As we hurtle towards festival season, the likes of bluedot, Cloudspotting, Liverpool Sound City and Manchester International Festival draw closer, offering the chance to see some of the biggest artists on the planet in our own backyards. If you prefer your music more intimate, why not find out about this year’s Manchester After Hours programme – or for something new-but-old, check out the inaugural Manchester Folk Festival in October. Read on for these recommendations and more…
Here are our picks
Sheffield’s legendary synthpop group The Human League celebrate their 40th year by headlining the opening night of Liverpool Sound City 2017 – which is itself marking its 10th outing. With seminal electronic band Art of Noise and former Factory Records group A Certain Ratio joining them, Clarence Dock hosts this extra special opening show.
Brazilian musician Seu Jorge marks the passing of David Bowie with this fitting tribute. The show will restage some of the most memorable scenes from Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, with Jorge performing acoustic versions of Bowie hits in his native Portuguese.
The BBC Philharmonic brings its Bridgewater Hall season to a close with Concert Fantastique – featuring brilliant young cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, who joins the orchestra for Dutilleux’s atmospheric Tout un monde lointain… (A Whole Distant World…). Berlioz’s psychedelic Symphonie fantastique and Arvo Pärt’s elegy to mark the death of Benjamin Britten complete the programme.
New event series Transformer pays homage to Lou Reed’s visionary approach to rock music – with the inaugural event featuring Swans, The Fall, Royal Trux, This Is Not This Heat and Suuns across two stages at Victoria Warehouse.
Part of the summer’s celebrations to mark 50 years since the Beatles released Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, this mass-participation, free-entry event at Aintree features a rare performance of John Cage’s own 1967-penned masterpiece, MUSICIRCUS!, written ‘for any number of performers willing to perform in the same place at the same time’.
Manchester International Festival welcomes a diverse and exciting range of musicians – from Liverpool electro trio Stealing Sheep to Parisian pianist Christophe Chassol and New York City avant-garde composer William Basinski – to its home on Albert Square. With additional free live sets in the square from the likes of male voice choir The Sunday Boys, plus nightly DJ sets in the Pavilion by Tim Burgess, Greg Thorpe and more, the Festival Square has never looked so appealing.
Bluedot Festival returns to Cheshire’s Jodrell Bank in July 2017. With Alt-J, Orbital and Pixies announced as headliners, joined on the bill by Soulwax, Warpaint, Ezra Furman and Factory Floor, expect this year’s festival to be an extremely hot ticket.
To mark 50 years since the Summer of Love, Liverpool welcomes the producer of one of the period’s most influential albums, Pet Sounds. Brian Wilson performs the psychedelic pop masterpiece, as well as rare cuts and other Beach Boys hits, for one of the very last times.
Now in its seventh year, Cloudspotting Music and Arts Festival is a long summer weekend retreat for a few hundred people, organised by a bunch of friends and festival enthusiasts. This year’s event features headliners Moulettes, Baloji and Jesca Hoop, as well as a host of family theatre, interactive art, music workshops and plenty more besides.
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