The city has given the world so much, from Coronation Street, to Vimto, football, and even rain – but above all, it’s known for its musical roots, having set countless iconic bands on their road to success and most-notably inspiring the creation of the iconic Factory Records and the ‘Madchester’ scene that followed.
From Joy Division and The Smiths, to Oasis, Elbow, and more, there are pieces of music history hidden across Greater Manchester – some you may not even know about.
86 Palatine Road
It may be in the heart of West Didsbury, but it would be easy to walk past 86 Palatine Road without giving it a second glance – but this unassuming detached house split into flats was where Factory Records was founded in 1978.
It was in one of the top floor apartments where Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus set up Factory Records. They would go on to release the likes of Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and become one of the most influential independent record labels – playing a major part in the city’s transformation from an industrial powerhouse to a beacon of art and culture by reclaiming its past and leading a new wave of creative industries.
Although music lovers can’t go inside, there is a blue plaque commemorating the important role the apartment played in musical history.
86 Palatine Road, West Didsbury, M20
The most famous of all landmarks of the Manchester music scene had to be the Haçienda.
Opened on the 21 May 1982, the nightclub and music venue was the brainchild of Rob Gretton and largely financed by Factory Records and the band New Order, along with label boss Tony Wilson. Everyone from The Smiths to even Madonna – who appeared there for her very first UK performance – played at the Haçienda, and it is known for being instrumental in the careers of many of the UK’s biggest bands, including Oasis and The Happy Mondays.
But it was during the ‘Madchester’ scene that the venue rose to fame, before becoming world famous during the Acid House years.
The nightclub was demolished in 2002 after years of issues and replaced by modern flats – with a plaque being all that remains of the legendary ravers’ paradise.
15 Whitworth Street West, Manchester, M1
Epping Walk Bridge
To some this is just another bridge in Hulme – but to Joy Division fans, this is an important piece of the band’s history as it’s the bridge where one of the most famous photos of the Macclesfield band was taken by photographer Kevin Cummins.
Hulme, Manchester, M15 6DU
Free Trade Hall
It may now be home to a Radisson Hotel, but this is one of the most significant buildings in Manchester’s music history thanks to playing host to the famous ‘gig that changed the world’ in its upstairs venue The Lesser Free Trade Hall, when the Sex Pistols played to a crowd of about 40 people in 1976.
While the gig itself wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, what was special was that many of the those who attended were inspired enough to go on to form some of Manchester’s biggest bands, including The Smiths, Joy Division, The Fall, and Buzzcocks.
Peter Street, Manchester, M2 5QR
FAC 251 Factory Manchester
A nightclub and live venue, FAC 251 Factory Manchester is based in the former Factory Records headquarters at 118 Princess Street and the name comes from the fact that the label employed a unique cataloguing system that gave a number not just to its musical releases, but to artwork and other objects as well.
118 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 7EN
Salford Lads Club
A must-visit for any The Smiths fan is the Salford Lads Club.
Not only is it famous for appearing on the inner sleeve of The Smiths’ 1986 album The Queen is Dead, it’s also the perfect excuse to recreate your own version of one of band’s most iconic photos.
St Ignatius Walk, Salford, M5 3RX
Southern Cemetery Gates
Another one for diehard fans of The Smiths, the Southern Cemetery Gates at Barlow Moor Road in Chorlton were the inspiration for their song Cemetery Gates, which focuses on Morrissey’s fascination with death – singing about taking a stroll through the cemetery.
One of Britain’s legendary music venues and practice spaces, The Boardwalk is known as the place where Oasis made their live debut, and is also known for having hosted other ‘Madchester’ icons such as The Charlatans and The Stone Roses.
Although the club closed in 1999 and was converted into apartments, there is a blue plaque on the building paying homage to the venue’s importance.
Little Peter Street, Manchester, M15 4PS
Sifters Record Shop
For any Oasis fan, it’s worth paying a visit to Sifters Record Shop on Fog Lane in Burnage.
It’s where Liam and Noel Gallagher used to buy their music when they were growing up and it’s even mentioned in the band’s song Shakermaker in the line: ‘Mr Sifter sold me songs when I was just sixteen.’
177 Fog Lane, Burnage, M20 6FJ
The Temple of Convenience
This bar and former Victorian public toilet in the centre of Manchester is referenced in one of Bury band Elbow’s most famous songs Grounds for Divorce, with the line: ‘There’s a hole in my neighbourhood down which of late I cannot help but fall’.
The on-the-nose lyric is literally talking about a hole in the road of the street where lead singer Guy Garvey used to live.
100 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester, M1 5JW
Use Hearing Protection: the early years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum is located on the first floor of the museum, and tickets are priced at £8 for adults and £6 for concessions, with under-12s going free.
You can find more information about the exhibition here.
Featured Image – pxhere
Eurovision costumes, props and instruments are being auctioned off – and it’s a mad collection
Items from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest are being sold at auction this week, from iconic costumes to enormous props.
It means that fans of the massive event – this year held in Liverpool – will be able to snap up a permanent piece of Eurovision history.
Have you ever looked around your living room and thought ‘You know what this place really needs? Those giant purple hands that Kalush Orchestra danced on this year’?
Or ‘I hate this jumper. I wish a had a green one with a face on like those Daði Freyr Eurovision dancers’?
Or even ‘A set of fluffy pink and yellow heart-shaped cushions would really brighten the place up’?
Well now there’s an auction you might be interested in, with bids opening from just £5.
The original props, costumes, and even instruments are on sale now, until 11 June.
You could be turning the actual lectern thing that Graham Norton and Hannah Waddingham stood behind for the results show into a cool bar, or decorating your pad with the drums used in Sam Ryder’s powerful performance.
