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Manchester What's On, Entertainment, Tickets and Eating Out Guide

Monday 27 May 2024

[@]Manchester's Festivals

Never underestimate a city that has produced the likes of The Smiths and Oasis. In fact, expect that city to be leading the way when it comes to live music. And where is the best place to throw yourself into the thick of it? Only at one of Manchester’s very own music festivals.

Visit the MIF websiteThe Manchester International Festival is one of the world's most influential music gatherings; often hosting major stars such as Kraftwerk or Bjork. This biannual event sees the city turned into a huge stage with perfomances including theatre, dance and music.

Held during the month of July, it attracts visitors and locals into the city and there will be something for you to enjoy and engage with.

For many years the one event that was lacking from the Mancunian calendar was an outside music festival to rival the likes of Glastonbury and V Festival. But that all changed in 2010 when Parklife touched down at Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield for a weekend of banging beats and dirty dancing.

Since then the festival has grown in numerous ways, with its popularity now at an all-time high. Originally designed for students and locals, more and more people are now travelling to the city to get a taste of the two-day event held annually in June.

Which is just one of the reasons why the festival has now moved to Heaton Park - so it can accommodate the tens of thousands who want to be part of the action. Each year the line-up manages to bring in a list of acclaimed artists, with past bills including Dizzee Racal and Disclosure.

Beware though, if you’re lucky enough to nab yourself a ticket then you’ll need a pair of wellies at the get-go. They’re by far the smartest choice of footwear if the weather turns.

Sounds of the City takes place at the Castlefield Bowl, this event has managed to bring in a number of esteemed bands, such as The Pixies and Manchester’s very own James.

Read about Manchester's Classical Music SceneManchester has a long established link with classical music and it's very own Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) is a world class education centre.

The Bridgewater Hall and Manchester Cathedral are very popular performance venues both within easy reach of the city centre.

  • Blackthorn Festival

    Blackthorn Music Festival

    Blackthorn Music Festival with headliner bands and up and coming artists. Secondary acoustic stage, weekend camping, food stall, Bar and soft drinks, entertainment such as bucking bronco and other rides.

    The Blackthorn Music festival is a showcase for Manchester's new and upcoming bands and performers. 2015 will the third events and promises to be bigger and better that before. With a mixture of styles and genres, focussing more on the indie, rock and acoustic genres, there’s sure to be acts that cater to everyone’s musical tastes.

    The festivals also features a body of tribute bands and presently booked are The Smiths Ltd, Happy Mondaze and The Clone Roses, with DJ slots from the legendary Clint Boon. They have partnered with Blastbeat, a charity that promotes young talent all over the country, which you can find more about at www.blastbeat.org.

    The festival also includes live art, acoustic acts, spontaneous live art installations, and silent discos and jamming sessions from, lest forgetting the variety of quality food and drink on offer.

    The Blackthorn Festival is shaping up to be a must attend event given the quality of the line-up.

    Held at Etherow Country Park during the weekend of 24th-26th July 2015, in what could be described as a rural part of Stockport, however it is only 1.5 miles from Marple railway station and there are many buese that connect or run near to the park (304, 383 & 384).

  • Manchester Fringe Festival

    Manchester Fringe Festival

    Every July; The Greater Manchester Fringe was created to run concurrently with the biennial MIF and it presents a wide range of music, theatre and comedy across the city.

    The Greater Manchester Fringe, founded in 2012, is a cultural event that presents performances in venues across Manchester and wider area. It was established to run concurrently with the Manchester International Festival, a biannual event, but the success of the Fringe means that it happens every July.

    The Fringe has seem some fantastic performances from more well known artists such as Phil Jupitus, however also celebrates new and emerging talent and encourages anybody to take part, whatever their show may be.

    In 2014 there where over 300 performances across 80 venues and these included local theatre companies, presenting their work, music, poetry and comedy.

  • Manchester International Festival

    Manchester International Festival (MIF)

    MIF is is truely an international festival, it features music, dance and art from across the world as well as home grown talent.

    Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events and takes place biennially, in Manchester, UK. The Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning Festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture.

