The key to getting the most out of the festival, which boasts theatre, music, comedy, television, poetry and more, is undoubtedly to pace yourself. For example, this weekend's opening line-up is, at first sight, a tad daunting. Tonight, Reeves and Mortimer clash with Perrier Award-winner, Jenny Eclair, while festival-goers tomorrow must choose between Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize-winning poet, and Runway fashion show's catwalk of international design names. To round off the weekend on Sunday, Manchester's leading nightclubs will join together for a benefit in aid of the homeless. Just one ticket will secure entry to each of the 25 participating clubs.
A strong international contingent includes Japanese drumming, in the shape of the Wadaiko Ichiro Drummers (left), the Naxi musicians from Lijiang Yunnan in China and Lokyo, a Russian gypsy band based in Dublin.
The success of the annual jamboree (this is the fourth year) is undoubtedly linked to the big-name stars, but also significant is the organisers' determination to interact with local groups. With this in mind, a number of video diaries have been commissioned to celebrate life on the streets.
As part of the festival's desire to reach the parts others can only dream of, even the city's transport system is taking centre stage: 4More is a public art event in which four artists, including Helen Chadwick no less, will daub images on the hoardings of the city's trams.
Boddingtons Manchester Festival, venues around the city, to 29 Oct. Festival hotline 0161-242 2572