MIF has revealed its festival square music programme for summer – and it’s jam-packed with local artists.
This year’s festival runs from July 2-18 and sees over 100 free gigs taking place at the new Festival Square hub on Cathedral Garden – which returns in a safe, seated format for 2021.
MIF has also partnered with United We Stream this year to broadcast a selection of its live Festival Square performances directly into people’s homes.
Our highlights include performances from rappers Abnormal Sleepz and LayFullStop, Children of Zeus’s Konny Kon, soul singer Pip Millett and The Untold Orchestra, plus Homoelectric, Katbrownsugar, Lovescene, Matthew Halsall, SheBeKeke, Swing Ting and OneDa – but there are so many amazing artists set to perform here over the course of the fortnight.
Underground Manchester music champions Reform Radio and Thirty Pound Gentlemen will present some of the finest young emerging talent, arranging nine performances ranging from afrobeat to French electro at The Festival Square over three days.
Dave Haslam will also present three specially-curated nights of Manchester talent, starting with a showcase of local record label Griot City Records (July 4). His Griot City Experience will feature performers like DJ Werkha, and poets SheBeKeke and Reece Willams, followed by further showcases with artists like Lounge Society, Blanketman and DJ Mark Rae.
And in a unique piece exploring the experiences of black women within the creative industries and society at large, The Untold Orchestra join up with singer Yemi Bolatiwa, original Hacienda resident DJ Paulette, poet Shirley May, dancer Maisha Kungu and contemporary circus performer Seren Marimba to present a tribute to Nina Simone’s Four Women.
Grove will be bringing their black, queer and feminist sounds to Manchester as part of a curated lineup by DJ and broadcaster Jamz Supernova.
And of course Manchester’s infamous LGBTQ+ club night Homoelectric will be bringing the party – albeit for one night only – with DJ sets from residents like Will Tramp and Gina Breeze, plus performances from vogue house House of Ghetto.
Also curating at MIF’s Festival Square this year isthe legendary Manchester DJ and producer Mr Scruff, who’s bringing the likes of Rebecca Vasmant and Secret Night Gang down on July 16. He’ll end the night with a special B2B DJ set withhip hop pioneerMikey D.O.N.
BBC Music Introducing has also selected four of Manchester’s rising stars to play across four nights: singer, songwriter and producer Caoilfhionn Rose (July 8), electro dance music quartet Porij (July 10), singer-songwriter Ellysse Mason(July 11) and R&B artistFemi Tahiru(July 15).
And Manchester record label Swing Ting host a takeover with MCs, DJs, and live performances from residents and special guests playing everything from afrobeat and bashment to dancehall, including Tai Chi Rose, Tarsza and label founder Samrai.
Fabaret will return on July 17, curated by Greg Thorpe, with a celebratory showcase of Manchester-based LGBTQ+ artists including drag legend Cheddar Gorgeous and dancer and choreographer Jason Andrew Guest.
Manchester’s legendary spoken word night One Mic Stand also returns for another year with ten spoken word artists including Ella Otomewo, Billie Meredith, Isaiah Hull, and Jardel Rodrigues.
Residents from Greater Manchester will take over Festival Square for Our City Our Festival on July 3 – a free day-long event of music, conversations, performances and participatory activities, celebrating the diversity and talent within Greater Manchester communities.
Last but not least, in an epic Festival Square finale, grime club night turned creative agency Big People Music will present a big show with Manchester singer Misha B and rapper Abnormal Sleepz performing alongside the new BPM Orchestra.
The night will close with a handful of special guest DJ sets from some of the city’s best selectors.
Manchester International Festival (MIF) will take place across indoor and outdoor locations in Greater Manchester from July 1-18. It features a vibrant programme of original new work from across the spectrum of visual and performing arts and music by artists from over 20 countries.
Further DJ sets include DJ Paulette (July 2), Konny Kon (July 4), Kat Brown Sugar (July 6), Jane Weaver (July 7), Matthew Halsall (July 8), Kath McDermott (July 17) and High Hoops (July 17).
Tim Healy surprises fans with performance at The 1975’s Newcastle gig
The 1975’s tour has seen some seriously memorable moments so far, including several special guest appearances, but seeing Tim Healy give a surprise performance has to be the jewel in the crown.
