When we take a look back at the past 18 months, it’s difficult to see another industry that’s taken a harder hit than the Night Time Economy.
As the reality of the COVID-19 crisis began to set in back in March 2020, nightclubs and culture venues were forced to close their doors and largely remain shuttered until merely a few weeks ago, and while theatres and live music venues were able to reopen for short periods of time to stage performances, this had been under strict restrictions around capacity, movement, mask wearing, and social distancing to keep people safe.
Those ongoing restrictions, combined with “insufficient sector specific financial support from government”, at one point meant that the sector and its supply chains were at real risk of collapse.
A dedicated group of cross-party MPs, peers, and leading industry figures even had to come together in December 2020 to establish an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to represent the best interests of the sector – which it said had been particularly under-represented politically, and undervalued both culturally and economically by government.
The group stated that the Night Time Economy had “borne the brunt of COVID restrictions”, and that it believed the crisis was an “existential threat” to the industry.
“The sector has faced enormous challenges, and thousands of bars, nightclubs, and live events businesses are at risk of collapse,” Labour MP for Manchester Withington Jeff Smith said at the time the AAPG was formed.
To put it simply, it wasn’t looking good.
And for a region with a cultural footprint as significant as Greater Manchester’s, and a proud tradition of music, arts and entertainment – with music tourism alone having been said to generate £169 million for the local economy pre-pandemic – it truly could have been devastating.
But when the final stage of the government’s roadmap to lifting lockdown was confirmed to commence from 19 July, venues were finally given the long-awaited green light to reopen as normal, and the struggling industry could breathe a collective sigh of relief.
While reopening may have been the goal, the challenge was far from over though.
Our venues arguably needed support from the community at this time more than ever, and so to make sure were doing our bit to help Greater Manchester get back on its feet, The Manc teamed up with multi award-winning streaming platform StreamGM last month to show some serious love and support to the region’s renowned theatres, nightclubs and live music hubs with the launch of SeeGM – a digital campaign to shine a bright spotlight on many of the amazing events, club nights, gigs and shows in our region.
The aim of the #SeeGM campaign was to inspire residents to revisit their favourite haunts, buy tickets for future events, and safely experience more of the region’s vibrant culture and nightlife.
“Greater Manchester is the city of 24-hour party people,” our Brand Director Anna Gledson said on the launch of the SeeGM campaign last month.
“We hope with everyone’s support, our region’s venues will be thriving again very soon.”
We were keen to encourage people to take to social media to post both their happy memories of times spent at gigs, shows and events gone by, as well as share their first experiences of heading ‘out-out’ after 19 July, all while promoting being kind and respectful to staff, other audience members, and partygoers.
We did this through a dedicated social and editorial content strategy that involved the views and suggestions of our audience of over one million loyal Mancunians across our social media platforms – touching on everything from the best nights out in Greater Manchester, to some of the best arts and culture events to visit this summer.
We also had the pleasure of speaking to some leading industry figures for the SeeGM video series to get their take on why Greater Manchester’s nightlife is so world-renowned.
Speaking on the wealth of content created for the SeeGM campaign over the last month, Laura Graham – co-founder of StreamGM – said: “For the SeeGM video series, we interviewed different people who curate, promote, perform, or work in these places and ask them about reopening, what safety measures they have in place and why they think Manchester is the best for nightlife and culture.
“We got some real insight, charisma and heartfelt quotes from our interviewees, and this helped to raise awareness and remind people why Manchester is just a cut about the rest.
“Our grassroots venues, nightclubs and performance spaces are helping us heal emotionally from the pandemic through enjoying shared experiences and being able to socialise properly again.”
Touching on the success of the campaign, Laura added: “It’s been ace getting positive feedback from local operators about SeeGM and so good to see people out in these places having a blast and dancing together again.
“A huge thank you to everyone who took part in the campaign for helping make SeeGM so much fun to create.”
The #SeeGM campaign may be drawing to a close, but Greater Manchester is still thriving.
So, what can you keep doing to help? Well, as the region continues to open up and adapt to the new normal over the next few months, the support of residents will still be as important as ever, so make sure you experience all the region has to offer as safely you possibly can, while respecting staff, surroundings, locals and fellow partygoers – and most of all, keep making Manchester proud.
Don’t forget to check out all our content from the #SeeGM campaign over on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as on themanc.com.
Slipknot announce huge Manchester gig on UK and European tour
Heavy metal legends Slipknot have just announced a massive tour, which will include an arena show here in Manchester.
The 2024 European and UK headline run promises to bring ‘an energy you’ve never experienced before’, the American rockers have said.
They’ll also bring Scottish heavy metal group Bleed From Within on the tour as support.
Slipknot’s tour will mark 25 years since they first performed in Europe and includes three stops up north, with a show at the Co-op Live arena in Manchester as well as gigs in Leeds and Glasgow, The Hoot reports.
Having released six albums, the band are well known for their ‘explosive’ energy and theatrics on stage, producing nuu metal sounds influenced by the likes of Kiss and Limp Bizkit amongst others over the past few decades.
The full details of the tour are yet to be released, but it is expected that the band will cover a range of hits, spanning right from their 1999 self-titled album to So Far, The End, which was released in 2022.
Speaking of the tour, Slipknot co-founder Clown said: “It has been 25 years since we first played on the continent, and we’ve been back ever since.
“The memories I have from all those times are life changing, and we’re ready to make more. I’m so excited to bring our 25th year anniversary tour to Europe and the UK. Be prepared for an energy you’ve never experienced before. It’s happening.”
Slipknot will perform at the Co-op Live Arena in Manchester on Tuesday 17 December 2024.
Slipknot 2024 tour dates in full
Thursday 5 December 2024 – Amsterdam, Netherlands - Ziggo Dome
Friday 6 December 2024 – Dortmund, Germany – Westfalenhalle
Sunday 8 December 2024 – Stuttgart, Germany – Schleyerhalle
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.