Undressed Festival in Ancoats: Live music uncovered

Polly Checkland Harding

Music promoter Hey! Manchester has a new summer festival coming up in August – with a stellar line-up in two unusual venues, it’s one not to miss.

Undressed Festival may sound saucy, but this two-day, two-stage folk festival in Manchester’s Ancoats is more about stripped back music than actual nakedness. Which might feel like a shame, if it weren’t for the line-up. Organiser Hey! Manchester has unwavering taste when it comes to organising and choosing its top gigs, and this new weekend event in August is no exception. Headlining on Saturday is the excellent Travelling Band, whose Sounds From the Other Cityouting earlier this year involved a hugely enjoyable rendition of Neil Young’s On the Beach, and who will be bolstered by string and brass players for Undressed. They are joined by the likes of Liz Green, Elle Mary, Bird to Beast and Elizabeth Preston on the same day.

This two-day folk festival is more about stripped back music than actual nakedness

Sunday sees Manchester-based Jesca Hoop taking the top spot with her mysterious, lyrical song writing. Hoop has toured with Elbow’s Guy Garvey, and her most recent album, Undress – featuring songs at their most raw and intimate – was part of the inspiration behind this festival. We Are Willow, Cavan Moran and I Am Your Autopilot also play on Sunday.

Perhaps the best thing about Undressed Festival – apart from the reasonable ticket prices – is that it’s been coordinated so that you can hop between two venues (which are within a minute of each other) and catch every set. It’s also a first look at two Ancoats churches, one of which, until recently, was off limits: it’s the first music event to be staged at St Michael’s on George Leigh Street since its re-opening. The second venue, the Hallé St Peter’s, was built in 1859 and is a stunning setting for live music. Both will be stocked with First Chop Brewing Arms ales, which we have fuzzy memories of being very good indeed. Folk music and great ale in two stunning Ancoats venues – what’s not to like?

Due to slow ticket sales, Hey! Manchester have been forced to announce the cancellation of this weekend’s Undressed event in Ancoats. Ticket refunds are available from the point of purchase. Find out more here.

Culture Guides


We look at the ingenious, atmospheric outdoor screenings popping up across the North this summer.


The spring season in museums and galleries continues, with an abundance of new exhibitions all over the North.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House


The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Anita Sethi


Festival fever has live literature land gripped, and libraries get their very own celebration in Greater Manchester, so you have your pick of performances from a star-studded cast this month…


Some excellent bands descend on Manchester this month, with the old and new guard of post punk in particularly strong supply.

Theatre in Manchester


Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.

Classical Music

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Plan your May Bank Holidays with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

New in our Tours and Activities section – drink and draw sessions, political reading groups and tours of some of Manchester’s most unique museums.