Music in Manchester and the North

Johnny James, Managing Editor

What’s that orange thing in the sky?

For the first time in weeks, the wind and rain have subsided, prompting us to gaze longingly towards what the sunnier months are synonymous with in these parts: music festivals. From giant, inhibition-loosening weekends in farmers’ fields to inner-city parties that showcase the best of local, underground scenes, we do festivals well up north.

First on the agenda, it’s the jewel in the crown of Salford’s arts and cultural scene, Sounds From The Other City, which is back with a bang at the top of May. Later in the month, Manchester Jazz Festival will see hundreds of northern, national and international jazz musicians descend on venues across Manchester for 10 whole days, commencing with a free Opening Weekender.

In June it’s the first in a three part series of all-dayers from Green Island Festival, which is hosting underground, underrepresented, and emerging artists from across the UK and beyond in Hulme Garden Centre and NIAMOS. And then there’s the bigger-than-ever Psych Fest, whose third wave of artists – including BC Camplight and Altin Gün – has just been announced.

We also have a few new standalone gigs for you. Exploring heritage, womanhood and grief through a slow-building hurricane of electronic pop, we can’t wait to catch Angélica Garcia in the intimate confines of The Castle. And over at Band on the Wall, Mercurial NYC avant-rock vets Blonde Redhead will perform tracks from their three-decade-long career including their warmest, most welcoming record yet: 2023’s Sit Down for Dinner.

Want something totally different? Try Death Trap, a dance-theatre show encompassing live renditions of Nina Simone classics courtesy of Rambert – a trailblazer among the UK’s contemporary dance scene despite being its oldest exponent.

Read about all this and a whole lot more below.

Our top picks

Rambert – Death Trap at The Lowry

Rambert - Death Trap at The Lowry, Manchester, 18–20 April 2024, from £18.00 - Book now

Rambert’s Death Trap encompasses two darkly delicious dance-theatre pieces, one of which is inspired by the music and spirit of Nina Simone.

Cast Photo
Rambert

Bar Italia at Band on the Wall

bar italia at Band on the Wall, Manchester, 1 May 2024, from £15 - Book now

One of London’s most hyped bands of the moment, Bar Italia are playing Band on the Wall in support of their acclaimed 2023 album, The Twits.

Image supplied by Band on the Wall

Sounds From The Other City

Sounds From The Other City at Maxwell Hall, University of Salford, 5 May 2024, from £40 - Book now

One of the country’s foremost festivals showcasing new and emerging talent, Sounds From The Other City is back this Early May Bank Holiday, hosting a top line-up of acts in venues and community spaces around the Chapel Street and Crescent areas of Salford.

A crowd of people watching Honeyglaze at Sounds From The Other City 2023 in St Philips Church
SFTOC23 Honeyglaze at St Philips Church by Breige Cobane.

manchester jazz festival 2024

Manchester Jazz Festival 2024, 17–26 May 2024, 0-£30 - Book now

Lighting up venues across the city, mjf2024 sees hundreds of northern, national and international jazz musicians descend on Manchester, showcasing the genre’s leading lights alongside its most exciting emerging talent.

Rina Srabonian.
manchester jazz festival by Rina Srabonian.

mjf2024: Opening Weekender at First Street

mjf2024: Opening Weekender, 17–19 May 2024, free entry - Find Out More

Kicking off Manchester Jazz Festival, a free Opening Weekender celebrates the breadth and individuality of Manchester’s home-grown talent across three stages in the vibrant neighbourhood of First Street.

manchester jazz festival
Image supplied by manchester jazz festival.

Teenage Dads at Deaf Institute

Teenage Dads at The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 22 May 2024, from £15.00 - Book now

Twisting together the sounds of new wave, synth pop and early 2000s NYC indie, Melbourne-based band Teenage Dads are back with killer new tunes and a fresh wave of dates in the UK.

Teenage Dads
Charlie Hardy

Tourist at New Century

Tourist at New Century, Manchester, 25 May 2024, from £20.59 - Book now

After spending the past decade taking a solo journey through various electronic sonic landscapes, London-based songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Tourist has arrived at somewhere that feels like home.

Picture of the artist Tourist
Tourist

Elephant Gym at Manchester Academy

Elephant Gym at Manchester Academy, Manchester, 30 May 2024, from £17.75 - Book now

Interlacing jazz, electronic, and classical music into a patchwork of contemporary math- and post-rock, Taiwanese trio Elephant Gym are bringing their new album World to Manchester.

Picture of the three band members of Elephant Gym
Elephant Gym, image courtesy of Canvas.

Green Island Festival at Hulme Garden Centre

Green Island Festival at Hulme Community Garden Centre, Manchester, 15 June–7 September 2024, from £20.00 - Book now

Hulme’s Green Island Festival has announced its return this summer, bringing a three-part series of events to Hulme Garden Centre and – new for this year – the iconic NIAMOS.

