Bringing the best of music, food, drink and culture (whatever it is that floats your boat!), the summer schedule is looking pretty packed this year, and we have a feeling it’s gonna be a pretty special season. From food-filled havens to some of the biggest music events around, here’s our guide to the best festivals in Manchester to attend this summer.
Music festivals in Manchester
1. Parklife, Heaton Park – 10th & 11th June
Considered one of the most noteworthy music festivals in the Manchester calendar, Parklife is always a weekend of fun. With many house, dance and techno acts having top billing, it’s a festival with a difference that provides all the comforts of your usual music festival, including street food, great drinks and more popular acts on the main stage. Past Parklife lineups have included the likes of Stormzy, The 1975 and Annie Mac, and of course, this year’s roster is one to look forward to. Find tickets here.
2. Bluedot Festival, Jodrell Bank Observatory – 20th – 23rd July
Mixing science, sustainability and music, Bluedot has maintained its roots at the beautiful Jodrell Bank, welcoming the likes of Pavement, Grace Jones and Roisin Murphy this year. The environment is said to be particularly friendly, with campers having a shared interest in music, astrology and sustainable practices, and with talks, performances and interactive activities going on all day and night. Don’t miss out, find tickets here.
3. Manchester Jazz Festival – 19th – 28th May
The city’s longest-running music festival, Manchester Jazz Festival returns this 19th – 28th May, covering some of the city’s favourite venues, including Escape to Freight Island, Matt & Phreds, St Ann’s Church, Band on the Wall, NQJazz@The Yard and Forsyths. This year there’s a huge selection of music going on around Manchester, with festival venues such as the First Street main stage and HOME stage being completely free to enter. Other ticketed events will be going on around the city, and you can view the full programme and grab tickets for Manchester Jazz Festival 2023 here.
4. Neighbourhood Weekender, Warrington – 27th & 28th May
Just outside of Manchester in Victoria Park, Warrington, Neighbourhood Weekender festival will this year be welcoming the likes of Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, The Kooks and Pulp, treating visitors to the full experience with fairground rides, masses of food and drink, and even it’s very own pub! The vibes are always immaculate, so see if you can get yourself a ticket here.
5. Moovin Festival, Stockport – 25th – 27th August
Moovin is one of the most sustainable music festivals in Manchester, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality. Of course, it’s first and foremost a music festival, and the growing list of local and acclaimed artists is pretty impressive for the little farm. The likes of Craig Charles, Hacienda legend DJ Paulette and Graeme Park are on the lineup this year, ensuring a day full of dancing and fun for all the family. Find tickets here.
Arts and culture festivals in Manchester
6. Colors Festival, Salford – 19th May
The stunning Colors Festival is making its UK debut right here in Manchester, celebrating all things street art. The fun-filled exhibition caters to all and if you don’t believe us, believe the 100,000 visitors of the Paris edition. Colors Festival in Manchester is set to display the works of 30 established and local artists on a huge scale. The event will be taking over Regent Retail Park in Salford, with the 800m² space being completely reimagined. Colors Festival is open to all from May 19 and you can get your tickets here.
7. The Manchester Flower Festival – 26th – 29th May
Now in its fifth year, Manchester’s floral takeover attracts tens of thousands of additional visitors to the city centre and launches the summer event season in the city. Taking place across the late May Bank Holiday weekend, Manchester Flower Festival transforms the city centre with themed decorations and green installations, alongside live music, entertainment, alfresco food and drink, talks, demonstrations and workshops. Take a stroll around and drop in and out of local street vendors at the festival, only paying for what you choose – which can be nothing at all!
8. Manchester Festival of Libraries – 7th – 11th June
The Festival of Libraries will celebrate the literary scene that Manchester has to offer, running from Wednesday, 7th – Sunday, 11th June all over the region. It will be full of exhibitions, performances, talks, workshops and art installations that all reflect Greater Manchester’s huge pride in its libraries and their value to their communities. The events are scheduled to take place in the whole of Greater Manchester and every one of them is free.
9. Manchester International Festival – 29th June – 16th July
MIF23 provides the first opportunity for audiences to experience Factory International‘s new venue, the largest new national cultural project since the opening of Tate Modern in 2000, ahead of its official opening in October.
The festival will be the biggest yet, with the best of music, art, theatre, film and so much more on display in our city, including appearances from international superstar Janelle Monáe and Greater Manchester legend Maxine Peake, in addition to a jaw-dropping exhibition from surrealist Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. There’s so much going on across the city over the two-week festival, covering countless venues and a litany of events, so find out more and get your tickets here.
