Sep 18th 2017

Manchester’s Best Five Live Music Venues

Manchester’s Best Five Live Music Venues

Manchester is a city of music makers and music lovers. Many bands to have emerged from the city need no introduction. The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, The Smiths, Simply Red, New Order, Joy Division, Happy Mondays, Oasis, The Stone Roses, Take That, Elbow, The 1975. The list goes on. If you’re visiting the city and want to get a taste of its vibrant live music scene, our list of Manchester’s Best Five Live Music Venues will help:

Manchester Arena

Any list of Manchester’s Best Five Live Music Venues has to include this. It’s been an emotional few months for the city, sue to Manchester Arena reopening its doors to concert-goers for the first time following the terror attack in May. In the face of tragedy, music has been a uniting factor across the city.  Its good vibes have echoed across the world. At the re-opening concert comic Peter Kay said: “There’s been a lot of joy in this room over the years, including the night of 22 May, right up until the terrorist attack. These last four months have been incredibly painful. Horrendous is putting it mildly. But that’s why you’re here. Because we can’t let terrorists win. And I know the memories of that night will stay with us for a very long time but we’ve got to remember the good times and let them outweigh the bad.”

Manchester Arena is one of the busiest and best known concert venues in the world.

Nothing and no-one will dampen its song, and this autumn we’re looking forward to more amazing times including, Neil Diamond’s 50th anniversary show, Lady Gaga, Emeli Sande, Mariah Carey and John Legend.

Manchester's Best Five Live Music Venues

O2 Apollo

There is something both grand and intimate at the same time about a gig at the O2 Apollo on Stockport Road. The venue is an Art Deco style, Grade II listed building, which started life in the 1930s as a cinema. Since 1970 its been strictly a live entertainment venue.  There can’t be many Mancunians who don’t have memories here! In addition, the venue boasts a back-catalogue of acts to match any rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame. From The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to David Bowie and The Who, Prince and Bruce Springsteen to Paul Simon, on what could be his final tour last year. The O2 Apollo even has a sentimental attachment for Morrissey, who came back to the city and chose to celebrate his 50th birthday with two gigs here.

The popular venue continues to attract some of the biggest names in rock, pop and comedy. Gigs coming up this autumn include Harry Styles, Blondie, Bananarama and The Charlatans.

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Albert Hall

The Albert Hall is another of the city’s hidden architectural gems to be given new life as a live music venue in recent years. The Grade II listed, Wesleyan chapel on Peter Street, still has its beautiful, stained-glass windows, but has sat closed to the public for 40 years. Its potential was spotted by the current owners, who also run some of the city’s other popular live music venues, Gorilla and The Deaf Institute. The atmospheric venue, attracts some big names looking for a unique and intimate setting. And this autumn, is hosting an acoustic gig by frontman and songwriter of Courteeners, Liam Fray.

Manchester's Best Five Live Music Venues

Bridgewater Hall

Manchester’s magnificent concert venue, The Bridgewater Hall, is home to not one but three orchestras in the city. The Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata. The 2400 seat, auditorium was purpose built in the 1990s when it was clear that the Free Trade Hall could no longer produce the quality of acoustic excellence required of an internationally-renowned concert venue. A striking feature of the hall is its 5500-strong, pipe organ. This completely covers the rear wall. In addition to its orchestral programme, which includes more than 250 concerts a year from the Halle alone, the venue also hosts a range of diverse acts. Those performing this autumn include Neil Sedaka, Kate Rusby, Suzanne Vega, Squeeze, ABC, Goldie, Alison Moyet and Katherine Jenkins.

