Festivals. We do them well up north. From giant, inhibition-loosening weekends in farmers’ fields to inner-city parties that showcase the best of local, underground scenes, music lovers are spoilt for choice. Here we pick our highlights for spring and summer 2023, taking in everything from hedonistic escapes to contemporary jazz showdowns via family-friendly fun.
Here are our picks
We Invented The Weekend at MediaCity and Salford Quays, Manchester, 3–4 June 2023, free entry - Find Out More
We Invented The Weekend is a bold and creative free festival for everyone, celebrating all the activities that make the weekend great, from live music to street sport to family fun.
The National Festival of Making at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Blackburn, 8–9 July 2023, free entry - Find Out More
For two days a year, The National Festival of Making fills the streets of Blackburn with an ambitious programme that “celebrates making from the kitchen table to the factory floor”.
Parklife 2023 at Heaton Park, Manchester, 10–11 June 2023, from £84.50 - Book now
Parklife, the UK’s biggest metropolitan festival, is back this summer, and the line-up is typically huge, featuring the likes of The Prodigy, Little Simz, and Wu Tang Clan + Nas.
Manchester Festival of Nature at Heaton Park, Manchester, 25 June 2023, free entry - Find Out More
Head to Heaton Park for a celebration of the wild plants and creatures that inhabit the city and its surroundings, organised by the Manchester Nature Consortium.
Manchester International Festival 2023 at Factory International, City Centre, 29 June–16 July 2023, from £10.00 - Book now
This summer, Manchester International Festival invites the world’s best creative minds to reach across art forms, smash boundaries, and speak to urgent contemporary issues.
Liverpool Theatre Festival at St. Luke’s, Liverpool, City Centre, 20–30 July 2023 - Book now
Don’t miss this super theatre festival packed with live outdoor performances featuring musical theatre, drama, comedy, cabaret, opera, and children’s shows.
Manchester Day, 29 July 2023, free entry - Find Out More
Dust down your tail-feathers and get out on the streets for carnival, community and an exuberant celebration of Manchester.
Buxton International Festival 2023 at Buxton Opera House, Buxton, 6–23 July 2023, from £10 - Book now
One of the UK’s leading arts events, Buxton International Festival is a summertime celebration of opera, music and books.
Bluedot Festival 2023 at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Macclesfield, 20–23 July 2023, from £59.75 - Book now
Bluedot has revealed the line-up for its sixth edition, whose headliners are lo-fi pioneers Pavement, cultural icon Grace Jones and electropop queen Róisín Murphy.
Kendal Calling at Lowther Castle and Gardens, Cumbria, 27–30 July 2023, from £178.75 - Book now
Featuring over 200 artists and performers, immersive arts experiences and kids activities, Kendal Calling is a great, family-friendly festival set in the stunning Lake District.
Burrs Live at Burrs Country Park, Manchester, 30 August–3 September 2023, from £6 - Book now
This summer, The Met in Bury is bringing back the much-loved Burrs Live — a five-day programme of live music, community events, family fun and artisan food in Burrs Country Park.
Manchester Psych Fest at Albert Hall, City Centre, 2 September 2023, from £45.20 - Book now
Manchester Psych Fest, an all-day celebration of psychedelic music and art, returns this September with more musicians, DJs and visual artists than ever before.