This year's Manchester International Festival runs from July 2nd until July 19th, and offers a lineup that looks set to equal 2007's debut event. Mancunians may remember that the 2007 shindig included the world premiere of Damon Albarn's Monkey: Journey to the West, long before it became irritatingly over-exposed on the BBC Olympics coverage last year.
This year's programme appears ideal for people of a certain age; if you are under 25, for example, you are unlikely to be excited by the idea of De La Soul peforming their perfect album 3 Feet High and Rising. I, on the other hand, AM excited by this, particularly as the "20 Feet High and Rising" show takes place at The Ritz, home of the legendarily sticky floor and terrifyingly unattractive men. The band will perform with a 10-piece band for two nights - July 16 and 17.
Meanwhile, local favourites Elbow find themselves at a far more elegant venue when they join the Halle Orchestra at the Bridgewater Hall on July 8 and 9. After the success of last year's album The Seldom Seen Kid, everyone has jumped on the Elbow bandwagon (not least, whoever decides who gets a Brit Award), so it's nice to see them supporting the Manchester Festival rather than heading off to London village to milk their new-found fame.
Other highlights include Kraftwerk at the Manchester Velodrome on July 2 in their only indoor show in the UK this year, and perennial Manchester stalwarts Durutti Column performing a tribute to the much-missed Tony Wilson along with old friend Vini Reilly.