Five of the best… summer festivals

Kate Feld

Yes, the Manchester International Festival is fantastic, isn’t it? But it’s not the only game in town. There are a number of other festivals happening in Manchester this summer that are definitely worth checking out. Here are five Kate Feld reckons you shouldn’t miss.

1. Not Part Of – This year’s installment of the proudly small-time, grassroots MIF fringe festival spans more than 150 events with an emphasis on local talent. They’re a real pick’ n mix: art exhibitions, Oscar Wilde dinner theatre, tap dancing, sock puppets, and street opera and more. On now until July 16, venues across Manchester.

2. Ben & Jerry’s Sundae in the Park – Londoners have been enjoying this tasty music festival for seven years and this summer it’s coming north. It’s two days of music from the likes of Maximo Park, Ocean Colour Scene, Gary Numan and Ash, family activities and free ice cream (how bad could that be?) 23-24 July, Heaton Park, £17, kids under 5 free.

3. Manchester Jazz Festival – New for 2011, the city’s much-loved jazz fest will run two performance spaces in a pavilion on Albert Square as well as the usual nightclub and street performances from the likes of Norma Winstone, Glazz (pictured) Cinematic Orchestra’s Stuart McCallum, and Richard Iles. July 22-30, venues across Manchester.

4. 24-7 Theatre Festival – The eighth annual installment of this emerging theatre festival features 13 shiny new plays; it’s always good value and a great place to get a first look at writers who will be making a stir in coming years.  21-24 July, venues across Manchester.

5. Ramsbottom Festival – This new boutique festival in the city’s green Pennine borderlands is curated by the excellent Bury Met. It’s a relaxed indy-folky affair featuring Badly Drawn Boy, Guillemots, The Waterboys, and Capercaille. Arrive in style on a steam train courtesy of the East Lancs Railway. 16-18 September, Ramsbottom Cricket Club. Day tickets £15-35, weekend £70, kids 5 and under free.


Images: Glazz courtesy Manchester Jazz Festival, Guillemots, courtesy Ben & Jerry’s Sundae in the Park



Culture Guides


Northern flicks, sci-fi masterpieces and some brand new film festivals feature in this month’s cinema preview.


Spring weather might be dragging its feet a little, but the world of exhibitions isn’t slowing down with new shows popping up everywhere to greet the new season.

The Giant Easter Egg Hunt at RHS Garden Bridgewater


With spring’s indecisive weather in mind, we’ve pulled together a whole load of fun indoor and outdoor family events and activities taking place in Manchester and the North.

Poet Helen Mort.


Spring is making an entrance in live literature land with some extra special festival events, writing walks, online launches and in real life readings from local writers as well as international talent.


From Father John Misty to The Flaming Lips, The Waeve to Big Thief, here are the gigs on our radar for early spring.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


You’ll find everything from work-in-progress scratch nights to multi-award winning musicals in this month’s theatre guide.

Classical Music

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

Food and Drink

Get ready for spring and summer with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

From indie markets to bit-sized meditation, spoon carving workshops to gallery tours, here are the headlines in the world of tours and activities.