Neighbourhood Festival, a brand new metropolitan music festival comes to Manchester. 1 Day, 11 Venues, over 100 Artist. The festival is a sell-out, the sun is shining, Manchester is buzzing!
First act of the day warming us up nicely is the lovely Rae Morris playing in a slowly filling Gorilla. The Blackpool singer-song writer who is renowned for her warm vocals and folk-pop piano she has built a strong reputation for herself, it’s hard to believe her debut album was only released last year. The background noise disperses as soon as her songs start. She talks to the crowd about her songs and how she wrote many of them under the arches beside the venue. A few false starts on the final songs while she remembers the chords, however, with the crowds support she finishes on a high.
Staying put at Gorilla for Mahalia, up and coming acoustic soul singer songwriter. She plays to a quieter Gorilla which suits her style creating a much more intimate session. Previously in Manchester supporting Ady Suleiman (who plays Albert Hall later on) she’s quickly making a name for herself. Her songs tell stories about her childhood and growing up, her maturity on stage makes it hard to believe she’s only 18. A few tales about her touring and how she talks too much on stage in between tracks and the half hour set is over far too quickly. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Ready for something a bit more upbeat, moving towards the Ritz. One of the events most popular acts on the bill is Stockport’s finest number one selling band Blossoms are an afternoon headliner opening up the Ritz. People had been sat outside the venue for hours before doors opened to get front row or even a glimpse of the band. By the time doors open the queue stretches back to oxford road, inside the venue it’s easy to see why. Hard to believe the festivals still in its early stages, the lack of daylight and packed out venue help you forget its only 3.30 in the afternoon. The blossoms play like it’s a headline slot and the crowd reacts accordingly its going to be hard to beat this atmosphere.
Over at The Albert Hall, opening up around 4pm and the queue is snaking all the way around the venue, most of today’s festival goers are eager to get into the hall to catch the early Headliner White Lies. Harry, Charles & Jack are touring their new album ‘Friends’ The London boys kick things off to a jam packed hall, all the festival goers that are lucky enough to make it in. It is interesting to see the Albert Hall in the daylight, with the afternoon sun rays shining through the stained glass windows onto the crowd creating a lovely setting for White Lies. The band play us some tracks from their new record mixed in with some old classics ‘Farewell to the Fairground’ ‘Bigger Than Us’ and ‘Death’ which really pleases the crowd, who are very still, focused and taking it all in. Harry (Lead vocals) thanks’ the crowd. “So great to play in this wonderful city, we hope you can come to see us in November in this very venue.”
We have an hour before the next act on the beautiful old chapels stage, and the hall seems to fill even further for Liam Fray’s solo acoustic set. It’s 10 minutes before his slot and the standard Manchester Courteeners chant’s begin “Liam, Liam, Liam, Liam” There is huge excitement in the air for the Manchester legend, for his first ever show at the Albert Hall. Romantic Fray hands roses out to the front row “It’s good to see something happening in this city, there’s normally barley f#ck all around, that’s why we started because there was f#ck all else, but this is exciting it’s good to see this many people out here enjoying music” Frays hour long set is perfect for Manchester festival goers, playing all the favourites for the crowd to sing along to ‘Acrylic’, ‘Bide Your Time’ and ‘Smiths Disco’, finishing his set off nicely was a mash up of ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ and cover of Pulps ‘Disco 2000’
Great selection of venues all in walking distance, along with a line-up that gave the festival goers a glimpse of some fresh new artist as well as some big names.
Looking forward to seeing the festival again in 2017! Early bird tickets are available from Friday 14th October at www.neighbourhoodfestival.co.uk