Music in Manchester and the North

Chris Horkan, Music Editor

With the region boasting some of the country’s best festivals, such as bluedot, Cloudspotting, Head for the Hills and Manchester International Festival, summer offers the perfect opportunity to catch some of the biggest artists on the planet in our own backyards. Or, if you don’t fancy risking bad weather, why not check out the RNCM’s summer season – or start planning your schedule the inaugural Manchester Folk Festival in October. Read on for these recommendations and more…

Here are our picks

  • 1. RNCM Summer Season 2017

    Joshua Redman: Still Dreaming courtesy of RNCM

    RNCM Summer Season 2017 at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, 18 June–4 August 2017, from £5.00 - Book now

    Running from May through to August, the Royal Northern College of Music’s Summer Season features classical, jazz, Big Band and more – from Bach’s masterful St John Passion and Tchaikovsky’s monumental Sixth through to a celebration of American bassist Jaco Pastorius.

  • 2. MIF17: Festival Square at Albert Square

    Image courtesy of Manchester International Festival

    MIF17: Festival Square at Albert Square, City Centre, 30 June–16 July 2017, free entry - Find Out More

    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.

  • 3. bluedot 2017 at Jodrell Bank

    Lovell telescope in cloudy sky

    bluedot festival 2017 at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, 7–9 July 2017, from £129.00 - Book now

    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.

  • 4. Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds at 50 Summers of Love

    Image courtesy of 50 Summers of Love

    Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds at 50 Summers of Love at Exhibition Centre Liverpool, Waterfront, 28 July 2017, from £55.00 - Book now

    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.

  • 5. Cloudspotting Festival 2017 at Gisburn Forest

    Image courtesy of Cloudspotting

    Cloudspotting Festival at Gisburn Forest, 28–31 July 2017, from £30.00 - Book now

    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.

  • 6. Manchester Psych Fest 2017


    Manchester Psych Fest at Band on the Wall, Manchester, 2–3 September 2017, from £12.50 - Book now

    Taking over three venues simultaneously for the first time, Manchester Psych Fest returns to the Northern Quarter with the likes of Teleman, Ryley Walker, Flamingods, Bo Ningen, Menace Beach and MOTHER – plus DJs, art installations and trippy visuals. The festival invites you to ‘Come get weird!’

  • 7. Ramsbottom Festival 2017: Head for the Hills

    Head for the Hills festival - Image by Andrew Allcock

    Ramsbottom Festival 2017: Head for the Hills at Ramsbottom Cricket Club, Manchester, 15–17 September 2017, from £8.00 - Book now

    Formerly Ramsbottom Festival, the award-winning Head for the Hills is renowned for its magnificent music line-up, which balances well-known headliners like Beth Orton and Maxïmo Park alongside more intimate performances from emerging and established artists.

  • 8. 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.

  • 9. 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

  • 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.

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