(C) BBC - Photographer: BBC

For years people have claimed Manchester is music capital of the UK, based on its impressive heritage of artists.

But the city’s current music culture is clearly worth celebrating because Manchester has been named rock and indie capital of the UK, based on impressive figures covering the last five years. 

The announcement was made by event ticket search engine TickX, following research into which UK city has held the most rock, indie and alternative events since 2015. The researched showed Manchester has held a whopping 2,902 shows – more than any city in the country outside of London.

Pic Paul Husband Photography

It’s no wonder Manchester ranks so highly. The city attracts a number of touring rock and indie musicians, as well as having plenty of current homegrown talent of its own – with local bands including The Blinders, PINS, Cabbage, Everything Everything, The Slow Readers Club, LIINES, ILL, and Brix & the Extricated, who recently chatted to us about why they had chosen Manchester’s independent venue Night People for their album launch gig. 

TickX’s research also found that the number of events hosted by Manchester’s small and mid-level venues is a big reason for the city’s music capital status. Manchester has more venues in the leaderboard of the UK’s top 25 busiest rock venues than any other city.

Manchester Academy was found to be the city’s busiest rock venue of all with 349 events, hosting the fifth most rock and indie events in the UK.

Other Manchester venues in the top 25 were the Deaf Institute (309 events), the O2 Ritz (250), Soup Kitchen (236) and Gorilla (226). Other thriving venues for rock and indie in the city range from the dark depths of Rebellion at the end of Deansgate, to the bustling basements of The Peer Hat and Jimmy’s, as well as majestic music spaces like the Night and Day Café.

“It’s clear that Manchester’s vibrant rock and indie scene stems from its being blessed with a huge variety of active venues,” says the TickX report.

2018 has also seen the opening of new music venue YES, and a huge new multi-level music bar is currently being created in the Northern Quarter.

“Whether they’re playing in the striking atmosphere of the Albert Hall or the sweat-box intimacy of The Castle Hotel, almost every rock and indie musician worth their salt passes through Manchester during their UK tours,” TickX added.

Manchester also boasted a far higher density of rock and indie events relative to the city’s size, with only Brighton (7.46) holding more rock gigs per 1,000 people than Manchester’s 7.33 – no mean feat given Manchester’s far greater population.

Manchester’s thriving music festival scene may well play a factor too, considering that festivals unfold throughout the city all year round, bringing an even bigger range of gigs. We’ve already seen the likes of WAM, Neighbourhood, Sonder and Sounds Of The City, whilst upcoming festivals include Off The Record and Foundations.

“Manchester has long asserted itself as the country’s rock and indie capital and now our statistics prove it,” said Steve Pearce, TickX co-founder and CEO.

“With so many quality gigs to go to in the city, it’s easy to see why Manchester is such a big draw for live music fans across the UK.”

You can find out more about TickX and their research into Manchester’s rock and indie scene here. Or just go out to a gig and see for yourself.

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