The 1980s saw Manchester’s musical renaissance, spearheaded by Morrissey and co. Today the city remains a vibrant destination for the top international acts thanks to a range of great venues. Today on the Radisson Blu blog, we’re looking at the year’s top tickets.

If you consider London the centre of the British music scene, it might be time to look a little further north. Manchester is known for producing some of the UK’s most successful and influential musical exports, ranging from The Stone Roses and Oasis to The Chemical Brothers and Badly Drawn Boy. For many artists, a world tour without a stop in Manchester is hardly a tour at all. The city draws some of the biggest names in pop from around the world, and the music buffs at our Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport have rounded up the best acts stopping by this year so you can get a jump on booking your tickets.

Katy Perry

For a pop princess like Katy, selling out the 21,000 seats at Phones4u Arena is inevitable – just consider her last performance here in 2011. She stops by on May 20th, promising the kind of aural and visual bombast that keeps every member of the family equally entertained. Expect costume changes galore and a light show that will put London’s 2012 Opening Ceremony to shame.

Rick Wakeman

If you’ve got a taste for the spectacular and no patience for contemporary pop, you’ll probably love Rick Wakeman’s iconic Journey to the Centre of the Earth at the O2 Apollo Manchester on April 25th. This progressive rock retelling of the Jules Verne classic was released in 1974 and became an unlikely bestseller, certified gold in America later that year. This tour celebrates its 2012 reissue, offering a rare slice of old-fashioned grandiosity for diehard prog fans.

Ben Harper

Keeping things more mellow, veteran performer Ben Harper serves up his trademark fusion of stylish blues, classic reggae and dynamic song writing at The Lowry on April 28th. A firm fixture of acoustic music since the early 1990s, Harper shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Expect a set list taking a broad overview of his storied career, from 2013′s Get Up! right back to debut single Welcome to the Cruel World.

Joshua Bell

Bach fans will be thrilled to hear about Bridgewater Hall‘s January listings for January. Joshua Bell, the Grammy-winning “poet of the violin” will ambitiously take on dual roles as director and soloist performing the Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor. Anyone familiar with the virtuoso will know of his personal passion for Brahms, whose Violin Concerto in D – alongside Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C - also feature on the evening’s programme.