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Med for it

Never mind the Balearics, the sun-baked islands are bringing their very best to the North West this Bank Holiday weekend - and it's all free!

Published on May 1st 2009.

Med for it

IF it's a bit too quiet for you on the western front this weekend, then jump a train and head for where it's all happening.

Manchester city centre will be filled with colour and fun direct from the Balearic Islands this Bank Holiday weekend as part of a massive festival for the people of the North West, paid for by islands of Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera to showcase their delights.

And while you might be thinking: "Those taking part might never have seen an umbrella, they might be in for a shock," even the city's famous and persistent drizzle wouldn't dare rain on this sunny parade.

And it’s all free.

So fancy taking a stroll up the East Lancs? Well here’s what to expect: More than 200 artists, dancers, musicians and craftspeople rocking two custom built pavilions in Manchester's Albert Square. If that’s not enough, there’ll be break-out parades through the city and flamboyant firework displays.

First the main marquee. Here you can watch, at various times, those Minorcan horses and riders, plus music, dancing and street acts. There’ll also be demonstrations of traditional arts and crafts with food and drink including orlettes (sweet biscuits), almonds, sobrasada, cheese and the ensaimada, a delicious sweet pastry.

In the family marquee there’ll be storytelling, face painting, games and recycling workshops. Confidential isn’t sure how the latter is meant to be fun, but families certainly get plenty of time to think about what to do with that Coke

can as the tents are open until 8pm on Saturday and Sunday and 5pm on Monday.

The parades take place on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 1pm, and on Monday from 11am. The processional route will be Market Street, Cross Street and into La Plaza de Albert, and will include street performers, dancers, Geants, (those bighead giants), acrobats and musicians.

A highlight will undoubtedly be the Minorcan gee-gees in the most impressive horse display since the Greater Manchester Police dispersed Rangers fans last year.

Meanwhile Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings finish off with fireworks at 9pm on all three nights. These are entitled the Correfoc Devil’s fire display and are demonically possessed and very loud extravaganzas of crazed pyrotechnics.

Other keynote acts include flamenco with Paco Fernandez, Eva Redondo and friends where traditional Iberian rhythms merge with jazz and hip-hop. Big Yu Yu features a ten piece rock band fusing blues and contemporary style. Xalandri is a spectacular folk band with six musicians and a repertoire made up of songs by Minorcan composers including romantic ballads and songs based on ancient legends and music.

All of this should amount to some serious fun and some great entertainment and, once again, it's all free.

For further informationclick here.

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