Thom Yorke at Victoria Warehouse Cultural Calender
Thom Yorke plays two nights at Manchester's Victoria Warehouse - photo by Alex Lake / TWOSHORTDAYS.COM

Cultural Calendar 2021

Creative Tourist

The Cultural Calendar returns for 2021, our editors’ annual list of some of the best-looking arts and cultural events in Manchester and the North in 2021. It’s only the beginning of a new year – and there will be plenty more added to this list as they’re announced. This list is intended to be inclusive with something for everyone; from family picks to literary highlights via acclaimed international musicians, to outstanding exhibitions and festivals.

This is what we have penciled in our diaries so far, come back to the Cultural Calendar for updates throughout the year. You can keep up-to-date with what’s happening across Manchester and the North with our specialist Cinema, Exhibitions, Theatre, Literature, Music and Family guides. Want more? Follow us on all the usual socials and subscribe to our mailing list to get this kind of thing every Friday lunchtime.

Have fantastic cultural adventures in 2021.

Here are our picks

  • 1. The North Will Rise Again at Gorilla and The Invisible Wind Factory

    The North Will Rise Again, online, 30–31 January 2021, from £7.50 - Book now

    Crucibles of the nation’s music industry, Manchester and Liverpool are uniting to host The North Will Rise Again, a live-streamed micro-festival featuring The Charlatans, The Lightning Seeds, Red Rum Club, Ist Ist, Zuzu and LIINES. 

  • 2. Get Together Festival at The University of Sheffield Students’ Union

    Gavin Ovoca

    Get Together Festival at University of Sheffield Students' Union, Sheffield, 1–2 May 2021, from £25 - Book now

    After a year of pre-recorded gigs, live-streams and listening parties, an old-fashioned Get Together is precisely what 2021 calls for. We’re keeping everything crossed.

  • 3. Thom Yorke at Victoria Warehouse

    Thom Yorke at Victoria Warehouse Cultural Calender
    Alex Lake

    Thom Yorke at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 13 June 2021, from £54.70 - Book now

    Following the release of his excellent solo album ANIMA, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is performing not one but two shows at Victoria Warehouse this June.

  • 4. Liverpool Biennial 2021 – The Stomach and the Port

    Liverpool Biennial 2021 – The Stomach and the Port
    Ebony G. Patterson, ...a pale horse weeps in silence...for those who bear/bare witness, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

    Liverpool Biennial 2021, 20 March–6 June 2021, free entry - Find Out More

    The 2021 edition of Liverpool Biennial will explore notions of the body, drawing on non-Western ways of thinking that challenge conceptions of the individual as a defined, self-sufficient entity.

  • 5. Bluedot 2021 at Jodrell Bank


    Bluedot Festival 2021 at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, 22–25 July 2021, from £59.75 - Book now

    Entering its fifth year in 2020, Bluedot is a festival of discovery located in the shadow of the world-renowned Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.

  • 6. Manchester Science Festival

    Silhouette of people standing in front of an exhibit at Manchester Science Festival 2018
    © Manchester Science Festival

    Manchester Science Festival at Science and Industry Museum, Castlefield, 12–21 February 2021, Tickets TBC - Find Out More

    Always a highlight of our cultural calendar, we’re delighted that Manchester Science Festival returns in February to explore how science, technology and communities can help in the fight against the climate crisis. Expect another action-packed programme of inspiring, entertaining and playful experiences for all ages.

  • 7. Grayson’s Art Club at Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester

    Grayson's Art Club at Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester

    Grayson's Art Club at Manchester Art Gallery, Chinatown, Until 18 April 2021, free entry - Visit now

    In Grayson’s own words, this will be an exhibition ‘about the joy and solace of making art’ and ‘a still moment to reflect on a situation that has affected everyone on the planet.’ What better a return to gallery-going in Manchester?

  • 8. Contact Theatre

    exterior of Contact Theatre building

    Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6JA - Visit now

    Contact has always been the place for emerging theatre, dance, spoken word, hip hop and digital performance mash-ups, and we’re looking forward to experiencing all of this in the new building.

  • 9. NQ Jazz Live

    NQ Jazz Live at The Stoller Hall and online, Until 17 May 2021 - Book now

    A massive programme of live jazz music, spanning venues across Manchester, has been announced for 2021. Running for five months, the programme will feature dozens of COVID-safe events, concerts and masterclasses by established and emerging artists, from Soweto Kinch in January to Norma Winstone in May.