Manchester Psych Fest 2021

Part of our Music guide

Johnny James, Music Editor
Steve Double

Manchester Psych Fest at The Ritz, Manchester, 4–5 September 2021, from £19.50 - Book now

Manchester Psych Fest, an all-day celebration of psychedelic music and art, returns in September 2021, following the postponement of 2020’s event.

Taking over five stages at YES, Gorilla and The Ritz, the eighth instalment of the festival will be headlined by seminal Krautrock/avant-pop outfit, Stereolab. Formed in 1990 by analogue gear fanatic Tim Gane and French singer Lætitia Sadier, the band made some of the most extra-terrestrial music of that decade. Albums like Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1996) and Dots and Loops (1997) combined droning hypnotic rhythms with singsong melodies and Marxist lyrics – startlingly different to the zeitgeist, but massively influential to the many bands that swiftly followed in their wake. Having recently reissued all seven of their original Elektra studio albums (1993-2004), accompanied by an extensive tour, Stereolab should be on fine form at Psych Fest.

Joining Stereolab near the top of the bill are Girl Band, an Irish quartet whose abrasive noise rock is refracted through techno and glam. Their 2019 album The Talkies was described by the Guardian as “the sound of pure, visceral panic”. More dark thrills come curtesy of Japanese psych/noise rock trio Bo Ningen, plus Scalping, an EBM band who fuse techno and blackened post-punk. Offering up something a little lighter will be leading lights of Mancunian psych-pop, Whyte Horses. Released to rich acclaim earlier this year, their third album, Hard Times, pieces together gloriously individual pop strands – from the sunshine psych of the 60’s right through to 90’s Britpop. They’ll be joined by electropop trio Stealing Sheep, whose most recent album Big Wows is their heaviest, hardest and weirdest yet. Driven by rave percussion, steelpans, dreamy segues and breathy experiments, its bold neon pop songs are guaranteed to get you moving.

There are still plenty more acts to be announced – keep your eyes on the Psych Fest’s website for the latest word!


Manchester Psych Fest at The Ritz, Manchester

4–5 September 2021
From £19.50