From festivals galore to Cut & Splice and the Obstacolour Run… time to dust off that diary

Below you'll find fifteen more great things to do in Manchester this month; including a UFO expo, a SICK festival and a walk over hot coals. After even more inspiration? You can also find our monthly Top 10 gigs, concerts, exhibitions and stage shows here.


MANCHESTER MUSIC LEGACIES DEBATE | 70 Oxford Street | Wednesday 1 March

As part of the Humanities in Public 2017 programme - exploring Greater Manchester and Northern Identity, DJ and author Dave Haslam chairs a timely debate on why Manchester doesn’t have a centre dedicated to celebrating its pioneering music scene. A glance at Liverpool’s Beatlemania gives every indication that music tourism sells…so why shouldn’t the likes of ‘Madchester’ do the same? For anyone wanting to rekindle the mid-nineties, don’t miss Ascent 6’s themed night the following weekend. The Old Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street, M1 5NH (6.30-9.30pm; tickets £3.78 at 


After the excitement of Oscar blunders and the 70th BAFTAS, the movie world might now seem little flat…were it not for the return of Manchester Film Festival: promising over 90 films across themes including ‘Women in Film,’ ‘Rising Stars’ and ‘Be What You Are, Say What You Feel.’ Spanning experimental shorts at Saul Hay Gallery and original documentaries like Ian Winstanley’s Balance, MANIFF #3 sees the strongest variety yet. More info hereVarious time and venues; check the website 

STANLEY MOSS | Chetham’s Library | Friday 3 March

Don’t miss this rare chance to meet the critically-acclaimed poet and publisher, who flies over from the US for a one-off evening in England’s oldest public library. Moss - author of several acclaimed poetry collections; including The Intelligence of Clouds (1989) and God Breaketh Not All Men's Hearts Alike (2011) - has launched the careers of key voices spanning Stanley Kunitz to F.T. Prince through his non-profit Sheep Meadow Press, and will be reading from his recent book Almost Complete Poems. Soft drinks and wine will be available (cash only). Chetham's Library, Long Millgate, M3 1SB (6.30-9pm; free, registration required at 

.Chetham's Library


Despite the confusion of there being two Manchester Irish Festivals, there’s plenty to up the craic as this longstanding tradition jigs back into Manchester with everything from a Ken Loach double bill to local country legends The Lonesome & Penniless Cowboys and of course, the annual parade. Other highlights include a retro charity night at O’Driscoll’s and Oxjam Not a Paddy’s Day PartyVarious venues - and 

LEVY MARKET | Levenshulme Train Station | Saturday 4 March

Ahead of its Saint Paddy’s Day-themed night event for Manchester Irish Festival - complete with live music from the Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band, Irish Dancers and various other Gaelic surprises - Levenshulme hosts the first of its 2017 markets on Saturday 4 March with a mixture of familiar faces and brand new stalls. There’s even a new Lego club, hosted by Build It!, for big kids and little kids alike. Stockport Road, Levenshulme, M19 3PJ (10am-4pm; free). 

AWAKENING | Bowlers Exhibition Centre | 4-5 March

Ever wondered what exactly we’re doing here? Or how we got here in the first place? Pertinent and intriguing questions for anyone - whether you believe in aliens or not. This brand new ‘UFO and conscious life’ expo caters for both parties, promising talks on everything from Stonehenge and crop circles to less niche subjects like meditation. Panel guests include Emmy award-winner Linda Moulton Howe and Ancient Aliens star Erich Von Daniken - plus alien species and a life-size animatronic UFO. If you’re looking for something out the ordinary this weekend… Bowlers Exhibition Centre, Longbridge Road, M17 1SN (9am-7pm; tickets from £8 at

Hes going..He's going..


Manchester City Council celebrates International Women’s Day (8 March) with a citywide programme of events ranging from plaster cast workshops, to inspiring talks and a multicultural ‘food taster.’ Other events span SHE’s IWD concert, Reform Radio’s female live showcase, HOME’s Certain Women screening and a lively debate with the Women’s Equality Party - not to mention dinner with the identifier of Queen Nefertiti. Also coinciding with International Women’s Day will be Creative Tourist’s annual Wonder Women Festival

