Music in Manchester and the North

Johnny James, Music Editor

Outdoor shows, candle-lit jazz gigs, boozy all-dayers. Manchester and the North’s live music scene is making up for lost time.

Headlined by Gruff Rhys, Leeds all-dayer This Must Be The Place features some of our favourite artists of the moment, from Jerskin Fendrix to Deathcrash. Over in Manchester, we look forward to catching one of Squid’s biggest ever shows at the majestic Albert Hall. It’ll see the Brighton band celebrate their Top 5 album Bright Green Field, which picks the bones of any number of genres, fusing mismatching limbs into an ungodly hybrid beast.

At Castlefield Bowl, Mike Skinner and the Streets, true originators in British rap music, will be igniting old flames and fanning new ones as part of the Sounds of the City concert series. At The Blues Kitchen, Manchester’s most exciting new venue, German producer Henrik Schwarz will perform with Dutch string ensemble Alma Quartet, uniting the worlds of classical and electronic music. And at Heaton Park, New Order will perform their first hometown show in four years, supported by Hot Chip and Working Men’s Club.

There’s plenty more to dig into below, including Another Sky’s long-awaited Star & Garter show, Jungle at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester Psych Fest and NQ Jazz Live.

If you feel like checking out what new music is exciting us at the moment, our Spotify playlist is below. We update it regularly, so give it a follow for the latest re-up.

Here are our picks

More in Music

Babies listening to a man play the guitar as part of My First Protest Song
Activity Until 7 August 2021, FREE

My First Protest Song with the People’s History Museum

My First Protest Song goes online. Round up the family and join Matt Hill for this live-streamed event full of toe-tapping tunes.

Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum
Exhibitions Until 3 January 2022, from £6

Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum

Use Hearing Protection tells the story of Factory Records’ formative years from 1978-1982, when the label made waves with its innovative work in music, technology and design.

Leeds Waterfront Festival by Cloe Keefe
Festivals Until 12 September 2021,

Leeds Waterfront Festival 2021

Leeds Waterfront Festival brings the waterways of the city to life with an eclectic mix of music, performance and art for all the family.

The Cribs
Music 3 September 2021 4:00 pm, from £37.50

The Cribs / Everything Everything

Indie heroes The Cribs will be joined by Everything Everything, Black Honey, The Orielles and The Lounge Society at Halifax’s Piece Hall.

Vintage by the Sea
Families 4–5 September 2021, FREE

Vintage by the Sea in Morecambe: CANCELLED

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.

Festivals 10–11 September 2021, from £16.75

Positive Vibration, Festival of Reggae

Positive Vibration 2021 will feature performances from a stellar line-up of the world’s most important and vital reggae artists including General Levy, Hollie Cook, Mad Professor, Gentleman’s Dub Club, The Nextmen, Tippa Irie, The Neville Staple Band, Don Letts, General Roots, Levi Tafari and many more.

Music 17 September 2021 7:00 pm, from £52.95

The Sound of Joy Division Orchestrated

Peter Hook & Manchester Camerata perform ‘The Sound Of Joy Division Orchestrated’ this September at the O2 Apollo Manchester.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Music 17 September 2021 7:00 pm, from £58

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

In their first-ever tour as a duo, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis play The Bridgewater Hall, following the release of their acclaimed album Carnage.

Long Division Festival
Music 25 September 2021 12:00 pm,

Long Division Festival

Founded in 2011, Long Division Festival is an award-winning, metropolitan music festival that has played host to British Sea Power, The Fall and We Are Scientists.

Culture Guides

Cinema in Manchester and the North

Hong Kong classics, a John Carpenter marathon and an obscene midnight movie masterpiece all feature in this month’s cinema guide.

Rachel Kneebone: 399 Days at Yorkshire Sculpture Park


Tales of antiquity, cloud gazing, and a return to the forest all feature among this month’s hand-picked selection of exhibition highlights.

Grimm Tales: Witches, Wolves, Fairies and Frogs at Williamson Park


With summer in full bloom in Costa del Manchester and the North, we round up our top alfresco activities to do with the family, plus exciting indoor offerings.

Writer Louise Finnigan.


With August, the literature scene is promising some hot events, both online and in real life: with book launches, short story showcases, regular poetry chats, live readings and even an exhibition of word art…

Theatre in Manchester


As some of our favourite theatre teams head back into the rehearsal room, we take a look ahead to some of the performances we’re most looking forward to, as well as the outdoor theatre happening now.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Black Friar

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

A guide to Food and Drink in Manchester and the North, including plenty of new bars and restaurants and exciting new menus from old favourites.

Online events

Discover the best things to do online from the organisations we love in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

Summer is here and we’re so excited to be out in the world touring, making, playing and doing all the things Manchester and the North has to offer.