Lancaster Music Festival

Creative Tourist
The trans-European Blue Giant Orkestar. Photo by Allan Ferguson.

Lancaster Music Festival at Lancaster Castle, Lancaster 12 — 15 October 2023 Entrance is free — Visit now

One of the North’s standout urban festivals, Lancaster Music Festival hosts hundreds of performances in 60 venues around the historic city of Lancaster. Popping up everywhere from shops to churches, canal boats to public squares, this festival brings together vibrant and eclectic sounds, ensuring there is something for every taste.

Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign and support from the Arts Council and Lancaster BID, more people than ever have opportunities to participate in what has become one of the country’s largest city and grassroots music festivals from 12-15 October.

Audience at the Castle at LMF 2023, image by Nettlespie.

The 13th instalment Lancaster Music Festival follows on from last year’s success, when the festival’s 525(!) performances brought £2.3 million to the local economy. Performances popped up in all kinds of places, and spanned the genre spectrum, including some classical highlights. Violinist Laure Chan, for example, performed at various venues, busk stops and secret gigs last year, after which she said: “I love that the festival takes music to the public, especially classical music which sometimes can be a bit stuffy. London could learn a lot from Lancaster.”

Siqian Li at LMF 2023. She will attempt to play every acoustic piano in the city centre this year. Image by Nettlespie Photography.

New attractions for 2023 include performances on unusual instruments in Market Square and an attempt by concert pianist, Siqian Li, to play every acoustic piano in the city centre. There’ll be more than 60 festival venues across Lancaster, from shops to churches and a canal boat to pubs and three public squares, all hosting acts playing a wide range of music genres. Highlights include the trans-European Blue Giant Orkestar, Eljuri (one of the top Latina electric guitar players in the world) and alternative pop band Hi Sienna.

There’s also a lot programmed for children and young people. Pupils at Willow Lane Primary School will join those at Dallas Road Primary School in benefitting from festival workshops with musicians ranging from Lancaster rockers, Massive Wagons to Chinese pipa player, Cheng Yu. Lancaster-based band LOWES will mentor four young acts at Lancaster Music Festival Academy, and there’ll even be a chance for the public to conduct the city’s Haffner Orchestra.

Audience at the Castle at LMF 2023, image by Nettlespie.

In an effort to increase female representation at the event – which rose to 53% on the 12 festival stages last year – More Music will also run Girls Can workshops in primary schools, complementing an all-female stage at The Storey. Acts playing on that stage include Manchester’s own Loose Articles, who specialist in discordant, hypnotic repetition, tales of boozy nights out, and radical politics.

Manchester punk band, Loose Articles. Imager courtesy of Lancaster Music Festival.

Around 97% of festival events are free or pay as you feel. For details about the line-up, head to Lancaster Music Festival’s website via the ‘Visit Now’ button above.

Lancaster Music Festival at Lancaster Castle, Lancaster 12 — 15 October 2023 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Lancaster Music Festival

The Music Room from Atkinsons Coffee Roasters Lancaster
Café or Coffee Shop
The Music Room

The Music Room from Atkinsons Coffee Roasters is a cafe situated on a Grade II listed Georgian pavilion with sun trap outside seating.

Lancaster Library

Sitting in the heart of Lancaster is the Lancaster Library. When not serving its usual function, this beautiful space is occasionally transformed into an unlikely gig venue.

Castle View contemporary cottage, Lancaster
Castle View

Right in the heart of Lancaster, this contemporary cottage with one bedroom and a double sofa bed, a huge copper bath and a wood burner is situated in a peaceful walled oasis.

Event venue
The Storey Creative Industries Centre

Multi-purpose venue comprising an auditorium and lecture theatre, gallery space, café bar, Visitor Information Centre, hireable meeting rooms and conference/events spaces and private offices.

An interior shot of the arches within Lancaster Priory
Lancaster Priory

Lancaster Priory Church is a vibrant, open and inclusive church at the heart of Lancaster. Music, education and community are at the heart of their mission.

Judge’s Lodgings, Lancaster, Lancashire
Judges’ Lodgings

The Judges’ Lodgings is the oldest town house in Lancaster, whose exhibitions and events bring the stories of the city to life.

Filbert's Baker artisan bread in Lancaster
Filbert’s Bakery

Filbert’s bakery is a family owned bakery that provides delicious fresh bread every morning along with breakfast goods, cakes and savouries.

Bar or Pub
The Stonewell Tap

The Stonewell Tap is a lively craft beer bar on Church Street, Lancaster, which boasts 16 craft beer taps and 4 real hand-pulled ale pumps.

The Herbarium

This plant-based cafe and bar serves delicious vegan breakfasts and coffees in the day, before transforming into a fantastic dinner venue in ‘Herb after Dark’.

The Grand Theatre in Lancaster
The Grand Theatre, Lancaster

First opened in 1782, the theatre is now host to amateur drama, music and dance and professional touring companies. Tours of the historic building are available

Bar or Pub
Aquila Pizza

You can order online or over the phone to get your pizza fix. With regular deals on multiple pizzas and breads available for delivery and collection across Lancaster and Morecambe mid-week and weekends then keep your eyes on Aquila’s website and social channels.

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