A regularly updated list of public events affected due to the coronavirus
With social distancing the necessary norm, COVID-19 has seen Manchester's tourism and events landscape change beyond recognition. Man City's Etihad stadium and events venue Manchester Central have become temporary home to the NHS; several hotels have been asked to house the homeless, while others house frontline health teams; Manchester Airport has closed all but one terminal; and public transport services remain much reduced...these are just some of the transformations to take place as society battles the pandemic (you can find latest updates on Manchester City Council's coronavirus portal and there's more info on our special microsite.)
Inevitably the city's lively calendar has taken a hit too, with Parklife and Pride just two of the major annual staples forced to take a 2020 hiatus.
Below we’ve listed the major public events currently cancelled or postponed in Manchester. This list is subject to change and will be kept updated.
In the following list, 'cancelled' means the event will not be taking place in 2020; certain events, however, have rolled over tickets and performances until next year
MANCHESTER MIDNIGHT WALK | Postponed until June
St Ann’s Hospice’s flagship fundraising event has raised over £2million since its launch. Its fourteenth episode, originally due to run in April, will now take place 'virtually' in June. Find the new event here.
RECORD STORE DAY | Postponed
Involving thousands of people and small businesses, Record Store Day sees vinyl shops host special events across the world. The event will now take place virtually via three following RSD 'drop' dates: Saturday 29th August, Saturday 26th September and Saturday 24th October. Statement here.
MANCHESTER HISTORIES FESTIVAL | Postponed until 4th - 5th September
Manchester Histories is a growing and dynamic charity that works collaboratively with people, organisations, and partners to reveal, share and celebrate Greater Manchester's diverse history and heritage. Its biennial June festival will become a 'digifest' in 2020; promising a collective online space and its own pop-up TV studio. More here.
PINT OF SCIENCE | Postponed until 7th - 9th September
This worldwide pub-science festival brings some of the world’s leading researchers to boozers in 24 countries. Its UK branch, including Manchester, has announced it will be postponed from May to 7th - 9th September and meanwhile is hosting a selection of events online.
NOT QUITE LIGHT FESTIVAL | Postponed until Saturday 24th October
Founded by acclaimed local photographer Simon Buckley in 2016, this quirky arts fest spans art, music, guided tours, architecture and debate - with all 2020 proceeds donated to charity Henshaws. In a statement that also highlighted his concern for the self-employed during this unprecedented time, Buckley announced he hopes to hold the festival on Saturday 24th October. Statement here.
RAMSBOTTOM CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL | Postponed, date TBA
Ramsbottom Markets made the decision to postpone this popular family festival, after fearing developments in the coming weeks could necessitate a last-minute cancellation; even more damaging to local traders and potentially costing organisers £15,000. Meanwhile, they are encouraging people to support the traders who were due to attend on their Facebook page.
MANCHESTER RUM FESTIVAL | Postponed until Saturday 29th August
Manchester Rum Festival was due to take over new event space Viadux in April with over 50 rums, cocktails, food trucks, live music, talks and workshops. It has now been rescheduled to August. Statement here.
MANCHESTER MARATHON | Postponed until Sunday 11th October
Now one of the UK’s leading events of its kind, the Manchester Marathon was due to take place on Sunday 5th April. Organisers have announced a tentative new date of Sunday 11th October, though will make a further update by Tuesday 9th June. Statement here.
DOT TO DOT | Postponed, date TBA
Having previously unearthed the likes of The xx and Ed Sheeran, this metropolitan music fest - originally due to take place in May - has become known as one of the UK’s foremost celebrations of fresh talent. Organisers say they still hope to host the event in 2020. Statement here.
MANCHESTER PUNK FESTIVAL | Cancelled
With over 100 bands, comedy and poetry stage, vegan nosh, punk cinema and pop-up record store, this festival has become a punk calendar staple. In a painfully honest statement, the DIY indie fest said it has lost thousands of pounds and encouraged people to check out its merch store. Statement here.
SCIENCE X | Postponed, date TBA
A free, interactive festival of exploration and experiments - and a great chance for kids to discover the fun behind science and engineering - this annual event is for young thrill seekers, space explorers and creative minds alike. Organisers hope to reschedule the festival at a later date.
WEST DIDSBURY COMEDY FESTIVAL | Postponed, date TBA
This local laughathon was set to make its debut with charity fundraising and new act competition plus quizzes and a line-up spanning Robin Ince to Tez Ilyas - selling 1000 tickets with six weeks to go. Organiser Kev said updates on a new date will be posted soon and is meantime hosting a range of online events instead.
GM WALKING FESTIVAL | Cancelled
This region-wide walking fest sees hundreds of free walks across all ten districts. Organisers have cancelled the event for 2020 but, as fresh air and exercise is so important for physical and mental health, will be publishing ways you can still celebrate National Walking Month this May. Statement here.
WORDS WEEKEND | Cancelled
Following a successful debut in Gateshead, this dynamic literary festival was due to make its North West debut at the Lowry with the likes of Emma Jane Unsworth, Stuart Maconie and Sir Ralph Fiennes. The festival decided to take the lead of major literature events like London Book Fair and make ‘the incredibly difficult decision to cancel.’ Statement here.