Community festivals in Manchester
10. Didsbury Festival – 10th June
A wonderful festival for all the family in and around South Manchester, Didsbury Festival is an annual shindig full to the brim with fun, live music and activities for all the family. The festival includes a carnival procession and wonderful stalls boasting local produce and artists, as well as face painting and dance performances from local schools and musical groups. Fancy dress is Didsbury Festival’s bread and butter, as well as exhilarating funfair rides and attractions, perfect for a family day out, so keep an eye on the social media channels for more information closer to the time.
11. Góbéfest – 23rd – 25th June
This June 23rd – 25th, Góbéfest, a huge celebration of Székler culture, is coming to Manchester, bringing food, drink, live folk music and dancing to Cathedral Gardens. There, Mancs can learn more about the Székler people, while enjoying native grub such as langos, Romanian sausages (also known as mititiei), grilled pork steaks, Hungarian honey bread and more. Find out more here.
12. Manchester Pride – 25th – 28th August
The LGBTQ+ community and its allies can celebrate equality at this August bank holiday‘s Manchester Pride festival – which will involve the iconic parade, Village party, touching vigils to those who have lost their lives to HIV and AIDs, and of course the much-anticipated Pride Live concerts. The city will stand together against discrimination while celebrating the liberation movement and Manchester Pride charity. Find out more and get your tickets here.
Food and drink festivals in Manchester
13. GRUB Carnival Travelling Food Festival – Monthly in the summer
The first GRUB Carnival of 2023 pitched up in its new location in Wythenshawe Civic Centre on Saturday 22nd April, utilising a huge retail unit for indoor seating, bars and activities. The opening street food line up included Burger Bros smashed burgers, Dough So Good on pizza duty, Feast Of The East bringing Mediterranean treats and House Of Wingz serving up top wings with Neighbourhood Coop.
The GRUB Carnival is a monthly affair and info about the next festival will be posted on the GRUB Carnival social media, and every festival of the summer will be introduced over there.
14. Deansgate Mews Festival – 26th – 28th May
Hosted by Manchester’s ultimate dining and leisure destination, Great Northern Warehouse, the free-to-attend Deansgate Mews street festival offers live music, family-friendly activities, independent market traders and plenty of space for al fresco dining and sunshine sippin’! Much to the relief of regulars, the festival returns this Friday 26th. – Sunday 28th May.
Expect an outdoor pop-up stage at popular neighbourhood bar Lions Den, which will host 30+ live local acts across the three days, alongside food and drinks offers from the restaurants and bars situated on Deansgate Mews including The Mews Bar, Another Hand, Acai & the Tribe and Low Four. Find out more here.
15. Summer Beer Thing at Kampus – 30th June – 2nd July
Following a successful event last year at city centre hotspot Kampus, Summer Beer Thing is set to bring back beer, food and music to the waterside destination again this year, as part of a three-day garden festival with some of the best local brewers. Summer Beer Thing will be a celebration of all things beer, and is set to take place between June 30 and July 2 below Kampus’ bustling bungalow. Entry is free, and you can find more info here.
16. Manchester Craft Beer Festival – 21st & 22nd July
Taking place over two days in July (Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd), Manchester Craft Beer Festival will pop up at the historic Depot Mayfield – which has been recently redeveloped as an urban events space, attracting huge events such as Warehouse Project as well as screening sports matches. And now, beer lovers will get the chance to enjoy the much-loved venue as it’s filled with over 50 world-class breweries offering a taste of their fantastic craft beers.
In addition to a whole fleet of breweries to get familiar with – including Pomona Island, Manchester Union Brewery, Queer Brewing, Siren Craft Brew and more – guests will be treated to DJ sets yet to be announced. Of course, you’ll need something to balance out all that beer, which is why there will be a variety of the North West’s finest chefs, restaurants and popups on hand to help line your tums throughout the event. What’s more, all your beer is included in the price of the ticket! Get tickets here.
17. Heaton Park Food and Drink Festival – 12th & 13th August
Following the first-ever Heaton Park Food and Drink Festival success, this year’s festival will land in Manchester between the 12th and 13th August this summer, bringing tons of delicious Northern grub to one space. Boasting live music, tons of activities and, of course, plenty of food to go at, guests will be able to try out new cuisines made by talented street food vendors and shop delicious baked treats and more. Find out more here.
18. Festa Italiana – 25th – 27th August
Salvi’s Festa Italiana is expected to return this August bank holiday, bringing an infusion of Italian culture to Cathedral Gardens. Like years before, the free festival will consist of an array of fantastic local Italian food traders, alongside live music, masterclasses, and an array of one-off special events. Stay tuned for more details and follow their social media channels.
Also published on Medium.