Manchester International Festival (MIF) has announced two initiatives to support the city’s music scene – which is still reeling from the devastating aftermath of COVID-19.
The first of the initiatives is MIF Sounds – which will pledge £10,000 to ten Manchester music creatives in producing new work.
Since lockdown, Manchester’s music scene has received very little governmental support. Creatives and musicians have been left without work and venues are in despair.
Two kingpins of the city, Gorilla and Deaf Institute, were even on the brink of total shutdown a few months back only to be saved by the skin of their teeth by Tokyo Industries. But the risk of closures elsewhere remains high.
This financial support from MIF will provide some much-needed hope and encouragement to keep the city’s musical spirit alive. MIF organisers are open to ideas and want to hear from musicians, producers and creatives alike that have been hit by the pandemic and need help finding their feet.
Jane Beese, Head of Music at MIF said: “MIF want to support the next generation of Manchester’s music industry who have been affected by the pandemic, to continue to create work.
“Maybe you need help to make or complete a recording project or you are a label promoting new releases or you are working in production and have a new piece of technology you want to advance.
“Perhaps you are a promoter looking for support to present a socially distanced gig with a small audience with a live stream, or you just need some headspace and some time to make new music. We want to hear from you”
The second initiative is funding for MIF’s online series Festival in My House and Yours: A programme launched during lockdown.
The idea brings together local people online to host digital micro-festivals in their own homes.
It will offer six artists £1,800 to develop projects for the series.
Punam Ramchurn, Talent Development Manager at MIF said: “We’re really excited to offer these opportunities for creatives to develop and create work in these current times.
“From financial support, mentorship and learning new skills, we’re investing in artists across Greater Manchester, and passionate about building long lasting relationships as we head towards MIF21 and The Factory.”
MIF is one of the biggest dates in the city’s music calendar – bringing together people from all over Greater Manchester whilst introducing new art, music and theatre.
In the past, work displayed at the festival has gone on to reach worldwide audiences. Take a look back at previous festivals here.
This is an amazing opportunity to play a part in maintaining Manchester’s world-renowned music heritage.
Noughties throwback Lemar announces special 20th anniversary gigs in Manchester and London
The one and only Lemar is back now only with new album but two special shows to mark his 20th anniversary in music.
A chart-topping, BRIT and MOBO award-winning artists who rose to popularity in the early 2000s, Lemar has sold millions of albums worldwide and is now returning with his first new record in nearly eight years.
Having released his latest 80s funk inspired new single, ‘Future Love’, today (7 February) and officially announced his upcoming seventh album, Page In My Heart, the noughties pop and R&B artist is back on the scene and thought it only fit to pay tribute to 20 years in the biz.
Two decades on from his debut album, Dedicated, Lemar is hosting a pair of anniversary shows in London and right here in Manchester. Now this is going to be quite the throwback.
Best know for hit tracks like ‘It’s Not That Easy’, ’50/50′, ‘What About Love?’, ‘Another Day’ and many more, the 44-year-old returns to the stage with a new sound but one that also calls back to his roots and early work.
Speaking in a statement, Lemar says: “With this new album, I wanted to make something for anyone who ever bought Dedicated, as this year is 20 years since its release. I thought I’d like to make something for the people who got behind that album, something that they would appreciate and like.
Descirbing his new single, he went on to say, “it’s more uptempo, it’s got that soulful feel, it’s a bit looser, a bit Chaka Khan. A bit ‘Dance (With U)’… it’s got that kind of energy to it.”
The Tottenham-born singer hasn’t been ‘away’ per se, having continued to perform up and down the country in recent years, but both he and his fans have been waiting “patiently” to get the right collection of songs together to release new material.
His last album, The Letter, released back in 2015 and delighted die-hards but he says this latest project is about reconnecting with his fans, insisting that “it really is a page from my heart.”
Lemar will celebrate two decades of music and the 20th anniversary of Dedicated live with two special nights at O2 Ritz here in Manchester and London indigo at The O2 on the 27 and 28 of April, respectively. You best believe we’ll be getting one.
Tickets go on sale on 10 February at 10am. Tickets will be available HERE and at Ticketmaster.
Neighbourhood Weekender announces massive warm-up show with Ian Brown, Happy Mondays and more
Neighbourhood Weekender has announced a warm-up show on the Friday before the festival proper kicks off, with the likes of Ian Brown, Happy Mondays and more already confirmed.
With Neighbourhood 2023 set for the weekend of 27-28 May as festival season gets into full swing, the increasingly popular Victoria Park-based crowd-pleaser is effectively starting a day early with their ‘Live At The Big Top’ event.
Although the local favourite has previously put on a number of performances on the Friday before the Warrington Weekender as we know it, this is the first time this event has been held and will serve as a warm-up show for the impending gig-goers.
Effectively acting as a warm-up party for the main event, the North West crowd will be treated to the likes of 80s and 90s Manc music icons Ian Brown and Happy Mondays, as well Liverpool indie band Cast and up-and-coming Welsh psych-rock band, CVC, a.k.a. Church Village Collective.
The lineup also denotes a landmark occasion, with this being the first time that Brown and Happy Mondays — two of pioneering artists of the ‘Madchester‘ scene — are sharing the same bill in their long and illustrious careers. Well, aren’t you a lucky lot?
While we’d say this is an absolute must if you truly want to make a full go of Neighbourhood Weekender, this is technically a separate event and it’s well worth attending if you can’t make it on the Saturday or Sunday for whatever reason.
Tickets go on sale at 9.30am on Friday, 10 February. You can grab yours HERE.