Festival Square is back with a free daily programme of Greater Manchester talent

Manchester International Festival is offering three stages of talent with everything from DJ sets to family friendly gigs

Manchester International Festival is now well underway, with more work than ever in public spaces around the city.

From a giant sculpture of Big Ben in Piccadilly Gardens made from 20,000 books, to a series of outdoor artworks that caption the world around us, much of this year’s festival is free to attend.

And Festival Square, the hub of the festival in the heart of the city, is back until 18th July in a new COVID-19 safe seated format in Cathedral Gardens with a free daily programme of Greater Manchester talent.

Following a public callout for Manchester-based performers earlier this year, 30 acts from Greater Manchester have been selected to perform during the festival alongside hundreds of artists from across the region and beyond. 

Festival Square highlights this week

Across four nights, BBC Introducing selects four of Manchester’s rising stars: singer, songwriter and producer Caoilfhionn Rose on Thursday 8th July, electro dance music quartet Porij on Saturday 10th July, singer songwriter Ellysse Mason on Sunday 11th July, and R&B artist Femi Tahiru on Thursday 15th July.

Also presenting some of the finest young emerging talent in the city, multi award winning online radio station Reform Radio and long-time collaborators Thirty Pound Gentleman present nine performances from afrobeat to French electro, over three days on 9th, 13th and 17th July.

Bringing the party atmosphere, Manchester’s infamous LGBTQ+ club night Homoelectric also returns to Festival Square for one night only on Saturday 10th July with DJ sets from residents alongside performances from House of Ghetto. 

The legendary DJ Mix-Stress of RebeccaNeverBecky presents a night of forgotten Sunday jams in her new concept Queer Latifah on Sunday 11th July in collaboration with DJ Deb Jump. 

Further DJ sets on Festival Square include Jane Weaver on Wednesday 7th July and Matthew Halsall on Thursday 8th July.

Family friendly and streamed events 

From 12pm-2pm every Saturday and Sunday during the festival there will be free family activities on Festival Square including family friendly gigs and craft workshops.

And don’t forget that all day, every day, there’ll be food and drink in the Square from Heathcote&Co, Honest Crust, Eat Well MCR, Stellar and JW Lees.

And for the first time, select performances on Festival Square programme will be streamed to people’s homes all over the world via United We Stream, Greater Manchester’s world leading cultural streaming platform set up by Stream GM to support the city region’s night time economy, cultural organisations and charities.

Three stages of talent

“Festival Square is back once again as a showcase of what Manchester and beyond has to offer the world,” said Rivca Burns, Festival Square Producer at MIF.

“Being able to bring such a wide array of incredibly talented and diverse musicians to not one, but three stages in Cathedral Gardens this year is such an honour and, we hope, a true reflection of this city. 

“We hope that this year Festival Square will provide a safe and free space where anyone feels welcome to reconnect and celebrate.”

Manchester International Festival (MIF) will take place safely in indoor and outdoor locations across Greater Manchester until 18th July. It features a vibrant programme of original new work from across the spectrum of visual and performing arts and music by artists from over 20 countries. 


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