Lockdown restrictions are lifting and the sunshine is out. Summer is definitely getting closer now – and that inimitable festival feelingis finally within reach.
For most of us, raving in a big field with a thumping soundtracks alongside thousands of others is a distant memory – with the vast majority of large-scale events cancelled for well over a year.
But there’s hope for the future – and loads of mint day festivals have been pencilled in to take place in summer 2021 and beyond.
We’ve put together a list of the biggest events up to an hour’s(ish) drive from Greater Manchester. Here are some of our top picks that still have tickets remaining.*
Newsam Park, Temple Newsam, Leeds – Saturday 10 July
The brand-new open-air festival Newsam Park festival was due to take place in July last year – but was cancelled for obvious reasons. They’re having another go on Saturday 10 July with a scaled down version but packed with all the same big-name house and techno DJs.
On the former site of the Cocoon in the Park festival at Temple Newsham in Leeds, there’ll be two stages featuring the likes of Jamie Jones, Denis Sulta, Sven Vath, Mella Dee and Nightmares on Wax throughout the day.
Acropolis, Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire – Saturday 31 July
Another new one for 2021 is Acropolis which will make its debut at Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire on Saturday 31 July.
The ruins of the castle will provide a moody and atmospheric setting for this techno-fuelled day. Alan Fitzpatrick, Eats Everything, Enzo Siragusa, Pawsa and Manchester’s own Mason Collective are confirmed to play, with support yet to be announced.
Mardi Gras, Roundhay Park, Leeds – Saturday 14 August
Mardi Gras at Leeds’ Roundhay Park is yet another exciting new addition to the 2021 festival calendar on Saturday 14 August.
There’ll be two full-size festival production stages hosting everything from local acts to global names.
The lineup is yet to be announced so keep an eye out for that. Tickets are already running low, get yours on Skiddle here.
Retro In The Park, Burnley – Saturday 28 August
After a bit of nostalgic house music? Burnley’s Retro In The Park festival should do the trick.
On Saturday 28 August, there’ll be three arenas of music at Towneley Park, each with a different vibe.
The UK’s largest house classics event, Retro, will take over Arena 1, with Roger Sanchez and Graeme Park taking the headline spots.
Some of best 90s artists will be taking the stage over in Arena 2. Think: N-Trance, Nightcrawlers and K-Klass.
Arena 3 will also see the Angels Reunion with Stu Allan, Rob Tissera and Matt Bell.
General admission and VIP are still available on Skiddle here.
Wile Out Festival, Burnley – Sunday 29 August
Again at Burnley’s Towneley Park, Wile Out Festival on bank holiday Sunday is boasting a massive bass and house lineup featuring some huge artists like DJ EZ, Mistajam and James Hype on the main stage, alongside Sigma, Tom Zanetti, Flava D and Bad Boy Chiller Crew at the bass stage.
Sam Divine, Low Steppa and Huxley will also take on the Cuckoo Land stage to provide the house energy.
Up in Lancaster, across two days on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 September, will be Highest Point.
Following the success of the 2019 weekender, the festival will return for another instalment at Williamson Park later this year.
Friday will see DJ sets from Rudimental and Wilkinson, alongside performances from Becky Hill and Ella Eyre. Then, there’ll be tons more house and tech from the likes of Richy Ahmed, Josh Butler, Seb Zito, Monki and East End Dubs.
On the Saturday, Rag’N’Bone Man takes the headline slot and there’ll be music from Clean Bandit, plus cracking sets from Hybrid Minds, Friction and Dimension to make up the drum and bass offerings.
Another one just down the M62 in Leeds is Mint festivalon Saturday 25 September.
Now in its tenth year, the festival promises to be the biggest and best edition yet, at its new home of Newsam Green Farm, located just 10 minutes outside the city centre.
There’ll be four arenas of techno, house and tech house which will see Leeds’ faves Patrick Topping, Eats Everything and Darius Syrossian on the decks, alongside Amelie Lens, East End Dubs, Elliot Adamson and Enzo Siragusa.
Sandwell Valley Country Park in the Midlands will play host to the famous elrow on 25 and 26 September.
There’ll be the usual confetti, inflatables and carnival madness and whilst the lineup is yet to be announced, they always curate the biggest and best parties so it’s well worth grabbing a ticket here.
Cream Classical on the Waterfront, Liverpool – Saturday 18 September
Liverpool’s iconic Pier Head will be home to “Cream Classical on the Waterfront” for an open-air event on Saturday 18 September. The show will bring together a 50-piece orchestra who will perform an extra special live set curated by K-Klass.
Between 12pm and 11pm, there’ll be sets from legends Basement Jaxx, Faithless, Seb Fontaine and Tall Paul.
Ice Cube, Cypress Hill and D12 bring a night of West Coast classics to Manchester’s AO Arena
The Manc Audio
Last night the AO arena found itself deep inside the West Coast, as Ice Cube, Cypress Hill and D12 gave Manchester the ‘High Rollers Tour experience’. The 90s and Noughties at its finest.
2000s rap heavyweights D12 opened the show for a Manchester crowd that began filling the AO Arena from the moment the doors opened.
The Detroit legends paid homage to their heyday years with Eminem performing tracks like ‘Lose Yourself’ and ‘Purple Pills’ to get the crowd rolling back the years.
Serving as a brilliant support act for headliners, they did plenty more than just warm up the once-freezing fans on a frosty night in Manchester and before we knew it, Cypress Hill stepped up to set the arena alight.
Sen Dog, B-Real, DJ Lord and Eric ‘Bobo’ Correa demonstrated exactly how and why they have stayed in the game for more than 32 years now.
Lord commanded the turntables with a level of skill that’s becoming more of a rarity these days, intertwining with Bobo’s unfathomably fast and rhythmic percussion, all whilst B-Real and Sen Dog worked a lively crowd to tracks like ”Dr Greenthumb’, ‘Rock Superstar’ and ‘Hits from the Bong’.
However, the real reminder of just how crazy their sets can be at times came when they dropped the iconic ‘Insane In The Brain’. Old-school lyricism, marijuana-filled graphics on the big screen and a crowd clearly breathing just as much of the ‘atmosphere’ as B-Real himself, is was like Cali had been transported to Manny.
And then Ice Cube arrived. Chills, pun intended.
Proving to everyone in the building that he’s still got it and then some, his arrival at the Arena was his first return to the UK since 2011, and oh how he’s been missed.
Cube owned the stage; no dancers, no gimmicks — just himself and long-time partner in crime WC giving everyone a legendary recap of a legendary career all the way back to the 80s.
From ‘Natural Born Killaz’ to ‘Why We Thugs’ and, of course, ‘Straight Outta Compton’, the duo showed precisely what an OG can really do. It felt like an honour to watch the N.W.A legend Crip-walking across the stage as a reel of film clips played behind him. The crowd were starstruck and rightly so.
One of the greatest MCs to ever do it even blessed us with arguably one of the greatest diss tracks of all time, ‘No Vaseline’, in which he kills off four rappers and a DJ — and makes sure nobody forgets. Mint.
As he asks the crowd if they want one more, he’s met with an inevitable roar of cheers and applause four times over and then, as he’s done a thousand times before, he signed off by letting everyone know that ‘It Was a Good Day’. Perfection.
It was a truly special performance for those inside the AO on Thursday night and one which we can guarantee no one will be forgetting any time soon. Still going 35 years strong, that was all about Ice Cube making a point of reminding everyone why he’s still one of the best in the game.