Music in Manchester and the North

Johnny James, Music Editor

The sun’s out, beer gardens are open, and live music is very nearly a thing again. 2021, you old rascal, you’ve only gone and done it.

As you’ve now come to understand, we are extremely excited about the return of all things holy (see above). But in the flurry of event announcements, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. So we’ve done it for you.

Below, we write about the tastiest gigs coming up in Manchester, including Secret Night Gang at The Blues Kitchen, Folly Group at YES, The Untold Orchestra at Escape to Freight Island and Jenna G & Werkha and Meat Free at Escape to Freight Island.

We also get that some people don’t feel ready to head out just yet, and so we also write about the best gigs that you can stream from your living room (with a can of warm Carlsberg in hand, perhaps, just for that authentic gig experience?).

New streams this month include Scruff of the Neck TV: Egyptian Blue and Joey Maxwell, The Untold Orchestra: Four Women, Band on the Wall: Live-ish from fivefourstudios and Björk Orkestral – Live From Reykjavík, with plenty more to explore below.

We’ve also updated our Lockdown Listens playlist with our favourite releases from 2021 so far:


Here are our picks

More in Music

Classical Music Until 27 May 2021, FREE

Psappha 2020/21 Concert Season

Psappha’s 2020–21 season explores the sharpest and smartest sounds in contemporary classical music, presented in concert and streamed online for free.

Babies listening to a man play the guitar as part of My First Protest Song
Activity Until 5 June 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.

Music Until 11 May 2021, from £5

The Hallé – Movie Classics

Presented by the BBC’s Petroc Trelawny and conducted by Stephen Bell, the Hallé celebrates classical music on the silver screen.

Music Until 18 June 2021, from £5

The Hallé – Sibelius’s Third Symphony

The Hallé are joined by virtuoso pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason for Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, plus Sibelius’s magnificent Third Symphony.

Music Until 25 June 2021, from £5

The Hallé – Paul Lewis performs Mozart

The Hallé will be joined by Paul Lewis, one of the country’s most distinguished artists, for a dazzling programme in which he directs from the piano.

Music Until 1 July 2021, from £5

The Hallé – Shostakovich’s Dazzling First

The Hallé performs a varied programme of Grazyna Bacewicz, Aaron Copland and Dmitri Shostakovich under the baton of new Assistant Conductor, Delyana Lazarova.

Music Until 15 July 2021, from £5

The Hallé – Trail-blazing Hallé

The Hallé is joined by Stephen Hough for Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, before the world premiere of Huw Watkins’ Second Symphony.

Mindscapes: Soundpaths
Music Until 16 May 2021, FREE

MINDSCAPES: Soundpaths – Yonatan Collier with Brighter Sound

Experience Moston and Harpurhey in a brand-new way through an app on your phone.

Music Until 29 July 2021, from £5

The Hallé – Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale

Sir Mark Elder conducts a staged performance of Stravinsky’s 1918 masterpiece The Soldier’s Tale, directed by Olivier Award winner Annabel Arden.

Culture Guides

Cinema in Manchester and the North

We look at online festivals, new streaming releases and some newly announced outdoor cinema screenings.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North


A floating festival, an LSD-inspired journey across space and time, an exhibition curated by GCHQ – there’s plenty to look forward to this month.

Family Things to do in Manchester


Need some inspiration for online activities and creative family fun? Look no further than our top picks online for families across Manchester and the North.

Writer and translator Jhumpa Lahiri.


As the land of live literature tentatively opens the door a crack, we have some talks and walks IRL to flag up and a whole host of online dates for your diary this May, a jam-packed month of festival readings, digital book launches and spoken word showcases…

Theatre in Manchester and the North


You’ll find all the best live-streamed shows, online festivals and live outdoor performance in our theatre guide this month.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Dapur Malaysia

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

It’s the March edition of the Food and Drink Guide to Manchester and the North and things are slowly starting to feel more promising. Spring is here, the weather is mostly warming up and in just a few weeks we’ll be allowed to eat and drink outside at venues with outside space.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Online events

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

Tours and Activities

The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter and the flowers of spring have truly sprung. We’re welcoming in the new season with a guide of Tours and Activities that will inspire you to make, learn and move.