Following two sold out festivals in 2022 and 2023, Fair Play is back to take over the Northern Quarter with a day of live music in all its alternative forms.
Championing community, collaboration and equal opportunities, Fair Play is a relative newcomer to the Manchester festival scene, but it’s already made a big impression. It hosts a broad range of talent from across the globe, all acts leaning towards the experimental side of whatever genre(s) they operate within.
This year’s festival, presented in partnership with Albert Hall, Interior and Do You Best, is set to be Fair Play’s biggest iteration yet. A new host venue has been added in the form of Band of the Wall, which joins SOUP, Gullivers, The Castle Hotel, and The Peer Hat in hosting dozens of exciting live acts.
The third and final artist announcement dropped recently, adding rapper jawnino, local punk band Loose Articles, post punks Adwaith and ethereal folk artist KITTY to the line-up, along with a DJ set by the fast-rising Mandy, Indiana. These join second wavers including London-based Babymorocco, who recently took his melange of “filthy house beats + pure, unadulterated donk” on tour with Jockstrap and Dorian Electra, and Group Listening, whose wistful music draws on ambient and new age.
These impressive additions join a bill topped by Canadian electronic music performer, DJ, singer and songwriter Marie Davidson, one half of the excellent Essaie Pas but a great solo artist in her own right. Before her, you can catch gothic-meets-hardcore-meets-hip-hop interdisciplinary artist Denzel Himself, and captivating oddities Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, who reinvent ’70s rock for a ’20s audience.
A little deeper into the line-up, we can’t wait for the atmospheric, jazz-inflected folk of Australia-born MF Tomlinson, a kind of straight-faced Adam Green. We’ll also be catching Ugly, whose infectious melodies, explosive dynamic changes and rich harmonies will be lapped up by fans of Black Country, New Road. We’re also glad to see Finnish-British artist otta (think lo-fi electronic pop in the vein of Sorry) back on the bill after having to cancel due to illness last year.
Another must-watch – the freewheeling, delightfully batshit Cowboyy, who were one of our highlights at Y Not last year. And we’ve been waiting for a while to catch Manchester’s own Crimewave, whose music absorbs vintage 90s sounds bridging hip hop, industrial and dance. Two more highlights, both brother-sister duos: Slap Rash, who’ll be bringing a minimal but pummelling take on post punk, and Comfort, legends on Glasgow’s queer/punk scene.
Each year the festival hosts an independent record label from elsewhere in the country to curate part of the line-up. This year it’s London-based, independent label PRAH Recordings, who are celebrating their 10th Anniversary in 2024. Their artists include the aforementioned MF Tomlinson along with self-titled dysfunctional rapper TaliaBle, experimental electronic duo uh, and Orbury Common, who fuse ritualistic folk and shadowy electronica.
Third release tickets are now on sale via the button below.