August Bank Holiday round-up: Three days good, two days bad

Polly Checkland Harding

August holds the last Bank Holiday of the summer – so you’ll not be wanting to waste it. Here’s our guide to the best ways to spend three days.

It’s about time, right? We’ve survived without a three-day weekend since May. It might not actually be that long ago, but it feels it. All those glorious sun-shined days…watched from behind office windows. Early starts and sweaty commutes and taking work home at the weekend and who knew you could really receive that many emails in a day? Seriously. So, with work fatigue at its peak, having this broad Bank Holiday on the horizon – a glorious summit of drunkenness and brunches – is really quite a relief. Here’s our guide to what you should fill it with.

Do Music

Get well on your way to writing off the rest of the weekend with Trash the Kraak. This underground disco and house DJ event starts on Friday night and goes on until 4am the following morning. Alternatively, save yourself for Jeffrey Lewis at the Deaf Institute the next evening; Lewis is famous for illustrated songs, and the luminaries he’s played with. If you’re still party-ready on Sunday, then the California vibes at Soup Kitchen’s Pacific Beach Vinyl Party will dude you into a happy slacker Monday lie-in.

Over in Liverpool, meanwhile, Liverpool International Music Festival is running a Summer Jam right the way through from Friday to Sunday. The line-up is a tad patchy (Shaggy’s back…), but Foxes, M.O., Kate Tempest and Jess Glynne are a few acts worth seeing and, hey, we can’t really complain – it is free, after all. Over at The Shipping Forecast, and also free, 6Music DJ and Fun Lovin’ Criminals frontman Huey Morgan will be playing records from his personal collection, traversing hip hop, jazz, rock and reggae.

Buy / Sell

You can’t have a Bank Holiday weekend without a Carbooty. The Northern Art Carbooty in Ancoats runs from 12pm-5pm on Sunday, selling clay items from Horsefalling, DIY film loops and souvenirs of Manchester’s industrial heritage. Well, why not? A three-day record fair at the Bluecoat in Liverpool is the chance to buy music to groove to back at base, with CDs and vinyl delights as well as posters on offer. Rather more unusual is We Buy White Albums at FACT. This long-running exhibition-cum-listening post will be in the format of a record store – with two key differences. Only the Beatles’ White Album, with its iconic Richard Hamilton cover, will be on display, and records are only bought, not sold. Listen to copies of your choice, barter over your own, and see if you can tell the differences between each of 1,000 individual sleeves.

Make it to Wakefield

Wakefield is already one of our top picks for a day trip, but the August Bank Holiday weekend might be the ideal time to go – or venture out if you live there. Crafting individually tailored pieces of “schmuck” (or jewellery, if you’re not German) to reflect the wearer’s desires and personality is artist Yuka Oyama at the ever excellent Hepworth. Schmuck Quickies runs from 2pm-4.30pm on Monday, and is in response to the ongoing Franz West exhibition, Where is my Eight? Preceding this – and perhaps even more abstract – is an intervention by artist Nicola Conibere, in parallel with the gallery’s Allan Kaprow exhibition. Conibere’s work investigates theatricality, public appearing and social choreography. Quite what that means in real life, we’re not sure. For rather less cerebral fare, head over to The Orangery for some Friday night music and food “collisions”. This regular evening is a relaxed-sounding smash of street food with live music – though the Bank Holiday acts have yet to be announced.

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

Bank Holidays are best approached by pairing your favourite tipple with the perfect next day restorative: a really decent breakfast. If blessed with good weather in Manchester, seek out one of the city’s top beer gardens. Alternatively, a cool glass of the fruit of the vine can be a wonderful thing outside: for the best places to get one, come rain or come shine, check out our guide. The world can be a cruel one in the morning – cope with it better using our run down of the nicest breakfasts in both Manchester and Liverpool.

Do Different

Manchester has a number of off the wall events over the long weekend. Manchester Tweed Ride takes an appealingly circular route, returning to the Velodrome at the end of the ride for a drink (or three) at the beer and cider festival happening there. Convenient, what? You could equally use the weekend to swot up on bridal couture at an exhibition that includes the indomitable Maria Balshaw’s wedding dress, or some Mancunion History, courtesy of Manchester Guided Tours’ weekend tours of the Town Hall’s Clock Tower. Alternatively, The Use and Abuse of Books at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation looks set to be contentious.

Do Pride, & Be Proud

Some strong events for this year’s Pride rescue it from fears of the festival having lost its way. To kick the weekend off, Mother’s Ruin will be taking over Roadhouse on Friday with their curious brand of queer cabaret. POUTFest at Cornerhouse runs throughout most of August, but there’s a screening of Blue is the Warmest Colour on Monday, in case you missed it. Saucier still is Naked Boys Reading at TwentyTwentyTwo – more mysterious than it sounds, the event will “explore the meaning and allure of TRUE NORTH”. It has sold out, but add yourself to the wait list with hopes of finding out more.

Go Escape

Try wild swimming, see astonishing coastal art (or just kick back on the shore of the north’s best beaches), choose some garden calm at Walkden or literature and the rugged moors of Hebden Bridge and Haworth. Now that’s escapism in a sentence. Happy Bank Holiday!

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Kamila Shamsie. Photo Alex von Tunzelman

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