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.
The festival aims to celebrate regional jazz artists and new and original work through commissions and premieres. Up-and-coming musicians and new talent is supported year-round through MJF’s talent development programmes that have helped launch the careers of a host of artists.
The first Manchester Jazz Festival took place in the summer of 1996, with some financial help from Manchester City Council, a brewery, the Musicians Union and the music department of what was then the North West Arts Board. It consisted of a programme of nine bands, a DJ, off-stage activities and some enthusiastic beer sampling, which still remains at the heart of the festival today.
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 for Manchester Jazz Festival 2023 here.
In addition to wonderful performances over the nine-day festival, there will also be a couple of opportunities to join the MJF 2023 Piano Trail walking tour with Free Manchester Walking Tours. On Saturday 13th May and Saturday 27th May from 12pm – 2pm, Free Manchester Walking Tours will follow Manchester Jazz Festival’s famous piano trail across the city centre; exploring the fabulous interiors of Manchester’s theatres, art galleries and music venues, as well as uncovering secret street art and learning about the origins of a famous Manchester fruit drink (bet you can’t guess what it is).
Visitors are instructed to meet Josh at the entrance to Victoria Train Station, with the tour starting promptly at 12pm, lasting approximately two hours – and be warned, wear comfortable shoes! The trail covers many public areas in Manchester, including its many train stations, each with its very own special MJF piano, often with a pianist sitting behind them. It’s a truly unique tour, so get your tickets here.
The festival is set to be full of amazing music, fun and great local food and drink, so be sure to saunter around the festival site during the nine-day stretch!
All information, times and lineup are available to view here.