From an Electric Weekender to a Manchester Art Jam - fifteen things to get stuck into this month

Looking for more great things to do in May? Then check out our Essential Guide to 2018 in Manchester: this month ft Sounds from the Other City, Dot to Dot and more


The fourth Greater Manchester Walking Festival takes place this May with over 350 free guided walks across the region. Co-ordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), there are routes dotted around all ten districts of Greater Manchester guided by experienced walk leaders. Find a walk here.

ELECTRIC WEEKENDER - The Refuge, 3-6 May

Prepare for another bank holiday bonanza, as The Refuge returns with its famous Electric Weekender this May - featuring Sid’s Honey Cooler, Unabombers’ Nightmares on Wax, an Adriatic ‘boat party’ and more. The Refuge, Oxford Street, M60 7HA (various; check the website).

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Electric Weekender returns to The Refuge Jody Hartley


Patterns. They surround us. We come across them every day and yet we very rarely take that much notice of them. This free touring photographic exhibition, created by The Photographic Angle, explores the hidden geometry that surrounds us, focusing on different forms, structures, textures and colours. St. James House, 7 Charlotte Street, M1 4DZ

MANCHESTER ART JAM - Hatch, Friday 4 May

A themed slant on the popular Art Battle, this jammy event sees Manchester artists compete for audience votes with a 40-minute masterpiece. There’ll also be street food, drinks, stalls and music. Hatch, Oxford Road, M1 7ED (7pm; tickets £6 at

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Manchester Art Jam takes place at Hatch, the pop-up complex on Oxford Road

MAGNUS QUAIFE: WHILE ENGLAND MOURNS - Touchstones Rochdale, 4 May - 30 June

Quaife commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Paris student uprisings for this quirky exhibition - inspired the eighteenth century caricaturist John Collier and the Shudehill fight of 1757. Touchstones Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale, OL16 1AQ (Tues-Sat 10am-5pm; free)

BLOSSOMS | Stockport Plaza | Saturday 5 May

The Stockport rockers celebrate their second album Cool Like You with a hometown concert at the Plaza - Friday 4 is sold out but there are still tickets for the Saturday shows if you get in there quick. Stockport Plaza, Mersey Square, Stockport, SK1 1SP (1pm & 7pm; tickets from £23.65 at

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Blossoms’ first self-titled album was nominated for a Mercury Prize

NORTH WEST ZINE FEST - Partisan, Sunday 6 May

Workshops, talks and stalls, risographs, art exhibition and an insight into self publishing…the NW zine machine is back after a one-year hiatus. Expect over 40 ‘zinesters’ and mags of all colours, sizes and subjects. Partisan, 19 Cheetham Hill Road, M4 4FY (12-5pm; free entry)

ALTRINCHAM WORD FEST - Altrincham, 12-27 May  

With Manchester recently designated UNESCO City of Literature, what better time to launch a new celebration of the written word? With a fortnight of events, Alty Word Fest highlights include life writing with literary maverick Kate Feld and short stories with the ‘King of flash fiction’ David Gaffney. Various; check the website

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A story in 150 words? David Gaffney (right) will show you how


An adrenaline-fuelled drama of good and evil, penalty and redemption, by award-winning playwright Stephen Adley Giurgis, this dark comedy explores what happens when two inmates at New York’s top security jail get talking… HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN (2.45pm & 7.45pm; tickets £12.50 at

HERE AND NOW - The Whitworth, Thursday 17 May

A unique event where visual art and music sit side by side, Psappha’s Here and Now whisks visitors on a musical adventure through The Whitworth: live musicians, film and animation showcase four pieces in a whole new light - part of Manchester After HoursThe Whitworth, Oxford Road, M15 6ER (6.30pm; tickets £11.80 at

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Here and Now at The Whitworth features four world premieres

THE MERRY WIDOW - Hope Mill Theatre, 17-20 May

Set in the 1930s, at the Pontevedrian embassy in Paris, Franz Lehár’s famous operetta has it all: intrigue, shenanigans, glamour and a good dollop of comedy. City of Manchester Opera’s version even has real can-can dancers, how’s about that? Hope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard Street, M4 7JA (2pm & 7.30pm; tickets £20 at

NOT QUITE LIGHT WEEKEND - Citywide, 17-20 May

Following a successful debut in 2016, NQL Weekend is back with another celebration of Salford through art, debate, music and architecture. Highlights include a dawn concert with Julie Hesmondhalgh, ‘urban foraging’ and double decker tour with the Modernist Society. Various; check the website

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The Merry Widow will play at Hope Mill Theatre from 17-20 May


A mass-singalong supported by choirs from across the region is to take place in Albert Square on the evening of Tuesday 22 May, to mark the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena bomb. The council say the event is open to anyone who wants to come together, with one voice in a united act of remembrance. A further music-related event called 'There Is A Light' has also been announced, involving a projection of song lyrics onto St Ann’s Church and other parts of St Ann’s Square during the evenings of 22 and 26 May.


Surreal set pieces, vivid comic writing and Frankenstein…just some of what you’ll encounter in Morpurgo’s boundary-smashing show, which hits Manchester following a clutch of sellout runs and awards. The Bread Shed, 126 Grosvenor Street, M1 7HL (8pm; tickets £8.80 at


Home to a host of creatives - spanning photography and textile to tattooing - AWOL Studios is nestled inside Hope Mill, a Grade II* listed Georgian textile mill also known for its namesake theatre. AWOL’s open evening offers the chance to meet its 84 residents, live graffiti and two pop-up exhibitions. AWOL Studios, 113 Pollard Street, M4 7JA (6pm; free entry)

For more unmissable goings on, take a look at our Essential Guide to 2018 in Manchester