Once a cotton spinning mill in Salford, now a product of gentrified Greater Manchester among a run down high street, it would be almost too easy for this gig venue, bar, art space and recording studio to attract the most pretentious 'scenester kids' that Manchester has to offer. Yet somehow the crowds are always friendly and welcoming and never without a healthy amount of grizzled music journalists in their midst, all just eager to hear the best gigs being performed in their city. Putting on acts from Beach House to Lightning Bolt to The Ex, music fans will find themselves walking the long walk from Manchester city centre back to this venue time and time again.
Ok, Ill be honest I do not travel light when I come to festivals. I respect people who come to festivals with one bag but that's just not me. I bring everything and I like bringing everything. I like making a festival home that my friends and I can all start off from and end up back at. There are a few important requirements when making my festival home: trolley, big tent, gazebo, fire and dressing up bag. Firstly, the trolley, or ideally a wheel barrow, is important as you have to get ALL the stuff from the car to your chosen camping area. The trolley has to have big strong tyres, grannys shopping trolleys will loose wheels/ fall apart. My advice is to think industrial strength.
Secondly, the tent. I like a big tent with a communal area where people can hang out, get dressed in while standing up (its really awkward to get dressed sitting down) and store stuff so your not sleeping wrapped around your rucksack! So, I recomend a tent with a main communal area and small pods off it.
Thirdly, the focal point of this festival home has to be a fire. We bring one of those pot belly ones or a bucket BBQ. Then all you need is lots of charcoal and you can have a nice warming fire first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
Fourthly, a gazebo. The fire goes in the middle, everyone's tents go around it and you have a lovely central, covered area where you can hang out! Cheap ones can be purchased for £10 but just beware that a gust of wind can send them hurtling across the camping area!
Lastly, a dressing up bag. I realise that this is not strictly part of the structure of a festival home but for me its the heart! Its contents, which must contain many tyes of head wear, are a constant joy not only to the owner but to all those friends who 'forgot' to bring or 'don't do' dressing up. The fact that it can be topped up from stalls at the festival is even better.
For me festivals are about fun and friends and our festival home has always provided the foundations to both.
PS: duct tape is really handy to have with you. It can be used to mend tents, mark your area, tape toilet doors shut (tape them closed while your in there and then pull it off when your done) etc.
Home to the world famous Irish music session fronted by the award-winning Grace Kelly.
Holder of the world record for biggest Irish session held in a pub.
Session every Wednesday, live Irish music every Saturday and Sunday. Friendly staff, cosy atmosphere.
Monday 11am - 11pm
Tuesday 11am - 11pm
Thursday 11am - 11pm
Friday 11am - 12midnight
Saturday 11am - 12midnight
Union Irish Music Lounge
845 Stockport road
0161 224 1271
Although dark, smokey and always busy on a weekend this place is spot on. The music makes this place and the atmosphere just tops it off. It seems strange to go to a place and see everyone smiling! They have a good selection of beers and cocktails, some of the shooters that they do are really good so I'd recommend giving those a go. Bar staff friendly and know what they're doing.
But the eclectic music has a strange way of always making you dance. Beatles followed by some ska followed by elvis then some country, doesn't work you say? It does in Mojo.
PS - Make sure you check the map before you go here, as it's tucked down a dodgy looking backstreet!
19 Back Bridge St
Manchester, M3 2PB
World class orchestras, giving live performances all year round at the Bridgwater Hall. As well as giving fantastic symphonic performances, the programs often include concertos with famous soloists from all over the world. Recently we saw Sabine Meyer performing the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic at the Bridgwater Hall and it was a fantastic performance. I think it was also broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
A self-proclaimed 'eating and drinking palace', Trof is a miscellaneously decorated bar and eatery in the heart of Fallowfield. The staff and guests are sometimes a little too cool for school, and sometimes seem to care more about the playlist than the customer, but the hearty food is a winner - including the best vegetarian breakfast in Manchester. A recent enlargement means the upstairs area features live music - DJ sets, live bands and open mic - virtually every night.
2a Landcross Rd, 0161 224 0467
Bar. Perfect place for pre and post Academy gig drinks. Friendly staff, good drinks and music. Chat to the artists who hang out there before and after gigs.
Oxford Road, just along from Manchester University Student's Union, The Academy.
The best independent record shop in Manchester specialising in world music, country, folk, jazz etc. Nick and Simon are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable and happy to order if it's not in the shop. Stop being lazy and ordering on the net and come here instead!
61 Thomas Street
0161 833 0003
Matt & Phredds is an excellent jazz bar on Tib Street with live jazz every day (except maybe Monday). It has a wide range of European beers and international wines as well as really nice food - Middle Eastern style - pittas, olives etc as well as pizzas and various other snacks.
To get there head north along church street and go right at the intersection with Tib street, it's a black door on the right.
It's a cheap local Manchester bar right near UMIST and Piccadilly. By day old mans pub; by night alternative, vintage crew, indies local. If you can't be bothered getting dressed up, go here. Doubles £2! Staff friendly, music varied and at weekends and some week nights themed club nights are held downstairs. They're good fun.
Just near Spar off Piccadilly approach rd. 5 mins from Canal st. 2 mins from Granby row, 2 mins from UMIST. 5 mins from Oxford Rd.
Manchester’s concert venue; home to the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata; stopping-off point for touring classical, jazz, world and folk stuff. Don’t believe all that hype about Birmingham’s Symphony Hall; this is the best music space in Britain. Up the road is Manchester Art Gallery, with a room packed with Pre-Raphaelites.
The Bridgewater Hall; Tel: 0161 950 0000; www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk
A sweaty cavern tucked underneath Oxford Street, the Music Box is famous for two of the best regular nights in Manchester. The first Saturday of the month brings Mr Scruff's 'Keep it Unreal' night, with funky electro in the front and Scruff's customary tea room in the back. On the last Saturday of the month, the Unabombers take over for 'Electric Chair', with an acid house theme drawing in a more mature crowd from the Hacienda era.
65 Oxford Street, www.themusicbox.info
String quartet in residence at the University of Manchester; these Brussels-based musicians give some of the most exciting concerts around, from classics (Beethoven, Schubert) to twentieth century and contemporary composers you won't hear anywhere else in this country. They're also doing a complete Shostakovich cycle in November.
A brilliant, FREE and (for not much longer!!)largely undiscovered night in the heart of the city that caters to all good music tastes. Be it discerning pop, funk, cosmic disco, electric-soul, hip-hop, acid RnB, country and good old rock 'n' roll, the DJs seem to provide it all in one breathless set!! Highly recommended.
New Wakefield Street (off Oxford Road by Thirsty Scholar)
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