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Manchester Festivals To Look Forward To This Summer

Cover image via Manchester International Festival on Facebook

With the return of open-air events on the horizon, the latest from Manchester’s favourite arts and music festivals

For the music lovers among us, it’s been a dark year without weekly outings to hidden basement bars, packed-out pubs or arenas to discover new artists or admire our favourites. But with restrictions set to ease, we can look forward to a summer full of art, music and theatre – here, we give you the need-to-know information about the top Manchester festivals coming up in 2021. 

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Manchester International Festival
1-18 July 2021
The North’s favourite international arts festival hasn’t had a break the past year, continuing to exhibit new work online across their website and interactive platforms – demonstrating their tireless support for emerging and established artists from all over the world. And with the latest announcements from MIF, we can prepare for the Festival this July to be relaunched in person as the multidisciplinary gathering of artists and audiences we know it to be.  
In October MIF announced their first 2021 event – Walk with Amal. Amal is a 3.5m tall puppet representing the millions of displaced refugee children separated from their families, and the journey they take to find a new life. An interactive festival and ‘endurance event’ by theatre collective Good Chance, Amal will travel 8,000km across Europe before ending with a huge outdoor participatory event to tie in with the opening weekend of MIF 2021. We also have The Factory to look forward to; a new purpose-built space for Manchester covering 13,000 square metres, providing 1,500 jobs and a year-round home for MIF. 


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Sounds of the City
Castlefield Bowl, Manchester
30 June – 11 July 2021
With the 2020 series of concerts postponed, Sounds of the City is back for 2021 featuring the rescheduled headliners (and festival atmosphere) that we all missed out on last summer. Taking place in the great outdoors at Castlefield Bowl, the series kicks off with a much-anticipated performance from Foals on 30th June, who gained dedicated fans with their early math-rock style in 2008, and have continued to take over the festival scene with their energetic live performances ever since. Other performances of note include the reunited Crowded House, followed by Kaiser Chiefs and Razorlight, and a closing night concert from Sydney-born DMA’s on 11th July. Tickets for each show are selling out fast, and are available from Festicket here.


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Neighbourhood Weekender
Victoria Park, Warrington
3-5 September 2021
Another rescheduled event from the depths of 2020, the biggest indie festival in the North West will now take place September 2021. Nestled in Warrington between Liverpool and Manchester, indie favourites old and new await the headline stage, like Gerry Cinnamon, Ian Brown and Catfish and the Bottlemen. New this year, the festival will begin on Friday night on the main stage with Cinnamon, Circa Waves and more. A non-camping event, fans from nearby towns and cities can visit each day to experience the diverse three day line-up – from the likes of Manchester locals The Orielles, Irish post-punk band The Murder Capital, and middle England alt-rockers Sports Team. Tickets are available now from the festival’s website from multiple providers.