Festival-goers at Green Island
Image supplied by Green Island Festival.

Angélica Garcia at The Castle

Angélica Garcia at Castle Hotel, Manchester, 11 June 2024, from £10.00 - Book now

LA-based experimental pop artist Angélica Garcia is playing at The Castle this summer, in support of her latest cumbia-inspired music.

ANGÉLICA GARCIA
Carlos Garcia

New Order at Wythenshawe Park

New Order at Wythenshawe Park, Manchester, 24 July 2024, from £61.60 - Book now

An all-day outdoor concert at Wythenshawe Park features a special homecoming show from New Order, plus performances by Manchester legend Johnny Marr and adopted Manc Róisin Murphy.

New Order, courtesy of We Are Indigo.

Blonde Redhead at Band on the Wall

Blonde Redhead at Band on the Wall, Manchester, 19 August 2024 - Book now

Mercurial NYC avant-rock vets Blonde Redhead are playing at Band on the Wall following the release of Sit Down for Dinner, their warmest, most welcoming record yet.

Image supplied by Band on the Wall

Pixies at The Piece Hall

Pixies at The Piece Hall, West Yorkshire, 21 August 2024, from £47.50 - Book now

Legendary Boston band Pixies are performing a one-off show at Halifax’s glorious Piece Hall this summer.

Pixies by Tom Oxley

Manchester Psych Fest 2024

Manchester Psych Fest at Albert Hall, Manchester, 31 August 2024, from £45.20 - Book now

Manchester Psych Fest, the UK’s leading psychedelic music and arts festival, has announced the third wave of artists for its 2024 edition. This will see 60 live acts taking over eight city centre venues, including a brand new outdoor stage.

Image supplied by Manchester Psych Fest.

Idles at The Apollo

Idles at O2 Apollo, Manchester, 6 December 2024, from £42.15 - Book now

Taking the power of love on the road, IDLES bring their latest album, TANGK, to The Apollo in December 2024.

Idles by Daniel Topete, image couresy of SONIC PR
Idles by Daniel Topete, image courtesy of Sonic PR.

More music events

A crowd of people watching Honeyglaze at Sounds From The Other City 2023 in St Philips Church
MusicManchester
Sounds From The Other City

One of the country’s foremost festivals showcasing new and emerging talent, Sounds From The Other City is back over Early May Bank Holiday.

from £40
Rina Srabonian.
MusicCity Centre
manchester jazz festival 2024

manchester jazz festival is back this May with 10 days of live music from some of the best northern, national and international musicians operating in the world of contemporary jazz.

0-£30
MusicManchester
Manchester Psych Fest 2024

Manchester Psych Fest, the UK’s trailblazing psychedelic music and arts festival has announced a massive bill for its 2024 edition.

from £45.20
MusicHalifax
Pixies at The Piece Hall

Legendary American rock band Pixies are bringing their unmistakable and era-defining sound to The Piece Hall.

from £47.50
MusicManchester
New Order at Wythenshawe Park

New Order play an all-day outdoor concert at Wythenshawe Park alongside Manchester’s own Johnny Marr and adopted Manc Róisin Murphy.

from £61.60
Picture of the artist Tourist
MusicManchester
Tourist at New Century

London-based songwriter Tourist brings his yearning, bittersweet electronica to New Century in support of his new album, Memory Morning.

from £20.59
Picture of the three band members of Elephant Gym
MusicManchester
Elephant Gym at Manchester Academy

Elephant Gym bring their patchwork of jazz, contemporary math- and post-rock to Manchester this May in support of their new album, World.

from £17.75
Spotlight on

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Take a look at our top recommendations for restaurants and bars to check out this spring.

Take me there

Music in Manchester and the North

Manchester
Park
Platt Fields Park

Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield is steeped in history, the land having been acquired by the Platt family in 1225.

HOME Manchester
Manchester
Theatre
HOME Manchester

Now back open with a packed schedule of events and things to do, HOME Manchester is one of the city’s leading hubs for arts and culture.

Cumbria
Event venue
Penrith Old Fire Station

Main venue for Eden Arts, an artist-led organisation based in Eden in Cumbria creating projects around mass participation, local distinctiveness and digital engagement, from Picnic Cinema to The Winter Droving.

The MerseyMade building in Liverpool
Liverpool
Shop
MerseyMade

In the MerseyMade shop you’ll find bottled gin from the likes of Turncoat Gin, Anfield Gin, Albert Dock Gin and Three Graces Gin. Yep, Liverpool REALLY likes its gin.

The Hepworth Wakefield
Wakefield
Gallery
The Hepworth Wakefield

Winner of the 2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year Award, The Hepworth in Wakefield is easily one of the leading cultural highlights of the North.

Culture Guides

Kiss Marry Kill at The Lowry
Theatre in Manchester and the North

Affecting contemporary performances and fresh, relevant takes on enduring classics, we pick out shows that help us scrutinise the world we live in.