Music in Manchester and the North

Johnny James, Managing Editor

Manchester’s music scene is on fine form as artists and audiences reconnect in ecstatic style. Here are our highlights from the city’s chock-a-block gig calendar, as we head towards winter.

BC Camplight’s story is pretty remarkable. In 2011, the singer-songwriter was homeless, self-destructive, and had burnt every bridge in his native Philadelphia. His decision to move 3000 miles away to a city called Manchester changed everything. Here, his bombastic and darkly hilarious music has earned him an ever-growing legion of devotees that see him as an anti-rockstar, an unfiltered talent. “I promise this will not be just another concert”, he says about his show at The Ritz on 8 December.

“Boundary pushing”, “cutting edge”, “future-leaning”… These kinds of phrases crop up in nearly every article you’ll read about Manchester Collective. And for good reason. The centrepiece of their next concert at The White Hotel is a piece by Ben Nobuto, whose music assimilates and responds to the dizzying array of digital media that Generation Z have lived with since birth. Distortion pedals, live electronics, amplified strings… This will be as far from your standard classical concert as you can imagine.

Berlin-based chanteuse Anika – a founding member of cult electro-psych outfit Exploded View – has just dropped her first solo album in over a decade. Changes is a second helping of avant-pop and skittering electronics that speaks decidedly to the present moment, bouncing between fraught intensity and guarded optimism. Catch her live at YES.

Read about all this and more below, and check out our Spotify playlist for artists – it’s filled with artists playing in Manchester in the coming weeks and months.

Here are our picks

More in Music

Rock and Goal
Activity Until 27 February 2022, from £4.50

Rock and Goal Tour

Join Joe Feeley a Mancunian through and through, who guides you into Manchester’s two pillars of cultural excellence with his Rock and Goal tour.

Interruptions: Sounds – Online with Holden Gallery, Manchester
Exhibitions Until 5 August 2022, FREE

Interruptions: Sounds – Online with The Holden Gallery, Manchester

‘Interruptions: Sounds’ is an online collection of new audio works by seven artists, spanning spoken word, ambient sound and musical tracks.

Activity Until 31 December 2021, from £269

DJ Gym at Hatch

Learn some DJ and production skills with DJ Gym Manchester, based in the culturally infused surrounds of Hatch.

The Edge Reopening Season
Comedy Until 18 December 2021, from £6

The Edge Reopening Season

Live theatre returns to The Edge this September and the opening season promises to be one to remember when its doors open for the first time in 18 months, and to a completely refurbished building.

The Lowry Autumn Winter Season 2021
Dance Until 15 January 2022,

The Lowry Winter Season 2021

With opera, dance, contemporary shows, musical theatre and high-flying circus adventures, it’s all happening in Salford this winter.

Music Until 16 December 2021, FREE

Dream FM: What do you dream of? at Manchester Central Library

Experience in-person premiere of ‘What do you dream of?’ – a sound work created with the people of Greater Manchester.

The Stoller Hall
Music Until 11 December 2021,

The Stoller Hall Christmas Season

The Stoller Hall’s Christmas programme is always a highlight of the festive cultural calendar, and this year is no different.

Chloë Hanslip
Classical Music 5 December 2021 3:00 pm, from £5.50

Northern Chamber Orchestra with Chloë Hanslip

British violinist Chloë Hanslip joins the Northern Chamber Orchestra for a concert of Shostakovich, Grieg, Elgar and Finzi.

Music 6 December 2021 1:00 am, from £10.00

Lunchtime piano recital: Ariel Lanyi at The Wesley Centre

International pianist Ariel Lanyi performs a programme of Mozart and Beethoven in a lunchtime concert at The Wesley Centre in Harrogate.

Culture Guides


Christmas programming, Japanese classics and the latest new releases coming to a screen near you this December.


With autumn in full swing, we may be missing the daylight but there are plenty of fantastic exhibitions this month to indulge your senses.

Magical Father Christmas Experience at Wythenshawe Hall


Christmas is just around the corner and we can almost smell those delicious mince pies, as we round up some of the best family activities and fun days out taking place across Manchester and the North throughout the festive season. 

Writer and musician Anthony Joseph. Image: Bunny Bread/@icreatenotdestroy


There are plenty of writerly launches, open mics, literature festivals, pre-Christmas book fairs and festive readings to pop into your diary, some online, some in person – and some both.

Bree Smith (Glinda) in The Wiz at Hope Mill Theatre. Theatre in Manchester.


All-sung comedy thrillers, joyous musicals and our pick of the pantos. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Embankment Kitchen

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

We’re cramming two seasons of festive cheer into one as we present our top Christmas menus and cocktail lists in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

There is plenty to make, see and do in the winter months. This month’s top picks include soul-warming folk clubs, clay workshops and jewellery making.

Things to do right now

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