Various times and venues; check their website 

SICK! FESTIVAL | Contact | 8-25 March

With its unpropitious name and eclectic programme, you could be forgiven for thinking SICK! is niche. Obscure perhaps. But the topics it deals with are anything but: illness, gender, politics and society’s expectations are all covered with refreshing honesty, wit and originality. It’s something that won SICK! a prestigious EFFE accolade over 748 festivals others last year; recognising its pioneering blend of arts, health and well-being. Events this year include the Living Library and I Want to Play as You

Various times and venues; check the website 

CUT AND SPLICE | Halle St Peter's | 10-11 March

Part of Sound and Music’s wider Composer-Curator touring programme, this acclaimed sonic arts festival will be taking place outside of London for the first time. With music themed around technology as an unreliable narrator, the programme spans doppelgangers to the ‘hidden sonorities’ of instruments and objects. Elsewhere don technological ears and hear locations as never before. 

Various times and venues; check eventbrite 

.Curators Distractfold Ensemble performing

SOUND AND MUSIC LATE | Museum of Science & Industry | 15 March

Renowned designer and Factory Records founder Peter Saville will appear at MSIM for a one-off appearance late this month which will see him discuss his work, its place within pop culture and its impact on Manchester’s cultural history and its future. Alongside screen printing, a silent disco and workshops with the School of Noise, the evening will also reveal the results of Hooked on Music  - MSIM’s experiment to define what makes a pop song catchy - alongside giving visitors the opportunity to try out listening devices inspired by WW2 aircraft. And it’s all free. Museum of Science & Industry, Liverpool Road, M3 4FP (7-10pm; free, booking required at 

OBSTACOLOUR RUN | Wythenshawe Park | Sunday 19 March

Start up in white, end up in bright, as the St Ann’s Hospice Obstacolour Run returns to put participants through their paces with (optional) inflatable obstacles and, of course, tonnes of multicoloured paint. Walk, jog or run the route - finishing up at the Tree of Dedication after a kaleidoscopic 5K. It’s not the only multihued happening this month as Sunday 26 also sees the Man City Blue Run; promising a decidedly azure sprint around the Etihad Campus. Wythenshawe Park, M23 0AB (from 11am; registration from £10 at

Wythenshawe ParkWythenshawe Park

YMCA FIREWALK | Castlefield Hotel | Friday 24 March

Things are heating up on the YMCA Challenge events calendar, when the charity hosts its first fire walk. Not only is it prime bucket list material, any sponsorship will go towards supporting vulnerable young people across the region. Tickets cost just £30: including full training, a drinks reception, food and entertainment back at the hotel afterwards. Nearer Salford Quays way? Kidscan will also host a fire walk on Thursday 9 March. Castlefield Hotel, Liverpool Road, M3 4JR (7-11pm; email or call 0161 837 3515). 

PINK RIBBON BALL | Manchester Runway Visitor Park | Saturday 25 March

From The Mirror at the Lowry to the Christie Charity at The Principal - headlined by Will Young - and even a Poldark-style fancy dress affair, ‘tis the season for a charity ball. Few, however, can claim to take place under the wings of Concorde G-BOAC aircraft. Yes, hosted by Jessica Wright and Ore Oduba, the Breast Cancer Now’s third annual Pink Ribbon Ball will happen at Manchester Airport’s Runway Visitor Park: consisting of a champagne reception, silent auction and dinner, alongside special performances from Alesha Dixon and Tallia Storm. Tables of ten are available at £1,500 with proceeds helping to beat breast cancer by 2050. Runway Visitor Park, Wilmslow Old Road, Altrincham, WA15 8XQ (full details on the website).

.Concorde at Manchester Airport’s Runway Visitor Park

GIN FESTIVAL | Victoria Baths | 24 March - 2 April

Quaffing gin in an old water palace? We can think of worse ways to spend the day. For the first time ever, the UK’s biggest and oldest gin festival will span across two weekends; a double boozathon with over 100 craft gins, new brands, cocktails and industry expert masterclasses. Over in Manchester Cathedral, meanwhile, The Gin Society have added a new date to their own ginfest due to popular demand *hiccough.* Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock, M13 0FE (various times; tickets £10.46 at 


Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the abolition of censorship in Spain, ¡Viva! returns for its 23rd edition with a series of film, theatre and visual art across the Spanish-speaking world. Drawing inspiration from La Transición, the era of cultural revolution sparked by the transition to democracy, highlights span Pedro Almodóvar’s classic Pepi, Luci, Bom to Emma Frankland’s evocative new show Republica - kicking off with an explosive launch party featuring Rural Zombies. ¡Disfrutad el festival! HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN (various; check the website).