It’s Friday! Woo! And while many of this summer’s weekends so far have seen the people of Manchester up sticks and leave the city for some festival or other, this weekend the focus is firmly on our fair city and its surroundings.

The Manchester International Festival gets well underway this weekend, with an exciting three weeks ahead of groundbreaking new work in the fields of music, art, dance, drama, and more. And with Damon Albarn and Willem Defoe already seen drinking in the Cornerhouse this week, there’ll be plenty of opportunities for star spotting as some of the world’s greatest artists descend on Manchester.

Bjork’s highly anticipated Biophilia live show premiered last night, with first reports suggesting that anyone with tickets for the remaining five shows are in for a treat. Taking place in the striking space of Campfield Market hall at MOSI, Biophilia blends music, nature and technology for this multi-media project that includes apps, internet, installations and live performance.

This weekend also sees the launch of Damon Albarn’s latest work, Doctor Dee; a stageshow centered around the life of Elizabethan Renaissance Man John Dee. If the blinding success of Albarn’s last MIF work, ‘Monkey; Journey to the West’, is anything to go by, Doctor Dee should be pretty special. You’ll find that at The Palace Theatre for the next nine nights.

If you’ve got little ones, then you’ll surely have heard all about immersive theatre company Punchdrunk’s latest creation. The Crash of the Elysium will be an unforgettable Doctor Who themed event, and represents Punchdrunk’s first work specially made for children. Jealous? Us? Very.

If you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets for any of the festival’s main shows, then you can soak up the festival atmosphere this weekend in Albert Square. A bustling hive of activity throughout the festival, Albert Square – or Festival Square as it’s been temporarily renamed – is the beating heart of MIF, and home to outdoor and indoor bars and cafes, as well as the Festival Pavillion where some of the city’s best DJs will be performing each night.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and Manchester International Festival, something very special is beginning to stir in the Cheshire countryside. Tomorrow sees the iconic Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank take centre stage when colourful alt-rock band The Flaming Lips headline a unique afternoon of music. Brought to you by The Warehouse Project and Manchester events company Ear to the Ground, Live from Jodrell Bank Transmission 001 will see The Flaming Lips, British Sea Power, Ok Go, Alice Gold and more perform under the imposing shadow of the Lovell Telescope.

And if that’s not impressive enough, the telescope itself will form an integral part of the show, with stunning visuals being projected directly onto it. We’ve also heard rumours of a few special telescope related surprises… but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out. We don’t know about you, but we’re VERY excited about this one. Forever Manchester will be out in force at Jodrell Bank tomorrow, raising awareness and funds for our work in Manchester. So if you see our volunteer team out and about, make sure you come and say hi!

We’ll be reporting back on Live from Jodrell Bank next week, with a special guest blog from one of our amazing Forever Manchester volunteers.