Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati
Manchester Music Scene
Manchester should jump to mind when you think of Britain’s music scene. This city has produced major big name acts, has top notch venues and a legacy steeped in the 80’s music phenomenon; it’s definitely a must-visit for every music aficionado. While in the city don’t forget to visit some of the amazing sites like the Georgian jewel that is Portico Library, The Art Gallery to see a Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece and The Central Library Reading Room, inspired by Rome’s St Peter’s Basilica.
Live Music Venues
The Bridgewater Hall is Manchester’s international concert venue. It has 3 resident orchestras, the Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata. This venue attracts class acts of all genres: classical, soul, world, opera and folk. Located at Lower Mosley Street, Manchester
Manchester Arena is one of the largest venues (in Europe) of its kind. Its size (21,000 capacity) is absolutely perfect for the sporting events it hosts (UFC, Olympics) as well as the big name acts it features, like Lady Gaga, Lionel Richie, U2, Rolling Stones and Madonna. It’s aptly called an ‘Arena,’ for it lacks that comfy intimate feel of smaller venues but makes up for it with amazing sound. Located at Victoria Station, Hunts Bank, Manchester
Soup Kitchen– canteen by day rockin’ club by night. This venue serves up jerk chicken and goat curry from scratch, paired with fab music spun by great DJ’s in its ground floor kitchen-bar space AND great traveling bands in its basement club. It’s a very popular club with an amazing sound system. Located at 31-33 Spear St., Manchester
The Castle Hotel – The Castle, a small pub with great laid-back atmosphere, has been rolling out good times in the Northern Quarter since 1776. The pub is well known in indie rock circles and has a long standing history of supporting fringe and live acts. This is the site of a legendary interview between John Peel and Ian Curtis in 1979. The stage area is in a small but cozy back room. Located at 66 Oldham St, Manchester
Matt And Phred’s – This is an outstanding jazz club that also offers folk, gypsy, electro, salsa, swing world and ska. They feature up-and-comers as well as established artists like Adele and Jamie Cullum. The jazz nights sell out fast, so it’s best to book a table or arrive before 9 pm, especially on weekends. If you like good live music coupled with good food, service, prices and atmosphere this is your place. Located at 64 Tib St, Manchester
When You Go, Don’t Miss:
Manchester Music Tours
The tour is hosted by Craig Gill, founding member and drummer in rock band Inspiral Carpets, who’ll entertain with anecdotes from his 30 years of experience including his early days with Noel Gallagher. Choose from a variety of tours offered. Tip: The Smiths/Morrissey tour includes the following historical points of interest.
Salford Lads club
Immortalized on the artwork of The Smiths’ 1986 album The Queen is Dead, Salford Lads Club, a functioning sports club, is considered one of the country’s most iconic buildings by pop and rock fans. The club has served the community since 1903 and visitors can view memorabilia such as rare photos of Morrissey and co. It is completely run by volunteers and provides opportunities for local young people in sports and arts.
The Hacienda, once the club of choice for its DJ Booth and major acts like Madonna, The Smiths, James, The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, Graeme Park, Mike Pickering, Dave Haslam and Oasis. Originally designed to be a slap in the face of established night clubs, is associated with the rise of acid house and rave music. Now, 19 years since it closed, it’s still the most talked about club in Manchester’s music history.
Afflecks – No other place defined ‘Madchester’ – the baggy, indie-dance style, and sound that made the city the music center of the universe, albeit temporarily, in the early 1990s. This four-storey warehouse of independent retailers and cafés in the Northern Quarter sells vintage, retro and customized fashions, vinyl, and homeware.
Piccadilly Records is a place to visit if you’re seeking out the best sounds of right now. It’s essentially a northern take on London’s independent Rough Trade stores, selling the best in lesser-known and underexposed new music.
Browse tours that suit your interest:
Where to stay
Radisson Blue Edwardian, formerly Free Trade Hall, opened in 1997, famous for its past history as a concert venue. Much of the original façade has been preserved. Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey and Bob Dylan played at this venue. Today this classy hotel features rooms and suites, which pay homage to its early days. Located at Peter Street, Manchester, M2 5GP
Manchester Airport: The only major global gateway to Northern England. From the airport it’s easy to take the Manchester Transpennine Express to the city centre. A one way ticket starts at £5.
Walking: Manchester is easily walkable from pretty much all venues.
Manchester Buses: If you’re looking for transit, the Metroshuttle is free and these buses link to rail stations, shopping and businesses in the center of town.
Train Stations: Manchester has four key train stations: Piccadilly, Oxford Road, Victoria, and Deansgate. Piccadilly is the main arrival point and busiest station in the city. Direct service between London and Manchester runs every 20 minutes through Virgin Trains.