Grab your wellies, warm cans and wafer thin sleeping bags, festival season is upon us. This month it all kicks off with Manchester’s homegrown Parklife festival as it returns to Heaton Park for two-days from 10 - 11 June. Download takes place across the same weekend, for those more Slipknot than Little Simz. Later in the month global festival favourite Glastonbury returns for June, too, this time headlined by Elton John, Arctic Monkeys and Guns N’ Roses.
However, if you’re looking for something a bit more local, our below list brings together some of the most exciting bands, artists and DJs heading to the city this month. From an intimate evening with DJ Streaks at Rebellion to the fiery sound of Brighton punks Lambrini Girls at YES basement, we’re spoilt for choice in Manchester yet again.
Read on for our round-up of the best gigs and club nights in Manchester this May.
Grace Kelly at The Eagle Inn
Friday 2 June
Celebrating the launch of latest EP Table For One, New Zealand-born Grace Kelly is playing her first ever headline UK show at the Eagle Inn at the start of the month. Moving to Manchester just over a year ago to pursue her musical career, Table For One is a country-influenced reference to the singer’s journey as she travelled from one side of the world to the other.
Andy Shauf at New Century
Friday 2 June
If slow indie anthems are your bag, Andy Shauf brings his haunting music to New Century this June. The Canadian singer/songwriter is a multi-instrumentalist that incorporates his talents on clarinet and piano into his entirely self performed and self recorded albums. The result is a multi-layered and sometimes dark portrayal of wispy indie pop.
DJ Streaks at Rebellion
Saturday 3 June
The man behind jubilant summer tracks such as Greatest Love and The Best Rapper Alive, DJ Streaks isn’t a stranger to Manchester’s nightlife. Inspired by some of electronic music's biggest pioneers, including Daft Punk, his sets celebrate the best thing about the dance floor - letting loose with a bunch of like-minded partygoers.
Dawuna at The White Hotel
Saturday 3 June
Based in New York, Dawuna’s work caught the attention of many after he dropped his debut into the warped online world back in 2020. Essentially a soul record, what soon followed was 2021’s Glass Lit Dream, a flawlessly produced R&B record that, in turn, catapulted the star further into the fame ether. His music is woozy yet poppy with even some soothing ASMR style vocals dropped in too.
Arielle Free at Joshua Brooks
Saturday 3 June
A huge radio star, Scottish DJ Arielle Free has grown from humble Glaswegian house parties to being an admirable female figure on the scene. Often found behind the mic on Radio 1, she’ll head to Joshua Brooks in June, a club that’s carried the flag for the city’s undisputed leading role in nightlife. Expect house, disco and electro across her six-hour set.
Swim Deep at Manchester Academy
Tuesday 6 June
Shaping the face of the early 2010 B-Town scene and a following of fans with pastel coloured locks, oversized dungarees and a hankering for a collection of bubblegum pink vinyl, Swim Deep are back on the road again. With no new albums since 2019’s Emerald Classics, the band’s latest tour will bring a tear to the eye of any early fans desperate to hear She Changes The Weather and The Sea live once again.
Jitwam at Band On The Wall
Tuesday 6 June
Psychedelic jazz, punk and disco - these are just some of the genres used to describe Brooklyn-based Jitwam. Across his career he’s collaborated with Folamour, Detroit Swindles, and now heads up his own The Jazz Diaries label, which looks after artists including Elle Shimada, chalo and Horatio Luna. His own work is electronic and beautifully melodic, with latest release Hollatchu, currently looping around almost every radio station.
Saturday 10 - Sunday 11 June
Fluorescent Pretty Little Thing two pieces, watermelon vapes and crushed cans of hard seltzer can only mean one thing - Parklife is back at Heaton Park this June. Complete with a stacked two-day line-up of both local and global artists, the festival is bringing stadium sell-outs The 1975 to the city, alongside dance music pioneers The Prodigy and Moston’s very own rap star Aitch. Joining the bill toppers are a number of top picks from the dance floors of the city, including; Interplanetary Criminal, Chimpo and DJ Paulette.
Evan Baggs at The Loft
Saturday 11 June
Calling Berlin home can often mean that you’re already at the top of your game. New York-born but now Berlin-based DJ Evan Baggs can confidently confirm this, as the mixer is known for his effortlessly diverse sets that combine house, techno, electro and acid. Taking to The Loft in June, he’ll be joined by a yet-to-be-announced special guest.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Albert Hall
Thursday 15 June
Marking their first tour in four years, Unknown Mortal Orchestra return to the Albert Hall to celebrate latest album, V. The fifth record from the Auckland-based trio takes listeners on a journey down the sun-kissed Hawaiian coastline via soft punk and psychedelia, drawing on singer Ruban Nielson’s heritage. A new era for the band, V is probably their most personal and emotional release yet.
