Grillstock Festival Manchester: The meat-eater’s dream

Kate Feld

Grillstock returns to Manchester in June, bringing the art of the barbeque back to Albert Square.

Yeah! Nothing says summer like throwing some raw animal flesh on a hot grill. What? Oh, yeah… Sorry vegetarians. Erm, actually guys, you might want to go take a short walk. Go treat yourself to a halloumi and bean burger somewhere. Because Grillstock is a festival dedicated to the celebration of barbecue in its myriad forms. Their slogan is “meat, music and mayhem.”

Last year’s event – their first outside the Grillstock home base in Bristol – was surprisingly mayhem-free. It was all quite civilised, with teams of grill geeks competing in the BBQ competition, fussing over their char and comparing brining methods under a big marquee in the middle of Albert Square. Around the edges were an array of street food sellers, grill trade salesfolk, craft beer bars, cooking demonstrations and a couple of stages where a nicely varied line-up of performers provided a soundtrack to the day.

Their slogan is “meat, music and mayhem”

This year Grillstock rolls into town on 28-29 June. Competitive eating, that weirdest of spectator sports, gets some festival time with chilli pepper, hot dog and hot wing eating contests. Musically, 25 acts will perform over two days with an emphasis on US-inflected blues, country and rockabilly. Funk-rock band Vintage Trouble top the bill Saturday night while Hayseed Dixie, who’ve attracted an international following with their bluegrass covers of hard rock classics, headline Sunday. And, last but not least, there’s always the barbecue competition for entertainment.

As ever in Manchester, sunshine will be the key ingredient to the festival’s success – so let’s all pray to the carnivore gods for fine weather. There’s nothing sadder than barbecuing in the rain.

actor with pig puppets The Three Little Pigs at Waterside Arts
Spotlight on

Things to do at February half term

Looking for things to do with the kids in the February half term holidays? Check out our guide.

Take me there

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.

Two Japanese girls lean their heads on their hands looking out of a window, bored.
Cinema in Manchester and the North

This month's film picks include 90s action flicks, contemporary Japanese independent cinema, and a festival curated by the next generation of film programmers.