Music in Manchester and the North

Chris Horkan, Music Editor

As weekends spent roaming around sunny festival fields draw to an end – with the odd exception like Head for the Hills and Festival No. 6 – the cream of live music returns to the city’s concert halls, bars, cafes and venues. New this year is Manchester Folk Festival, which pops up at HOME, The Ritz and more in October – plus there’s a return for action-packed one-day festival Transformer. Or, if you’re still keen to spend time more rural surrounds, check out this year’s New Mills Festival for something different. Read on for these recommendations and more…

Here are our picks

  • 1. New Mills Festival 2017

    New Mills Festival

    New Mills Festival at New Mills Art Theatre, 8–24 September 2017, free entry - Visit now

    Featuring music, poetry, film, talks, walks, exhibitions and more, New Mills Festival provides something for everyone in the heart of the Peak District. Highlights this year include concerts by Dutch Uncles and Holy Moly & The Crackers, which book-end this 16-day-long celebration.

  • 2. Manchester Camerata 2017/18 Season

    Manchester Camerata 2017/18 Season at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 9 September 2017–31 May 2018, from £15.00 - Book now

    Manchester Camerata – ‘probably Britain’s most adventurous orchestra’ – returns for a new season, featuring exciting programming in a diverse range of venues. From its intimate UpClose series, which visits HOME and Manchester Cathedral this autumn, via its now-traditional Festive Happening at Albert Hall, through to concerts at the Stoller Hall and RNCM in the new year, the Camerata’s 2017/18 season is equal parts ambitious and adventurous.

  • 3. James Ferraro and Nkisi & Guests at Peak Cavern, Castleton

    Creative Commons

    James Ferraro and Nkisi (plus guests), 22 September 2017, from £15 - Book now

    Part of AND Festival, which this year takes place in and around Castleton in the Peak District, this event will be a chance to preview James Ferraro’s new ‘opera’, The Deluge, which takes its inspiration from Artificial Intelligence. It is paired in this subterranean venue with Nkisi’s The Dark Orchestra, an immersive durational performance that invites the audience into an altered dream state.

  • 4. Kiran Leonard at Band on the Wall

    Kiran Leonard by Ida Olsson

    Kiran Leonard at Band on the Wall, Manchester, 23 September 2017, from £12.50 - Book now

    Celebrating the release of his new LP Derevaun Seraun, 21-year-old Oldham-raised musician Kiran Leonard is joined at Band on the Wall by a string trio, for what promises to be a thoughtful and intricate performance.

  • 5. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at Manchester Arena

    Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

    Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at Manchester Arena, Manchester, 25 September 2017, from £45.00 - Book now

    One of the most critically acclaimed acts in the world, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds stop off at Manchester Arena as part of an eight-week-long European tour. They are visiting for the first time in three years to promote 16th studio album, Skeleton Tree, which has been their highest-charting record to date.

  • 6. BBC Philharmonic 2017/18 Concert Season

    BBC Philharmonic

    BBC Philharmonic 2017/18 Concert Season at The Bridgewater Hall, City Centre, 24 September 2017–9 June 2018 - Visit now

    Millions of listeners enjoy BBC Philharmonic concerts on Radio 3, recorded or broadcast live from the outstanding acoustic of The Bridgewater Hall, making this orchestra one of the most widely heard in the country.

  • 7. RNCM Autumn Season

    Portico Quartet courtesy of RNCM

    at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, 4 October–11 December 2017, free entry - Visit now

    Where else, over two months, offers highlights such as legendary German chanteuse, post-apocalyptic drumming, a symphony orchestra, cutting-edge jazz, a live film soundtrack and a festive opera production? Add to this the New Music North West Festival, debuting over 20 works in just six days, and the RNCM’s Autumn Season has something to suit all musical tastes.

  • 8. Manchester Folk Festival 2017 at HOME

    The Young ‘Uns, courtesy of Manchester Folk Festival

    Manchester Folk Festival 2017 at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 19–21 October 2017, from £16.00 - Book now

    Debuting this October, Manchester Folk Festival will highlight the best of English folk and acoustic roots music – with the initial artists involved including the likes of The Young ‘Uns, Tom Robinson, False Lights and Afro Celt Sound System. With 10 more concerts to be announced, watch this space

  • 9. The Hallé: Beyond the Score at The Bridgewater Hall

    Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé

    The Hallé: Beyond the Score at The Bridgewater Hall, City Centre, 28 October 2017, from £13.50 - Book now

    This event is part-dramatisation, part-orchestra performance, as Sir Mark Elder and co delve into the story behind Shostakovich’s famous Fourth Symphony. The first half is made up of multimedia performance – including diaries, letters, films – that helps the audience revisit the setting, in 1930s Russia, when Shostakovich fell from grace because of the perceived anti-Soviet influence of his work. It took a further 25 years before his Fourth Symphony finally saw the light of day – with Beyond the Score’s second half featuring the Hallé’s own recital.

  • 10. Transformer 2 at Victoria Warehouse

    Godspeed You! Black Emperor courtesy of Transfomer

    Transformer 2 at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 28–29 October 2017, from £20.00 - Book now

    New concert series Transformer returns to Victoria Warehouse for its second one-day festival outing – featuring genre-defying acts including Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Liars, Ben Frost and Omar Souleyman across two stages, plus cinema, digital funfair, record stalls and food trucks.

  • 11. The People’s Concert at Albert Hall

    Dutch Uncles

    The People’s Concert at Albert Hall, City Centre, 11 November 2017, from £20.00 - Book now

    Manchester’s Albert Hall celebrates 100 years as a music venue with a ‘People’s Concert’, taking its name from an event exactly a century ago. In 2017, this concert will feature a line-up of crowd-pleasing bands including British Sea Power, Dutch Uncles, Field Music and Boxed In.

  • 12. Thundercat at Albert Hall


    Thundercat at Albert Hall, City Centre, 15 November 2017, from £22.50 - Book now

    Grammy Award-winning Los Angeles musician Thundercat returns to Manchester to perform music from his acclaimed album Drunk, which features contributions from the likes of Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus. Expect an evening of cosmic jazz reverence in the former Wesleyan chapel.

  • 13. Jesca Hoop at The Stoller Hall

    Jesca Hoop

    Jesca Hoop at The Stoller Hall, 28 November 2017, from £15.00 - Book now

    Following last year’s collaborative record with Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam, Jesca Hoop has signed to Sub Pop Records to release her latest solo album, Memories Are Now. Chetham’s Stoller Hall should provide an ideal space to experience her breath-taking, intimate country-folk music.

  • 14. Jane Weaver at The Ritz

    Jane Weaver

    Jane Weaver at The Ritz, Manchester, 30 November 2017, from £13.50 - Book now

    Psychedelic singer-songwriter and guitarist Jane Weaver plays a hometown show in support of recent album, Modern Kosmology. With a bill that also features She Drew The Gun and Pictish Trail performing live, plus DJs, it promises to be an action-packed evening at The Ritz.

  • 15. Manchester Collective: The End of Time at the Stoller Hall

    Manchester Collective: The End of Time at The Stoller Hall, 2 December 2017, from £12.00 - Book now

    Manchester Collective’s latest outing focuses on Messiaen’s harrowing masterpiece, Quartet for the End of Time, which was composed during the French composers time in a Nazi POW camp. Hear it performed, alongside works by Ravel and Stravinsky, in the Stoller Hall – the city’s brand new, high-spec concert hall.

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