Manchester's Best Five Live Music Venues

Matt and Phreds

For those looking to combine live music with a late-night lounge, Matt and Phreds in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter is one of the city’s hidden gems. You can check out the website to see what’s coming up. The wonderful thing about this venue is there is no need to book ahead though. The venue has live music six nights a week, with free entrance Monday to Thursday, and a £5 door charge on Friday and Saturday nights. The venue has built its reputation as a jazz club.  Past acts included Sneaky, Kit Downes, Marius Neset, Manu Delago, the Dagda Quartet, Jamie Cullum and Adele. Today its musical genres have widened to encompass Folk, Electro, Salsa, Swing, World and Ska. A visit is a must for music lovers to the city, but if you’re lucky enough to look under 26 remember to bring along ID, because Matt and Phreds is a strictly over 18s venue.

Manchester's Best Five Live Music Venues

I hope our round-up of Manchester’s Best Five Live Music Venues has helped you plan a night of music and entertainment in our great city. Enjoy!

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 Sep 18th 2017

Our Pick of Dubai’s Best Luxury Venues

Dubai’s Best Luxury Venues

Dubai’s central geographical location, where East meets West, makes it an excellent choice for international corporate events.  It is also home to this year’s Planners Xtraordinaire congress, where I am delighted to be a guest speaker in October.  The city is home to some of the world’s most luxury events, and even more luxurious venues.  This is why it’s been so hard to select just five for ‘Our Pick of Dubai’s Best Luxury Venues’!!

This vibrant, modern city has become a popular luxury weekend destination for UK travellers. The three-hour time difference means the adjustment is easy on the body clock.  The short escape into the desert makes it a perfect destination for mixing business and pleasure.

When it comes to choosing a venue for your event, Dubai offers a tempting selection. Boiling it down to our top 5 was a tough choice. On exploring the city you’ll find many exciting venues to choose from. Here are some of our favourites, in our ‘Our Pick of Dubai’s Best Luxury Venues’:

Atlantis The Palm

First of all think the glamour of Las Vegas and the fun of Disney.  Add a Middle Eastern twist, and you’re somewhere to imaging the innovative concept that is Atlantis The Palm. It is billed as Dubai’s first truly integrated entertainment resort. Hotel’s designers have thought of almost everything you could want, and provided it under one roof.  Inside there are 17 restaurants from quick bites to treble Michelin starred venues. In addition, there’s a shopping arcade, massive indoor aquarium with sharks, and a dolphin education and conservation centre.  Add to this, kids and teens clubs, several bars and a nightclub.  Furthermore, for those in search of an adrenaline rush it’s also home to the Aquaventure water park.  This is a dare-devil’s paradise with a 2.3km river ride with tidal waves and pools, water rapids, white water chargers and a heart-stopping 27.5m near-vertical water slide.

Our Pick of Dubai's Best Luxury Venues

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

The striking architecture of the Burj Al Arab has made it not only an iconic landmark of Dubai, but instantly recognisable around the world. Located on the beach it is designed to resemble a breaking wave – and one you can land your helicopter on the top. If you opt for this hotel, once inside you’ll realise this is just the start of your event menu. The venue’s two-tiered, Al Falak Ballroom, styled like an 18th century Viennese Opera House, offers an opulent and charming location for speakers with the adjacent Tameen Majlis breakout room for networking. Or for a more modern feel book the Burj Arab Terrace, a favourite for product launches with its spectacular sea views, restaurant, pool and beach space for up to 800 guests.

 Our Pick of Dubai's Best Luxury Venues

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre

The name, Ritz-Carlton has become synonymous with gold standard treatment. Amid the city’s sky-scrapers the 14-storey, Art Deco designed, Ritz-Carlton Dubai may appear small in comparison, but don’t let that fool you. It is still home to seven restaurants and lounges, several outdoor terraces, indoor and outdoor pools, in addition to a sparkling 1400 square meter ballroom, decorated with more than 1000 antique mirrors and a ceiling which twinkles with 10,000 crystals.

Most of all, it’s an elegant choice if you a looking for a stylish, cultural experience, combining top class service with a central location.