    The event is centred around a large performance space in Albert Sq and it makes use of Manchester's numerous theatres and open spaces to present its diverse acts and shows. Drawing a truely international body of performers, including Bjork and Kraftwerk, the MIF is regarded as a major festival on the worlds calendar.

  • Manchester Jazz Festival

    Manchester Jazz Festival

    Over the last 20 years the Manchester Jazz Festival has become a major event in Manchester’s calendar. With its main hub based in Albert Square, where you will find artists performing daily, often for free, to its use of several venues across the city for hosting artists and events.

    Held in July, this 10 day festival normally presents over 400 musicians across 80 events. Some of these performances are from visiting international artists giving you an exclusive chance to see them.

    Many of the works presented are new and original material including premiers and international debuts.

    The MJF works with the cities leading music lights such as RNCM, Band on the Wall and the famous Matt & Phreds, in the northern quarter. It also works with BBC Radio 3, the UK’s national broadcaster, to deliver performances to their radio audience.

  • Manchester Pride

    Manchester Pride

    While focusing on the LGBT community, Manchester Pride is fun event for everyone and often features major headline acts.

    Manchester Pride is a celebration of lifestyle choices. It provides a space for the LGBT community and its friends to engage with the wider population demonstrate that everyone can have fun and enjoy the festivities.

    The event happens over the August bank holiday weekend and its highlights include the city centre parade and the main events stage. The parade is devoted to embracing and celebrating diversity, especially the LGBT communities that have helped shaped Manchester's cultural heritage and landscape over the centuries.

    The main events stage, in the heart of Manchester’s Gay Village, is where you can see major acts perform including live bands, solo artists and renowned DJ’s.

    The weekend also has a ‘Expo’ and many pop up traders for you spend your hard earned money with.

  • Parklife

    Parklife at Heaton Park

    Parklife is now an established part of Manchester's thriving festival scene and it's well worth a look.

    Parklife has been headlined by Rudimental and Disclosure and Fatboy Slim, Mark Ronson, Wu-Tang Clan, Ben Howard, George Ezra and James Blake just to name a few.

    Now a staple of the Manchester music scene, the weekend has grown into one the UK's most diverse musical events, showcasing household DJs backed by renowned clubbing brands such as RA, Chibuku and Bugged Out!, who'll spin tracks alongside indie divas and urban & hip-hop legends.

    The weekends soundtrack will be filled not just with music, but with variety. There are themed chill out zones, live interactive art, a funfair, magicians, crazy installations, cabaret and busking stages offering dance troupes, live music, comedy, spoken word and theatre.

    No doubt this will be a huge event and tickets are selling fast. But take our advice remember to bring your own loo roll and those wellington bots!

    Held at Manchester's Heaton Park on the weekend of June 6th, 2015 – Sunday, June 7th, 2015. You can take the number 135 from Manchester City Centre, which stops at the tram station on Bury Old Road. Many buses travel to Heaton Park, including 56, 59, 64, 64A, 135, 137, 138, 150, 151, 484, 495.

  • Sounds of the City

    Sounds of the City

    Held right in the centre of Manchester's historic Castlefield Summer in the City has grown to be a major event.

    Some of the most acclaimed live artists are taking over Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl throughout July for Sounds of The City.

    Sounds Of The City has established itself as a staple part of the Manchester music scene with some of the most acclaimed live artists taking to the stage.

    Castlefield Bowl in the heart of Manchester City Centre has hosted over the years sold out shows from the likes of Chic, New Order, Arcade Fire, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Rag N Bone Man, Last Shadow Puppets, catfish And the Bottlemen, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, Paolo Nutini, James, Pixies and The Courteeners.

Manchester a City of ‘Quarters’

Bury - Part of Historic Manchester


Only 30 minutes by Tram from the City Centre, Bury and its attractions make a good day trip



Nestled between the Irwell and Medloack rivers Castlefield is where the Romans established 'Mamucium'. Experience the old and modern and explore its attractions

China Town - City Centre

China Town

China Town, a stone's throw from Piccadilly Gardens, offers restaurants, specialist supermarkets and entertainment all in one space



Connecting most parts of the city, this mile-long road is worth a stroll along and offers some great shops and places to eat

Read About All Manchester‘s Quarters