While the band might have formed in the Wilmslow and plied their trade in Manchester on their way to success, several members of the current lineup — including frontman Matty Healy himself — were born in Newcastle, so the gig at the Utilita Arena on Wednesday was very much a homecoming show.
With that in mind, when British TV royalty, Geordie icon and Matty’s old man, Tim Healy popped up on stage, the crowd understandably went wild.
There were no doubt plenty of confused faces when a trademark Matty monologue and sudden cut to black was followed by the bloke from Benidorm appearing up on stage, but there was also a scream bigger than any response Taylor Swift got.
Whipping out some significantly more dramatic thespian ability than the kind you’d associate with his Auf Wiedersehen, Pet days, albeit still fully aware of bizarre the entire spectacle was, he brought one of his son’s trademark digressions about method acting to a close.
But better than that, the 70-year-old ended up staying on stage to perform his own low-key ‘All I Need to Hear‘ cover as the band played in the background. Surreal.
To be honest, it might just be the wholesomeness of it all, but we think we might prefer the older Healy’s version.
Sing it, Tim!
Imagine bringing your dad onto the stage only for him to absolutely steal the show. Brilliant stuff.
Both he and Matty’s celebrity mum Denise Welch have been spotted at various shows as the band continue to perform their ‘At Their Very Best’ tour around the country, with various fans interacting with them in the crowd, but very few would have been expecting an impromptu song from one of them.
Both are obviously more closely associated with TV, with Welch known for appearing on the likes of Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Loose Women and many more, but if we don’t up end up getting both of them on stage before this tour is over we’ll be genuinely fuming.
It also looks like the reaction meant a lot to him:
Elsewhere in the show, The 1975’s Newcastle fans were treated to an equally ridiculous surprise appearance from Harry Styles. Well, not really…
In case you haven’t seen it already, the band conspired to prank the crowd by putting the former One Direction star’s name up on the screen, only to bring out Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi instead.
He obviously got just as lovely a reaction and fully leaned into bantering with the crowd — joking, “I know what you’re thinking: ‘Harry Styles‘ looks a bit different.'” — before performing a cover of ‘Antichrist’.
Featured Image — @.millr (via TikTok)/@evie_ire (via Twitter)
The Lathums announce biggest-ever headline show at Castlefield Bowl
Coming off the back of a hugely successful year or so, The Lathums have announced a massive headline show at Castlefield Bowl later this year.
The Wigan four-piece shot to number one with their debut album, How Beautiful Life Can Be, in October 2021 and Radio X gave their track, ‘Say My Name’, Record of the Year for 2022. Mint.
On top of a successful turn on the UK festival and gig circuit, the local lads also delighted Manchester crowds when they opened up as special guests for Snow Patrol during a big performance at the Bowl back in 2021 too. Safe to say they’ve been busy boys.
Now, though, ahead of the release of their sophomore album, From Nothing To A Little Bit More, the pie-eating Platt Wazzers are returning to the open-air venue to no doubt sell the place out and put on their biggest headline show to date. That’s what we like to hear.
Taking centre-stage at the 8,000-capacity amphitheatre once again — the very same place where they debuted the lead single for their new second album, ‘Sad Face Baby’, which has become an instant fan-favourite — you’ll get your chance to see The Lathums headlining this summer.
This news arrives not only fresh off the heels of the latest single ‘Struggle‘, the honest and full-hearted opening track off From Nothing To A Little Bit More, but a recent personnel update confirming that Matty Murphy is joining the band full-time after the departure of their original bassist, Johnny Cunliffe.
Set to play the show on Friday, 30 June, we’re glad to hear the beloved Manc band will be back to full strength in time for the landmark gig, as well as their sold-out show at Albert Hall on 11 March.
Announcing the news on Instagram today, they wrote: “We are delighted to announce we’ll be headlining Castlefield Bowl, Manchester on Friday 30th June. This is by far our biggest show we have ever done and we can’t wait to see everyone there. This will be very special indeed.
“Pre sale goes live on Wednesday 1st Feb from 9:30am. If you haven’t already, pre order our new album ‘From Nothing To A Little Bit More’ from our official website for access to pre sale. It’s honour to play such an iconic venue! See you very soon.”
Tickets for The Lathums’ Castlefield Bowl show go on sale at 9:30am on Friday, 3 February 2023. You best be quick.
From Nothing To A Little Bit More releases on Friday, 3 March 2023 via Island Records.