INCOMING FESTIVAL | Cancelled
Usually including a stint at Manchester’s HOME, this nationwide celebration of emerging theatre companies invites audiences to try something new for just a fiver. Organisers ‘hope very much to be back, bigger and better than ever.’ Statement here.
GÓBÉFEST | Cancelled
This free Hungarian-Transylvanian festival attracts thousands with its traditional performances, craft market, family entertainment and regional delicacies like chimney cake. Organisers say it will return next year. Statement here.
SOUNDS FROM THE OTHER CITY | Cancelled
One of Manchester’s longest running music fests - famed for its blend of indie promoters, upcoming talent and the fabled ‘Sounds’ atmosphere - SFTOC would have celebrated its sixteenth anniversary this year. Following a successful crowdfunder, it will return on Sunday 2nd May 2021.
MANCHESTER JAZZ FESTIVAL | Cancelled
The city’s longest-standing festival and the UK’s leading showcase for contemporary jazz, MJF would have celebrated its 25th year in 2020. Despite cancelling its physical event, organisers are hosting a range of digital happenings, which they kickstarted with a mini fest in May.
PARKLIFE | Cancelled
Lining up crowd-pulling chart-toppers year on year, Parklife has become the UK’s biggest metropolitan festival; this year it was due to celebrate its tenth anniversary with another cross-Atlantic blitz of big names, from Khalid to Lewis Capaldi. Ticket-holders can retain their tickets for next year's event (12th - 13th June) or request a refund. Statement here.
PILOT LIGHT TV FESTIVAL | Postponed, date TBA
Pilot Light brings together all kinds of TV series - new, old, never-before-seen - and a sneak peek into what goes on behind the scenes; as well as events like masterclasses, panels and quizzes. Organisers hope to host its 2020 episode around August. Statement here.
IRLAM LIVE | Postponed until 18th - 20th September
Founded in 2016, Irlam Live has since become a festival fixture; attracting thousands with local legends like the Lancashire Hotpots, and headliners spanning Billy Ocean to Toyah. This year is headed by Madchester tributes, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Scouting for girls. Statement here.
GREATER MANCHESTER FRINGE | Postponed, date TBA
Now something of an institution, this inclusive fringe festival traverses comedy, drama and everything in between. Organisers plan to postpone the festival to October or November; statement here. The more recently established Levy Fringe is also postponed, until 22nd - 31st October.
SOUNDS OF THE CITY | Cancelled
Its name is confusingly similar to Salford’s Sounds From the Other City but this summer concert series, with its focus on household names, is a different beast altogether. All acts that were due to play in 2020 - including Lewis Capaldi, Hacienda Classical and Foals - will perform next year, and tickets remain valid.
BOLTON FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL | Cancelled
While many Greater Manchester towns have annual food fests, Bolton is the biggest. One of the UK’s leading culinary events, it’s become known for its sprawling citywide market, lively events programme and celebrity chef appearances. Organisers are concentrating their efforts on supporting Bolton through the outbreak. Statement here.
BLUEDOT | Cancelled
Spanning astronomical banquets to talks with leading scientists and galactic concerts, bluedot is a starry fusion of art and science. The popular Jodrell Bank staple will no longer be taking place in 2020 but is ‘postponing’ as much of this year’s programme to 2021 (22nd - 25th July) as possible - including Lovell Stage headliners Björk, Groove Armada and Metronomy. More here.
KING STREET FESTIVAL | Cancelled
Transforming Manchester’s historic shopping street, King Street Festival promises a ‘fun yet fashionable weekend (with) al fresco dining, exclusive in-store events, complimentary gifts, free fizz and tastings.’ Organisers hope to return with ‘beautiful #MCRFlowerShow blooms, outdoor eats, live music & VIP shopping next year.’ Statement here.
HALE BARNS CARNIVAL | Cancelled
Performers at Hale Barns Carnival 2020 were due to include Martha Reeves And the Vandellas, opera vocalist Russell Watson, and seventies pop rock band Bay City Rollers. Tickets will remain valid for next year’s event (16th- 18th July), says organiser Max Eden, whose ‘party at home’ lockdown events have meanwhile attracted over 40,000 viewers. Statement here.
MANCHESTER PRIDE | Cancelled
One of Europe’s biggest annual celebrations of LGBTQ+ life, Manchester Pride also raises hundreds of thousands for related causes. Organisers of the August bank holiday festival - whose popular staples include the Village party and parade - have rolled over all tickets until next year’s edition, while those who no longer wish to attend can apply for a refund or make a donation to the charity. Find out more.
MCM COMIC CON | Cancelled
The UK's leading brand of modern pop culture events, Comic Con has become known for more than just its wacky outfits: theatre panels, comic village, steampunk emporium and special guests to name but a few. This year, organisers are hosting a series of events online. Statement here.
NB: This list does not include individual theatre shows, concerts and smaller events; many of which are also affected. In the event of cancellation or postponement, anyone who has brought a ticket should contact their point of purchase.