Related Topic:  Ten UK Cities Most Popular With Event Organisers


One and Only Royal Mirage, Dubai

If you’re going to call yourself the One and Only then you’d better have something special to offer. And, in a city that seems to have just about everything, the One and Only has managed to pull off the seemingly impossible task.  It has created something unique. This is largely due to the fabulous location. It is set on a kilometer of private beach and within 65 acres of beautifully, landscaped gardens. This traditional Arabic-styled hotel has been designed with rest and relaxation in mind.  It is such is a perfect venue to take clients for a celebratory event.

Armani Hotel

Last year’s winner of the World’s Most Luxurious Hotel, Dubai’s Armani Hotel is an impressive choice for any event. It’s stunning location, inside the world’s tallest building, the Burj Kalifa is visible for miles around and offers unrivalled views of the city. One of only two hotels designed by fashion designer, Giorgio Armani (the other being in Milan). The décor and design is marked by the understated style and elegance you’d expect. Armani’s Italian influence is striking in the hotel’s contemporary, black marble ballroom. This holds up to 450 guests for a gala dinner or stylish product launch. In addition to looking fabulous, the hotel’s commitment to sustainability and Green Globe certification scores it highly for clients looking for greener events.

Our Pick of Dubai's Best Luxury Venues

If you are booking an event in Dubai, ‘Our Pick of Dubai’s Best Luxury Venues’ should give you a head start on the best venues available!

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 Sep 18th 2017

Five event transport ideas .. to make your journey an unexpected bonus!

Five event transport ideas … to make your journey an unexpected bonus!

As any professional event organiser will tell you, there is a lot more to transport than getting guests from A to B. Ease of travel to and from your event can influence attendance. And the experience of that travel will certainly determine how guests feel when they arrive and how they talk about your event once they get home. Getting to your event should be like a holiday.  It starts from the moment your guests leave their house. Here’s our five event transport ideas to show you how to make it a dream trip:

Location, location, location

There are some methods of transport that you can use to almost any event, but it is worth spending some time to get to know your venue location better to determine if it opens any more unusual options. For example, if your venue is on the banks of a river, could guests arrive by narrow boat, ferry or decorated rowing boat? Or, for a rural location could guests travel on the back of an antique tractor or by horse and carriage?

Fun and photos

If guests are laughing and taking photos before they arrive you’re already half-way to a fantastic night.  A fleet of VW Beetles decorated as Herbie, a line of Delorean’s that look like they’ve come straight out of film, Back to the Future, or a road full of red 1969 Dodge Charger’s like the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard are bound to turn heads wherever they go. Choosing your transport to fit in with the theme makes for a seamless experience. Or, if there is no specific theme there are a whole range of luxury party buses to get your guests in the mood before they arrive.

five tips for event transoport

Related Topic: Advice for choosing the right venue for your event

Keep it interesting

Third on our list of five event transport ideas is one of the most important at TLC….IT MUST BE INTERESTING! Whether you are bringing guests to a party or a conference, you want to make the ride as interesting as possible. A great way to do this, particularly for longer journeys is to keep your guests entertained during the trip. If you’ve got guests from out of town, you might like to hire a tour guide who can give information and tell interesting anecdotes about the places you are travelling through, or hire a guest speaker, who has expert knowledge to share on the theme of your event.

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The high life

Depending on how far your guests are travelling, for the ultimate rock star experience you might think about hiring a private jet or helicopter. Most larger airports have private jet terminals, which means that your guests can be driven straight through security to the aircraft, with a wait of less than five minutes between arriving at the private jet terminal and boarding. Flying private is exactly what it says – private. It means there are no passengers others than the people you’ve invited and you can choose whatever movies, music, catering you like. And for overnight flights, if there is room you can have beds made up for guests, making sure everyone arrives refreshed and ready to work or play.

Going green

Transport is one of the simplest ways to make your event more environmentally friendly. Depending on distances and numbers you might opt for non-motorised, eco-friendly transport like pedicabs or horse and carriage. But, even if you opt for more traditional transport methods, rather than have everyone travel separately in cars, door to door group transport is both greener and more relaxing because guests don’t need to worry about getting lost, parking or having a one drink too many.

Hope you five event transport ideas have given you something to consider when planning your next event!

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