An alternative Freshers’ Week guide to Manchester


Manchester has one of the largest student populations of any city in the country, and 17th-23rd September sees the return of Freshers’ Week.

There are four major universities in the Greater Manchester Area – The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford and the University of Bolton – as well as 22 other universities less than an hour away by car from the city. If you are new: hello and welcome.

With over 99,000 students across the four big institutions alone, student demand is high – but thankfully Manchester has proved itself as a city well-suited.

Here’s our alternative selection of events and activities, so you can really get to grips with the city we know and love. From clubnights and parties, to cultural events and experiences, there are so many ways to see Manchester.


Students far and wide know The Warehouse Project – brainchild of Sacha Lord, now Night Time Economy Adviser. The last 12 weeks of the year is the time when The Warehouse Project series of nights comes alive, and 2018 is the final year it will be based in its usual home of Store Street close to Piccadilly.

Many events are already sold out, though there are waiting lists. There are still some tickets for the slightly later September date of the 29th, as Solardo presents ‘Higher’.


HIT & RUN Freshers’ Fiesta 2018

Bringers of bass HIT & RUN are well known for treating students to some of the best DnB, house and jungle music around. Now they are taking over all three floors of warehouse venue Hidden for a massive Freshers’ party on Monday 17th September.

Joker will be playing 140bpm killer melodies, Aries and Jacky Murda’s international junglist project Chopstick Dubplate will be unveiled, Deep Medi’s TRUTH will be coming all the way from New Zealand, as well as many more guests. Enjoy DnB, Dubstep, Grime more all through state-of-the-art sound systems in each room. Tickets are available online and start at just £3.


Freshers’ Week at Hatch

Hatch is an innovative venue consisting of multiple traders, tucked under the Mancunian Way and ideally placed for students – located close to MMU, The University of Manchester and RNCM. Monday 17th September sees Leeds-based club night Fuzzy Logic put on a free party 11am until 4pm, a Bombard Groove pre-party on 19th September, and from 20th-22nd September Reform Radio will be taking over Hatch, with Reform residents playing tunes and an all-female DJ workshop on Friday 12pm-2pm.

Also on Friday is Rhythm Lab Live, the chance to watch two musical artists who previously haven’t met, come together for four hours to create an original piece of music incorporating the environment around them. The weekend features a Double Deer X Sprechen Takeover, whilst Sunday is ‘Relax Time’. Even better, Hatch is full of innovative food and drink traders to fuel you throughout.


Triple Cooked – weird & wonderful and day & night party

Two different parties, two of the city’s most secretive venues and one party-creator ‘Triple Cooked’ – all part of one celebratory event ideal for Freshers on Tuesday 18th September. The first section takes place 7pm-11pm at Antwerp Mansion, close to the main university campus, whilst the night party carries on at three-floor converted warehouse Hidden 11pm-3.30am.

This is the biggest Manchester event of its kind with live art, immersive décor, music and DJ tunes including the best Disco, House, Bass, Garage and Grime picks.



A night of unique of LGBT+ drama and comedy at The Lowry on 18th September, presented by Hope Theatre Company. This is set to be vibrant celebration of new writing.

Material includes a warm and funny account of Canal Street life, Jock Night – a soap set in the city’s own Eagle bar – and a series of plays including There’s Something I Need To Say by Rob Ward and Queer Talk by Daniel Waterhouse. Expect a night of entertainment championing the culture of Manchester’s Gay Village, nightlife, talent and much more.


Bee Like Banksy

Fancy a bit of something arty with your party? ‘Bee Like Banksy’ is the latest immersive art evening from PopUp Painting on 18th September, 7.30-10pm. Hosted at Northern Quarter favourite bar Common, the session will be themed around Michelle Shore’s ‘Bee like Banksy’ painting.  

An artist talks participants through the steps of creating their very own masterpiece, with art supplies provided plus a themed playlist. Even better, no prior experience is needed, so it doesn’t matter if you are an art undergrad or a complete newbie.


