Manchester has a packed live music calendar all year round, with gigs ranging from tiny DIY shows in pubs and cafes all the way up to pop stars at Manchester Arena. The classical music scene in Manchester is also very strong, as the city is home to the Royal Northern College of Music and the Bridgewater Hall, whose resident orchestras include the Halle and the BBC Philharmonic.
If interesting, alternative music is your bag then you’ll find something for you in pretty much every venue across town at some point, from the basement of Soup Kitchen to the back room of The Castle, the events space of Islington Mill to the stunning Albert Hall.
Emerging acts play in the pub rooms of Gullivers and the Eagle Inn, on the stages of the Night & Day and Aatma, and in the depths of The Ruby Lounge. For touring bands with bigger crowds, there’s Gorilla, The Ritz and Manchester Academy - and this is barely scratching the surface.
Manchester also has many home-grown festivals, including the annual Parklife festival in Heaton Park and the biennial Manchester International Festival, which in the past has staged unique shows for The xx, Alina Ibragimova and Arvo Part, among others. Every May bank holiday, Sounds from the Other City festival brings together many of the city’s grassroots promoters together for a multi-venue gig crawl in Salford, while earlier in spring FutureEverything festival brings the latest in cutting-edge music, art and technology to Manchester.