We’re now deep into summer festival season – so why not check out our dedicated Summer festivals guide, featuring staples like Kendal Calling and Head for the Hills, as well as new leading lights from the festival landscape such as bluedot and The Good Life Experience. Back in the city, however, the RNCM, Stoller Hall, Royal Exchange and Bridgewater Hall continue to host concerts of the highest quality throughout the year.
Here are our picks
Entering its third year in 2018, bluedot is a festival of discovery located in the shadow of the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics; the iconic space observatory and the heart of our quest for knowledge. Featuring the likes of Jean-Michel Jarre, Brian Eno, Pixies and Orbital in its first two years, as well as science experiments, talks and immersive artwork, we’re anticipating big things from bluedot 2018.
Jazz vocalist Norma Winstone visits the RNCM as part of Manchester Jazz Festival this July. To mark the recent release of Descansado – Songs For Films, she will perform personal interpretations of soundtrack music by the likes of Michel Legrand and Ennio Morricone, backed by her trio’s pianist and reed player.
Welcome to a festival like no other, in the most stunning festival setting in the world. The picturesque Italiante village of Portmeirion is Festival No.6’s home, and was the original inspiration behind its desire to create a completely new type of festival. 2018’s line-up already features Franz Ferdinand, Friendly Fires, Everything Everything, Anna Calvi and Django Django – with plenty more still to be announced.
Formerly Ramsbottom Festival, the award-winning Head for the Hills returns for its eighth outing this September, with a musical line-up including The Bluetones, The Futureheads’ Barry Hyde, The Lovely Eggs, Stealing Sheep and plenty more – as well as exciting arts, theatre and activities programmes.
Co-founded by Cerys Matthews, The Good Life Experience returns for its fifth outing, in the shadows of two castles on the Hawarden Estate in Flintshire. The festival features music from the likes of Gwenno, Bill Ryder-Jones and Norman Jay, as well as campfire cooking, spoken word, a 1930s fairground and dozens of activities for all ages.
The Stoller Hall Autumn/Winter season, 6 July 2018–31 December 2019, from £6 - Book now
Manchester’s newest concert hall continues to push boundaries with its upcoming Autumn/Winter season – from a brand new audiovisual work to celebrate 100 years of votes for women to a one-off staging of a dark adaptation of A Christmas Carol, via a visit by the world-renowned Gould Trio and a year-long series celebrating outstanding pianists who studied at Chetham’s.
Swedish singer and guitarist José González partners up with artist collective and string ensemble The String Theory for a 17-date European tour. Catch the pairing live at Albert Hall in September – one of only four UK dates.
BAFTA-winning artist Ólafur Arnalds performs at Albert Hall as part of his first worldwide tour in three years. The Icelandic composer and musician will have a string quartet and percussionist in town, plus his own assortment of pianos and synthesisers, as well as two ‘self-playing’ pianos.
This all-day festival presents some of the best up and coming artists from Leeds and further afield, including Sweden, in the name of a good cause – with half of its proceeds going to Children of Prisoners Europe.
This first solo outing in five years by Manchester-based experimental pop musician Jane Weaver promises a uniquely atmospheric audiovisual take on the music from her two highly acclaimed recent albums, The Silver Globe and Modern Kosmology, in one of the city’s most unusual venues.
Featuring American musicians Phosphorescent and BC Camplight, In Good Company is a new event taking place at Liverpool’s Grand Central Hall. With both acts joined by their bands – and more artists still to be announced – this promises to be an unusual and exciting use of this special venue.
To celebrate Manchester promoter Now Wave’s 10th anniversary, Canadian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Mac DeMarco plays Trafford Park’s huge Victoria Warehouse. The full line-up is to be announced.
Featuring five performances in the atmospheric Mayfield Depot, ‘Special Edition’ boasts Swedish experimental pop artist Fever Ray, Bonobo (and friends), Manchester grime artist Bugzy Malone and Northern Irish electronic duo Bicep. Presented by Manchester International Festival and The Warehouse Project, the series is overseen by BBC 6 Music DJ Mary Anne Hobbs, with lighting design by Stuart Bailes.
For his third and latest album, electronic musician and DJ James Holden has recruited a band – The Animal Spirits – to supplement his custom-made modular synths with brass, woodwind and percussion. Experience the record live and in-the-round at the Royal Exchange theatre.
Featuring classical, sacred and jazz music, as well as poetry, theatre and dance, the RNCM’s Summer Season looks set to both inspire and surprise. Read our picks for the months ahead.
‘Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong’ at HOME brings together three politically charged works by the Turner-Prize nominated artist Phil Collins who returned Engels to Manchester in 2017.
Don’t hang about – book now to adventure, experiment and enjoy the best new outdoor arts and music together for a family festival like no other.
Combining wild showmanship and musical dexterity, Tankus the Henge, incorporate the sounds of rock, funk, blues, ska, roots and gypsy rhythms.
Cuban & Congolese culture meets at a welcoming day of live music and performance for all.
Minute Taker creates haunting piano songs with multilayered ethereal vocals, distorted electronic beats and otherworldly synthscapes.
Read our new guide to the best family festival in the UK. Custard catwalks, midnight feasts, pillow fights and the best new outdoor arts for families.
We can’t wait to dance like wild things to over 20 brilliant bands and artists including Honeyfeet. Not to mention dance workshops with the choreographer from Strictly and 80s Anthems Yoga … bring on the footstomping.
Celebrate the brilliance of 20th century design, fashion, vehicles and entertainment at this award-winning festival set around Morecambe’s famous art deco Midland Hotel.
Despite the traditional summer break of many of our favourite nights, there’s still plenty of poetry and prose to catch, from indie publisher fairs and national magazine launches to a brand-new series of relaxed lectures and an exhibition dedicated to banned books. And if you don’t like sitting still for too long, there’s even a literature trail or two to check out…