Sounds From The Other City

Johnny James, Managing Editor
A crowd of people watching Honeyglaze at Sounds From The Other City 2023 in St Philips Church
SFTOC23 Honeyglaze at St Philips Church by Breige Cobane.

Sounds From The Other City at Maxwell Hall, University of Salford, St. Philip's Church Salford, Chapel Street 5 May 2024 Tickets from £40 — Book now

*Tickets available on the door.

One of the country’s foremost festivals showcasing new and emerging talent, Sounds From The Other City is back this Early May Bank Holiday, hosting a top line-up of acts in venues and community spaces around the Chapel Street and Crescent areas of Salford.

Since its first outing in 2005, SFTOC has become a firm underground favourite, offering a DIY antidote to the bloated, corporate festivals whose copy-and-paste line-ups and VIP packages are currently being announced. None of that. SFTOC is a different beast. Made for music lovers by music lovers, the festival champions the region’s independent scene, and places well-earned trust in its most exciting exponents – from promoters to record labels, club nights to magazines – to co-curate the line-up, with total free rein on what they programme. “If you like it, book it!”.

Crowd at SFTOC 23 outside at The Old Pint Pot next to a big blossom tree.
SFTOC2023 The Old Pint Pot by Jess Robinson.

Including Now Wave, Hey! Manchester, The Beauty Witch, Strange Days and Grey Lantern, the region’s best promotors are all at it this year, alongside grassroots festivals like Green Island, broadcasters such as Reform Radio and artists including The Untold Orchestra. But what have they booked?

Topping the bill at the University of Salford’s historic Maxwell Hall is Welsh icon Gruff Rhys, whose new album’s diatribes against the government, the monarchy and property developers find a fitting home at SFTOC. Across the lawn, alt-jazz rising star Muva of Earth and underground hip hop gem Kinkai will grace the auditorium stage of Peel Hall, while just next door at the Salford Museum & Art Gallery, you’ll find Mercury Prize nominee C Duncan and Australian Music Prize nominee Belle Chen.

Over at the beautiful St Philip’s Church – a longstanding SFTOC favourite  – you can watch the melancholic electro post-punk trio Nightbus, indie-sleaze scenester Viji, and multi-instrumentalist Halo Maud, fresh from her guest vocal for The Chemical Brothers and with a brand new album in tow.

So there are a fair few names on the line-up you’ll probably recognise, but part of the fun of SFTOC is discovering acts who are flying under the radar – but who won’t be for long. Mercury Prize winner Sampha gave an early-days performance at SFTOC before ascending to the point that he can now sell out multiple dates at Aviva Studios. Who’s to say there aren’t acts with similarly explosive futures playing in venues like The Old Pint Pot or The Working Class Movement Library in 2024?

Hotly tipped artists this year include unabashed gallic synthpop duo Free Love; abrasive electronic seafarers and Sleaford Mod tour support Jellyskin; free-spirited funk multi-instrumentalist ISHA; lofi showgaze solo act TTSSFU; the hi-NRG gay disco and introspective bedroom pop of Pink Pound; sound artist and Oram award winner Kelly Jayne Jones; and the spiritual afrobeat of Ezra Collective member Ife Ogunjobi. Not to mention a smattering of stalwarts of the underground, including soundsystem legend and John Peel favourite Mikey D.O.N.

A crowd of people watching Jessica Winter at Sounds From The Other City 2023 in Five Four Studios.
SFTOC23 Jessica Winter at fivefourstudios by Breige Cobane.

The day will wrap up with a joyous afterparty at Maxwell Hall, featuring live sets from the iconic A Guy Called Gerald, celebrated DnB vocalist and DJ Jenna G and Bermudian producer and multi-percussionist Obeka, alongside dancers from Club Clam and Ghetto Fabulous and DJ sets from Lil Minx and Fastlove b2b Aiden Francis.

Leaving their mark on the look and feel of the day across the site, the Art Directors of SFTOC 2024 are The Fvck Pigs. The pink-clad Pigerati dance troupe are recognised for previous collaborations with the likes of Peaches and have quickly become a dancefloor favourite, performing at Homobloc, Boomtown and many more.

5 Fvck Pigs in pink posing in front of pink portaloos.
The Fvck Pigs, image courtesy of From The Other.

As well as spreading their muck with interactive elements popping up all over Soundstown, the Pigs will be presenting the first ever edition of Pork Idol: a pageant-style competition which will invite Salford’s next top pig to compete for the crown before joining the Pigs in storming the stage at the official SFTOC24 afterparty.

For more information and to see the stage splits, head over to the festival’s website via the ‘Book now’ button below.

Sounds From The Other City at Maxwell Hall, University of Salford, St. Philip's Church Salford, Chapel Street 5 May 2024 Tickets from £40 Book now

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