Police and partners across the region are preparing to welcome over 400,000 music fans this weekend as Manchester becomes home to three huge concerts and the annual return of Parklife festival.

Fans are expected to descend to Manchester when Ed Sheeran starts his four-night stint at the Etihad Stadium tonight and commuters and those not attending are advised to re-route their journey and avoid Great Ancoats Street, Mancunian Way or any travel before 3pm.

The long-awaited Parklife festival returns to Heaton Park on Saturday and Sunday where over half of those attending are expected to get public transport, and The Killers and Alicia Keys will play the Emirates Old Trafford and AO Arena respectively on Saturday night.

Officers will be there to support partners and ensure the safety of thousands at all of the events, alongside keeping everyone else across Greater Manchester safe in all other emergencies in what is expected to be a busy weekend for all partners, and emergency services.

Superintendent Andy Sidebotham, GMP’s gold commander for this weekend’s events, said: “This weekend will see thousands of people visiting and staying in the center for what will be a busy weekend that has been months in the planning.

“We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable weekend and music-goers should expect to see police officers on the ground in and around the events and will be on hand to help anyone who needs it. Those attending are advised to be vigilant and keep their belongings safe and report anything suspicious to us. We’ve been working alongside partners for these events for some time and our main aim is as always, to keep everyone safe.

“We’re very experienced in dealing with high profile events like this and welcoming thousands to Greater Manchester and officers will be at all of the events and anyone needing any assistance or help is more than welcome to speak to our officers.”

Those planning to use public transport over the weekend are urged to be patient and prepare for much busier journeys. Other routes available and updates can be found at www.tfgm.com.

Superintendent Sidebotham added: “Those planning to visit or live nearby are asked to be patient when traveling to and from the events as there will no doubt be an increased amount of traffic. Public transport is expected to be very busy and we would ask that people follow the messages and advice from our colleagues at Transport for Greater Manchester, and that those attending plan their journeys accordingly and take care.

“As always, we’re thrilled to welcome thousands back to the city center and hope that everyone attending the concerts and Parklife festival this weekend have a safe and good weekend.”

Stephen Rhodes, Customer Director at TfGM, added: “With extremely high and potentially record numbers of people expected to be traveling on the network this week, I’m appealing to all our passengers to take extra care when using the network and to look out for your friends and other people around you.

“We’re encouraging people to make shorter journeys to think about walking and cycling where possible.

“I would strongly encourage anyone traveling by bus, tram or train during the coming weekend to use contactless payments where possible in order to help keep queues moving. When paying by contactless on Metrolink, please remember to touch-in and touch-out with the same device on the smart readers at the start and end of each journey, and Metrolink will work out the best fare for you.

“We are constantly updating the customer information available on our website and across our social media channels to help people make informed journey choices; to save them time and avoid disruption to their journey.”

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