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Manchester festivals: a starter pack

8 months ago

When spring hits, festival season starts in Manchester and the atmosphere in the city centre goes up a few gears.

Head into town on any weekend between May and October and there’ll likely be something going on with niche music festivals, flower festivals, beer festivals, library festivals and horror festivals all part of our annual calendar of celebrations.

Here we’ve gathered together the seven biggest events to hit the city every year (or every two years in the case of MIF). These are the ones that bring audiences and artists from far and wide to our city, and light up the calendar for locals too. Which ones will you be going to?

  • Yayoi Kusama who will be exhibiting at Manchester International Festival in 2023

    Manchester International Festival


    Manchester International Festival, or MIF, is the city’s biennial arts festival. It’s two weeks of the year where you’re never quite sure what you might stumble across in the city’s parks, squares and unused spaces.

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  • Manchester Jazz Festival 2022
    Manchester City Centre

    Manchester Jazz Festival


    Manchester Jazz Festival brings the best new emerging jazz artists, homegrown talent, and living jazz legends to the city centre every May for ten days of live performances, many of which are free.

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  • Actor and author Richard Armitage who is appearing at the Manchester Literature Festival 2023.
    Manchester City Centre

    Manchester Literature Festival


    Manchester Literature Festival has grown considerably in size and stature since it debuted back in 2006. Held annually in October, it’s now known as one of the north’s leading festivals for book-lovers.

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  • Alison Goldfrapp - one of the headline performers at Manchester Pride 2023
    Gay Village

    Manchester Pride


    Held annually over the August Bank Holiday weekend, Manchester Pride is a joyful, loud and proud celebration of queer identity and expression. The festival is one of the most important LGBTQ+ events in the country – but it isn’t just one sun-soaked weekend. Manchester Pride is also a charity that supports all areas of LGBTQ+ lives in the city all year round.

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  • Tyler the Creator at Parklife Festival in Manchester

    Parklife Festival


    It’s the big one, at least for the under-25s amongst us. Parklife is a huge two-day music festival held every June at Heaton Park. Featuring top artists across the worlds of electronic, dance, rap and pop, it brings a massive number of music fans to the city in all their neon-wearing, glitter-loving glory.

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  • We Invented the Weekend festival includes live DJs
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