We all know Manchester’s one of the most exciting cities in the world, and its inclusivity diversity is reflected in the raft of events and festivals held throughout the year.
Chinese New Year
Manchester welcomes the Year of the Pig when the Chinese New Year celebrations kick-off on 7th February. A giant piglet adorned with a coat of currency will take centre stage in St Ann’s Square. There will be a Chinese street food market across the four days, a giant Golden Dragon in Exchange Square, the chance to try your hand at Chinese crafts in the Arndale, and the spectacular Dragon Parade to draw festivities to a close on the Sunday.
Wizardry School: An Interactive Magical Experience
Calling all Harry Potter fans. You’ve read the books and watched the movies, now it’s your chance to channel your inner Potter and have a go at concocting your very own potions. On 23rd February, the magical Gorton Monastery will play host to an interactive experience. The day consists of Wand-Duelling, Potion-Making, Herbology and Secrets Behind the Magic lessons, with lunch in the Great Hall, and culminates in a graduation ceremony presided over by a familiar face from the fantastical franchise.
Manchester Irish Festival and St Patrick’s Day Parade
Order a Guinness, grab a Leprechaun hat and celebrate St Patrick’s Day on 17th March. The city’s Irish Festival begins on 1st March and there will be comedy nights, Irish dancing and music across the city. The Manchester Irish Festival Parade will take place on Sunday 10th starting from the Irish World Heritage Centre at midday and winding through the city’s streets for two hours. Guaranteed good craic.
Tattoo Tea Festival
Whether you’re obsessed with inking, or simply intrigued, get yourself over to EventCity on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd March where over 300 tattoo artists will gather under one roof for the annual Tattoo Tea Festival. Aside from the obvious, there’s the fire show Pyrohex, body painting and bumper cars. Kids under 14 go free.
We Are Lager Festival
The country’s largest lager festival will be taking up residence at Upper Campfield Market Hall from 4th to 7th April. Celebrating all that’s great about lager with options from across the world as well as closer to home, there will also be food from the city’s most popular street food vendors and music curated by Funkademia.
Sidewinder Oldskool Summer Festival
Take yourself back to summers past at the Oldskool Summer Festival taking place on 4th May at the Bowlers Exhibition Centre. The line-up’s yet to be announced but promises 12 hours of raving across five arenas. Tickets on sale from 14th January.
Great Manchester Run
If you’re looking for a new fitness goal, then consider signing up for the Great Manchester Run, either the half marathon or 10k, which both take place on the city’s streets on 19th May. Even if running isn’t your thing, it’s worth heading down to the city centre on the day to support the thousands taking part and simply soak up the atmosphere.
Manchester Jazz Festival
Fill the second bank holiday in May with music at Manchester’s Jazz Festival. Given Albert Square is out of bounds for the foreseeable future, this year the main hub will be along St Ann’s Square, site of the city’s first jazz festival, and Exchange Street from 23rd to 27th May. Other venues include Night and Day, Royal Northern College of Music, St Ann’s Church and The Deaf Institute with performers such as pianists Tippett and Bourne, electronic soul quartet Noya Roya and vocalist Emilia Martensson.
Summer in the city begins with Parklife Festival, which returns to Heaton Park on 8th and 9th June and this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. The line-up has yet to be announced but with the likes of Liam Gallagher, Lorde, Pharrell Williams’ N.E.R.D headlining last year, it’s little wonder the tickets tend to sell fast. Keep an eye out for news at the festival website.
The annual Manchester Day returns on 23rd June when people descend on the streets to celebrate all that’s made – and makes – the city great. This year’s theme has yet to be revealed but we can expect an incredible parade and a rich variety of performances that reflect the city’s cosmopolitan communities.
Manchester International Festival
From 4th to 21st July, we get to showcase the city when the biennial Manchester International Festival returns. There will be events across the city, including Yoko Ono’s first major work for the city, Bells for Peace. Grammy-nominated Janelle Monae takes to the stage in the Castlefield Bowl, one of only two UK dates she’s playing this year; music, dance and film combine in Tree, Idris Elba’s collaboration with Kwame Kwei-Armah, the Artistic Director of London’s Young Vic; while Skepta invites festival-goers to embark on the immersive Dystopia987.
Sounds of the City
Watch sundown while listening to some brilliant music at this year’s Sounds of the City, which returns to the Castlefield Bowl this year. The Wombats, Elbow, The National, Kylie, The Kooks and Hacienda Classical have all been confirmed to appear between 6th and 13th July.
Manchester Pride Festival
The team behind Manchester Pride Festival have shaken things up for this year’s event, which takes place from 23rd to 26th August and promises to ‘look and feel radically different to previous years’. It will be made up of the Gay Village Gathering, Superbia Weekend’s conversations, workshops and screenings, the Candlelit Vigil, the new Youth Pride Manchester and Manchester Pride Live to be held in Mayfield for the first time, as well as the iconic Pride Parade on 24th August.
Manchester Literature Festival
Get those creative juices flowing this autumn. First known as the Manchester Poetry Festival, the event has expanded over the years to encompass contemporary writing, innovative literature and encourages people of all ages to engage in creative writing and reading. The main event takes place in October with the line-up announced later in the year – but expect acclaimed authors and poets popping up, workshops and readings.