Lambrini Girls at YES
Thursday 15 June
Fearless Brighton trio Lambrini Girls are about to release their debut EP You’re Welcome, something that’s already pricked up the ears of punk legends including Iggy Pop. Influenced by the likes of Bikini Kill, the band combines furious lyrics with punk riffs, but there’s a lot more to this trio’s performance. Part of what they call a “problematic music scene”, Lambrini Girls are also looking to create a safer and more inclusive space for everyone who is a part of the DIY live music industry.
Darkside at New Century
Friday 16 June
Dreamy alt rock band Darkside is the project of electronic musician Nicolás Jaar and multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington. Drifting onto the scene back in 2013 with debut album Psychic, the band tick all of the prog rock boxes with their mysterious, lightweight music that provides an unwound ambience difficult to find anywhere else.
Green Island Festival Vol 1
Saturday 17 June
Bringing a line-up of bands and DJs to a garden centre in Hulme, Green Island Festival is a homegrown celebration of arts, music and culture. Championing underrepresented and emerging artists, June marks the first instalment of the party, headlined by ferocious South African seven-piece BCUC. Across the afternoon, partygoers can also refuel with food from pop-up stalls offering steamed dumplings and Japanese fusion food from Didsbury’s Midori, as well as a whole host of vegan delights from Boneless Brigade.
Frankie and The Witch Fingers at Projekts Skatepark
Saturday 17 June
American garage rockers Frankie and The Witch Fingers are the next band to take to the peaks and troughs of Projekts skatepark. Loaded with chugging riffs, their music is a riotous exploration of heaviness that leaves you dripping with sweat and shirtless post gig. Hosted by Manchester-based record label Sour Grapes, the new music venue is a DIY punk dream.
Allison Russel at Band On The Wall
Wednesday 21 June
Four time Grammy nominated singer, activist and poet Allison Russell is a multi-faceted force in music. Co-founder of Our Native Daughters and one half of Birds of Chicago, the Montreal-born performer released her debut solo album and musical memoir Outside Child in 2021. Her work is honest and open, melodic and emotional, covering themes of family, identity and survival.
Under One Roof at YES
Thursday 22 June
Manchester’s inclusive nightclub for adults with learning difficulties is back this June. Hosted at YES, Under One Roof opens up the dance floor to adults with learning and physical disabilities who feel otherwise unable to attend clubbing events in Manchester, creating a safe and welcoming environment. Founded by Alice Woods, one quarter of the team behind Meat Free, she created the event to help people overcome the physical access to clubs and the overwhelming new environments that cause a big portion of society to miss out on partying.
BENT at The Derby Brewery Arms
Saturday 24 June
Back at the DBA, BENT describes itself as an “offbeat day rave for queerdos”. Taking over both the indoor party-den and outdoor courtyard, the euphoric party raises money for LGBTQIA+ charities through line-ups of local and global DJs. In the past, headliners have included Slacky, Aiden Francis, Esmé and Kiss Me Again. June's line-up is still yet to be announced, but they've hinted that a special guest will be joining the rave in Manchester's 'strange' quarter.
Manchester Classical at The Bridgewater Hall
Saturday 24 - Sunday 25 June
The orchestras and ensembles of Manchester and The Bridgewater Hall have announced the launch of a unique collaboration taking place in late June. Manchester Classical will see the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Manchester Collective and a line-up of incredible artists come together for a weekend of music, food, crafts and free entertainment. Saturday will feature a Victoria Wood family concert, saxophonist Jess Gillam and Manchester Camerata and Sunday will see two performances from BBC Philharmonic and the Hallé.
Outbreak Festival 2023 at Mayfield Depot
Sunday 25 June
Hardcore punk and alternative festival Outbreak is heading to a new home at Mayfield Depot for 2023. Headlining this year is Converge, Bane, Death Grips and Denzel Curry, who will be joined by other big names from across the genre including; Defeater, Koyo, Code Orange, Earl Sweatshirt and Turnover. The festival will also host an art exhibition, skate jam, independent market and a range of food traders.
L Devine at YES
Friday 30 June
Described as the “next thing in pop” by genre queen Charli XCX, Geordie singer / songwriter L Devine has connected with a new generation through her electronic infused indie pop. Heading to YES Pink Room for a gig at the end of June, she’s celebrating new single Push It Down, her first release since 2020, which marks a new era for the North East star set to release her debut album later this year.