The top bids currently, just a few days after the auction started, stand at £500 – that’s for the presenter’s lectern and for the Daði Freyr jumpers.
Someone else has bid a whopping £250 for a set of fluffy cushions.
There are more than 60 items available to buy, including parts of the set, which were designed by Julio Himede and unveiled by the King and Queen.
The BBC has reported that 20% of the money raised will go to two different charities, split between ACC Liverpool Foundation and BBC Media Action, with the remaining 80% going back to BBC Studios to fund programmes and services.
Sally Mills, head of sustainability at BBC Studios said: “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, both on and off screen.
“We have a responsibility to operate with as minimal an impact on the environment as possible, and are always looking for innovative ways in which to further engage audiences with our content, and extend the life of our sets and costumes.
“What better way to do this than to give fans the opportunity to own a piece of Eurovision history?”
Slam Dunk festival apologises after fans complain of queues so long they ‘didn’t eat’
Slam Dunk, a huge rock and punk festival, has issued a statement apologising to fans for ‘issues’ on site.
Festival organisers address a range of problems at the site – which takes place simultaneously in both Temple Newsam in Leeds and Hatfield – ranging from traffic flow, car parking, food vendors, toilets, accessibility and queues.
The lengthy statement said that the Slam Dunk team would ‘conducting a thorough investigation, whilst working extremely hard to rectify all problems for future events’.
It comes after hundreds of festival-goers complained of poor organisation and ‘overcrowding’ at both sites – though Slam Dunk has sought to assure people that it was not oversold, The Hoot Leeds reports.
A common complaint amongst fans was the huge waits for food traders, with many reporting that they gave up and didn’t eat.
This year’s festival was headlined by Enter Shikari, The Offspring, and Billy Talent, drawing in thousands of music fans from across the north.
One person said: “Had a great day today at @SlamDunkMusic but definitely lessons to be learned – queues everywhere were a joke (1hour+ minimum) and people were going hungry and without water or drinks because of it. Got to be sorted out for next year.”
Someone else posted: “Three hour wait for food so we abandoned the queue. Now queueing for ice cream as a meal substitute while only hearing Flogging Molly. Got us trapped here all day with not enough of anything: water points, food, toilets, routes in&out. F*cking sh*te.”
One festival goer commented on Slam Dunk’s Instagram page: “I’ve been going to SlamDunk for years now but this year has to have been the worst! And might have possibly put me off for ever returning. It’s amazing seeing the festival grow, but when it reaches the point where people’s safety it as risk it might be worth reconsidering everything.”
Others followed with similar comments like “Luckily we left early because we were starving, the amount of people I’ve seen that have been complaining about waiting 2-3 hours to get out of the carpark or waiting 2 hours for a taxi is shocking. This used to be my favourite festival of the year, it’s my 6th slam dunk and now I’m having serious doubts of ever coming again just due to how poorly organised it was.”
However, there have also been plenty of comments from those that attended the festival highlighting different experiences.
A comment left on Slam Dunk’s Instagram statement read: “Bloody great weekend guys. Don’t let the internet ruin it”.
Slam Dunk’s full statement about the 2023 festival
“Slam Dunk Festival would like to address issues which have been raised across the weekend.
“We recognise there were problems and that some customers did not have an experience to the standard which they expected. We would like to apologise for the issues which occurred and reassure our customers that we are committed to improving the event.
“We would like to assure all customers that neither event was oversold, and customer safety is, and always will be, paramount to the festival. Like all other major events, all our event plans were reviewed by local authorities and are in line with industry standards.
“In response to the car parking and traffic issues, as previously highlighted there was an unprecedented number of cars arriving to the festival site who hadn’t pre-booked car parking. This alongside other external factors created a traffic flow issue which inevitably caused delays into the festival site. As a measure to combat the traffic flow issue we made the conscious decision to stop checking passes for parking to increase the rate of entry to the car park and to prevent further delays. Keeping this in mind, we have made the decision to no longer provide on the day car parking, from next year only those who have pre-booked their car park tickets will be permitted to park on site, along with other measures we are looking to implement, we believe these will create smoother entry into event.
“We also recognise the issues surrounding food vendors and queues. We were assured that we had an adequate number of food vendors for the expected number of attendees, however, we recognise that this wasn’t the case, and we are committed to increasing the number of traders at future events, along with where they are located.
“Similarly, we recognise related issues surrounding toilets and water points. We would like to reassure customers that these facilities are in line with industry recommendations and have been increased from previous years, however this is something which we will increase further for future events.
“We are also aware of access issues, and we will be contacting our access customers directly for their feedback.
“We recognise there are other issues not highlighted in this statement. We will be conducting a thorough investigation, whilst working extremely hard to rectify all problems for future events. We have always been committed to increasing customer experience and we welcome feedback to do this. We encourage customers to complete our post event survey to assist us with this.
“Slam Dunk Festival 2023 would like to thank everyone who has provided their indispensable feedback so far. If you haven’t already, please raise any concerns with us directly through our post-event survey.
“We are sorry about the issues that were encountered over the weekend, we take full accountability, and we are committed to improving our service.
“It is with your feedback, as registered in this survey, that we will be able to consider all concerns when planning future events. We apologise that some of you did not have an experience that was up to the standard you expect when you attend Slam Dunk Festival
“We are listening to you. We will be updating you on our plans to improve Slam Dunk Festival 2024 later this summer once we have collected all of your feedback.
“Team Slam Dunk”.
You can leave your feedback for the Slam Dunk North Festival on this Google Form from organisers here.