The Impossible
Set during the 1980s, this feel-good family show from London’s Little Solder Productions tells the story of three best friends who are magically transported to a strange dimension. Full of cheeky retro references (Walkmans, Donkey Kong, The Goonies), here’s a show which should keep nostalgic grown-ups entertained as much as the youngsters.
The Lowry / thelowry.com / 0843 208 6000 / Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 / £9
Comedy - Thespianage Live
Creating sketches, characters and scenarios based on audience suggestions, Manchester favourites Thespianage Productions return for another peerless demonstration of off-the-cuff comedy genius. If you’ve never been a fan of comedy improv, then here’s the group to convert you.
Gullivers / gulliversnq.info / 0161 819 2970 / Saturday, May 25, 7.15pm / Free
Clubbing - Homoelectric
Manchester’s number one ‘exotic disco for twisted sleazy people’ is back for a bank holiday blowout, joined by special guests Kath McDermott, Michelle Manetti, Gina Breeze, Ladybeige, Will Tramp and Jamie Bull.
Hidden / hidden.club / Saturday, May 25, 10pm to 4am / £15
Visual arts - Richard Wincer: Shelter
Yorkshire-based artist Richard Wincer is probably best known for his nature-inspired figurative paintings, but his latest work highlights his sculptural talents. An ambitious wood-based installation, Shelter – which will take centre stage at Touchstone Rochdale’s Gallery One space – takes inspiration from Wild West cabins and the modern day housing situation.
Touchstones Rochdale / link4life.org/touchstones / 01706 924492 / Starts Saturday, May 25, runs until Saturday, September 7 / Free
Literature - Northern Publisher’s Fair
The north of England has become a real hotbed of independent publishing talent, and this stellar celebration at Central Library – featuring stalls from the likes of Comma Press, Carcanet, Nine Arches Press, Fine Press Poetry, Wordsmith HQ and more – is a great way to explore the region’s fertile literary scene.
Central Library / manchester.gov.uk/centrallibrary / 0161 234 1983 / Saturday, May 25, 12pm to 4pm / Free
Music - Pie Radio: Live
Pie Radio, an online youth-led radio station in Stockport, will be taking over Soup Kitchen with their own DJs and local up-and-coming musicaians. Soup Kitchen is one of the city's best smaller gig venues and ideal setting to discover some new music talent.
Soup Kitchen / facebook.com / Saturday May 25, 6pm-10pm / £5 in advance, £8 on the door
Sunday May 26
Clubbing - You & Me Greenhouse Party
It’s another bank holiday, which means only one thing – an extra day to indulge your clubbing fix. Here’s one of Sunday’s finest offerings: an all-day You & Me rooftop party headlined by the hugely in-demand French producer Sweely, plus residents Seba & Emile and Jacob Samuel.
Brickhouse Social / brickhouse.social / 0161 236 4899 / Sunday, May 26, 2pm to 10pm / £11-£20
Monday May 27
Music - Lizzo
She’s been making music since 2011, but Minneapolis singer/rapper Lizzo (real name: Melissa Jefferson) is now finally reaching a wider audience with her superb third LP, Cuz I Love You. Whether she’s belting out epic soul anthems or dancefloor-friendly pop bangers, she’s got the voice – and sassy diva persona – to achieve major superstardom.
O2 Ritz / academymusicgroup.com/o2ritzmanchester / 0161 714 4140 / Monday, May 27, 7pm / £17.50
Theatre - All I See Is You
Inspired by real accounts of queer life in Manchester and Bolton from 50 years ago, Katherine Smith’s powerful two-hander tells the story of two young men and their conflicting feelings for each other. First staged to rave reviews at the Bolton Octagon last year, the show is now being revived for a week-long run at Ancoats’ Hope Mill Theatre.
Hope Mill Theatre / hopemilltheatre.co.uk / 0161 275 9141 / Monday, May 27 to Saturday, June 1 / £13