First gig in city since 1979 - and a major coup for music week
The “festival survival guide” is a perennial favourite among editors of weekend newspaper lifestyle supplements. With tips for dealing with mud, sunburn and death by Coldplay, it keeps column inches topped up with glam wellies, jester hats and treatments for trench foot.
But all festivals are not the same. The rise of the "urban festival" is a blessing for sun dodgers and tent phobics everywhere, and Liverpool Music Week is officially the best of the lot.
Taking place across a range of central venues, the annual autumnal shindig was recently crowned Best Metropolitan Festival at the UK Festival Awards, and with its mix of respected names and newer acts, it consistently delivers the kind of free-roaming, city-loving music experience that another big Liverpool festival, now north docks-based, has left behind.
So, faced with concocting a line-up for its 15th year, what has Liverpool Music Week managed to pull out of the bag?
The answer, it turns out, is something very good indeed. Chic (“featuring Nile Rodgers”) will open the event on Thursday October 26, by far the festival’s biggest ever signing. Promising good times and freak outs, the group will bring their era-defining disco magic to the Kings Dock Arena for one glitter-flecked night.
Chic haven’t played Liverpool since their 1979 heyday, but having suffered from the "disco sucks" backlash of the early 80s and the death of original bass player Bernard Edwards in 1996, the resurgent group is now recognised as one of the finest live acts around. Anyone who saw their show-stopping Glastonbury performance this summer will vouch for that.
Key to the group’s longevity is frontman Nile Rodgers. Having co-written all Chic’s hits, and written and produced a ridiculously long list of smash songs for the likes of Sister Sledge, David Bowie, Madonna and more, his career hardly needed the lift afforded by involvement in Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. But since then his reputation has just kept rising, and his appearance at the Echo Arena for Liverpool Music Week is likely to be one of the city’s gigs of the year.
Also unveiled in this first wave of line-up announcements are electronic duo Mount Kimbie, purveyor of melodic euphoria Perfume Genius, the Guardian-sanctioned grime of AJ Tracey, and New York’s fabulously named hip-hoppish Princess Nokia.
The festival, which runs until Saturday November 4, makes the most of Liverpool’s city centre venues, with Lost Horizons at Leaf, Childhood at the Buyer’s Club, Gengahr at the Magnet and a clutch of new acts at EBGBS. Organisers also promise much more to come, with a couple of undisclosed big shows at the Invisible Wind Factory and many more acts to be announced.
For Mike Deane, Liverpool Music Week’s director, it’s a huge moment for the festival.
"It's been quite the journey since starting Liverpool Music Week as a single venue venture back in 2003, but there’s no doubt that today is our single proudest moment as we announce Chic and Nile Rodgers as our 2017 headliners. There aren't many individuals in music who compare to their legendary status, importance, and continued relevance. We are utterly thrilled that both Nile and the band have agreed to join us this year. There really isn't a live music show quite like Chic, and we can't think of anyone better to open this milestone year."
Tickets for the full festival and individual shows go on sale at 9am on Thursday August 3. Wristbands giving access to all events cost £65.
Meanwhile, festival survival guides are available in every national newspaper on a weekly basis between now and September.
Liverpool Music Week runs from October 26-November 4, 2017. Find more information here.