Manchester’s Alternative Freshers’ Fair

Fed up with the same-old freshers’ fairs of tacky merch and chain-stores? Well Manchester’s Alternative Freshers Fair is bringing something different to Font on New Wakefield Street – just by Oxford Station – on 19th September, 11am-5pm.

Presented by Red Cardinal Music, this is a showcase of all things alternative, underground, rock and metal, with exhibitors from businesses and venues including Tapestry Promotions, HAUNT Manchester, Jimmy’s and The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. Font will also be serving food throughout the day, plus there will be drinks deals and free entry.


Bombard Groove Presents O’Flynn All Night Long at The Deaf Institute

Bombard Groove – a night presenting of some of the best World Music records around – is having a launch party during Freshers’ Week in Manchester at the historic Deaf Institute, super-close to the MMU All Saints campus, 11pm-3am on 19th September.

Record selector O’Flynn will be putting together sets to impress with House, Disco and Techno from Africa and South America especially. His tunes will be spinning in the main room all night – so expect to be grooving along into the early hours. 


Arkham Asylum

Everyone likes indulging in movie soundtracks every so often, right? ‘Arkham Asylum’ is a new night every Wednesday (September dates 19th and 26th) at the venue Hive MCR, brought to the city by the combined forces of Zeitgeist club-night and Cold Hearts Club.

Expect an array of iconic music in the genres of retro pop, punk, emo and pop-punk, with plenty of film track favourites thrown in. Dress in the style of your favourite character and dance the night away, from 10.30pm onwards. There will also be DJs, immersive visuals and prizes up for grabs.


SPEAK at Jimmy’s – A night of spoken word

Photo: Shay Rowan

One of Manchester’s most-loved and maverick spoken word nights is back for its 17th edition on 20th September after a summer break, bringing headliner Steph Lonsdale to Jimmy’s bar in the Northern Quarter, and hosted by Alex Slater and Rosie Fleeshman.

This is poetry with punch, a high-adrenaline night of powerful performances with attitude, open to all and £3 on the door. It’s also the opportunity to see a headline set from Manchester based Steph Lonsdale who recently collaborated with local soul group Canter Semper, whilst the earlier open mic means you can hear some of the freshest spoken word talent in the city. SPEAK takes place on the third Thursday of every month, from 7.30pm.


Levy Market Street Food Market at The University of Manchester

Many much-loved food and drink traders are coming from Levenshulme Market for a new street food market special taking place next to Manchester Museum from 11.30am to 2.30pm every Tuesday during term-time.

It’s super-close to The University of Manchester campus but accessible to all, with a changing line-up of 18 food stalls including brilliant exotic options, awesome vegan and veggie offerings, brownies, bakes, coffee, ice cream and plenty more. 


The British Sound Project 2018

A massive indoor music event on Saturday 22nd September, featuring big-name acts inside the Victoria Warehouse – it’s like festival season all under one roof here, 1pm-10pm.

This year The British Sound Project 2018 is headlined by Franz Ferdinand, with other bands including The Cribs, Eliza and The Bear, Kyle Falconer (The View), Larkins, Reverend and The Makers, and many more. A great chance to see international as well as local talent in a characterful ex-industrial space.


A Wes Anderson Marathon

Wes Anderson is an American film maker much-loved by many, and you can binge-watch an array of his films at a seriously good-looking venue on 23rd September. Well worth the short journey on the bus or train from Manchester city centre, the historic Stockport Plaza will be showing ten hours of Wes Anderson films midday-10pm thanks to RAD Screenings.

Ranging from fan favourites to pieces from his extensive back catalogue, films showing include Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited and The Life Aquatic


Love For The Streets: Hidden Behind The Headlines

A 12-hour festival at Hidden on 23rd September, seeking to create an immersive experience of music, DJs, street food and art, whilst also raising awareness of hidden homelessness – and the shocking statistic that 62% of those counted as homeless are living in typically substandard temporary accommodation.

The event is presented by Love For The Streets who are determined to party hard as well as raise awareness about a passionate cause. Ad Hoc Records, Freerange X Red Eye Carnival and Sauce x Jazzhop will all be presenting a range of artists and DJs and there will also be live art, workshops and the opportunity to find out more about local charities. 



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