New Order, a statue of Friedrich Engels and an opera for babies just some of the highlights at this summer's Manchester International Festival (29 June - 16 July)

IF THERE was ever an undercurrent of discontent that Manchester International Festival (MIF) just wasn’t ‘Manchester enough’, then new artistic director John McGrath has quickly seen to that.

The full MIF 2017 programme – launched on Thursday within the suitably industrial (and soggy) surrounds of Piccadilly’s abandoned Mayfield Depot – showcased a festival with a much stronger Manc twang; from New Order’s series of gigs alongside a twelve-strong synthesiser ensemble from the city’s Royal Northern College of Music, to a new exhibition exploring the legacy of Joy Division.

Elsewhere, a new ‘industrial music drama’ – featuring Lancashire-born actress Jane Horrocks - will tell the story of the region’s nineteenth century Cotton Panic, whilst Harpurhey-born polymath Anthony Burgess will be celebrated both in art, with a new installation at The Whitworth, and in music, during a special concert with the BBC Philharmonic at Bridgewater Hall.

Underworld duo Karl Hyde and Rick Smith will spotlight the plight of the city’s homeless in Manchester Street Poem, whilst Turner-Prize nominated artist Phil Collins (not that one) will permanently transplant a Soviet-era statue of Communism co-founder Friedrich Engels from the Russian city of Engels to Manchester – where the radical behind the Communist Manifesto lived for almost 22 years.

The festival opener, meanwhile, will see some of Manchester’s most ‘unique’ characters take to a raised 100 metre catwalk in Piccadilly Gardens for What Is The City But The People?

.The MIF 2017 programme launch, Mayfield Depot
MIFMIF Festival Hub, Albert Square

That’s not to say that the festival has lost its international outlook, with globally-renowned artists including Yael Bartana, Boris Charmatz, Johann Johannsson, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Thomas Ostermeier and Raymond Yiu each producing brand new and original work for the biennial arts event.

Elsewhere, Canadian stadium-fillers Arcade Fire will play a sell-out show at Castlefield Bowl in July, whilst the Pavilion Theatre in Albert Square will host the likes of maverick French pianist Chassol, Columbian salsa-hip hop collective La Mambanegra and Rio-born vocalist Flavia Coelho.

Confidential will also be playing its part, as its editor-at-large and Blue Badge guide Jonathan Schofield again leads a series of walking tours across the city themed around this year's commissions.

Here's the full MIF 2017 programme (tickets here):

What is the City but the People?

Created by the People of Manchester. Directed by Richard Gregory. In association with Islington Mill. From an idea by Jeremy Deller. World premiere  

Where: Piccadilly Gardens

When: Thursday 29 June, 6.30pm

How much: Premium tickets £5 or turn up for free

MIF 2017 launches with this suitably inventive world premiere: a catwalk in Piccadilly Gardens. Join neighbours and strangers alike to watch a ‘unique selection of individuals’ from across Manchester parade the runway - designed as a self portrait of the city - accompanied by live music from Graham Massey.

∑(No, 12k, Lg, 17Mif)

New Order + Liam Gillick: So it goes..Orchestrated & conducted by Joe Duddell. World premiere

Where: Old Granada Studios, Stage 1

When: 29 June, 1 July, 6 July, 13 July, 15 July - 8pm

How much: £45 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

New Order take over Manchester’s iconic OGS for this special series of intimate shows - based on their lively career and created in collaboration with composer-arranger Joe Duddell. The group will be joined by a twelve-strong synthesiser ensemble from the RNCM, while acclaimed visual artist Liam Gillick will tranform the historic Stage 1 into an immersive environment, with a stage set that reacts dynamically to the music.

New Order will play a series of shows at MIFNew Order will play a series of shows at MIF

True Faith

Curated by Matthew Higgs and Jon SavageJohan Kugelberg Archivist. World premiere

Where: Manchester Art Gallery 

When: 30 June - 16 July, 10am-5pm (Thurs 10am-9pm) - exhibition continues until 3 September  

How much: Free

Bringing together work by some of the world’s most notable artists, True Faith explores the ongoing significance and legacy of New Order and Joy Division through the wealth of visual art their music has inspired: including four decades’ worth of contemporary art from artists like Julian Schnabel and Peter Saville’s seminal cover designs.

10000 Gestures

Boris Charmatz An explosion of movement

Where: Mayfield  

When: 13, 14, 15 July - 8pm 

How much: £25 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

One of Europe’s most daring and exciting choreographers, Boris Charmatz, will be opening his newest work at MIF17. For this ambitious piece, staged in the vast atmospheric space of Mayfield, a 25-strong ensemble of dancers will perform 10000 gestures in succession – none repeated, each one unique. At once joyous and melancholy, ephemeral and unforgettable, 10000 Gestures rethinks and reinvents the language of dance in thrilling fashion.

What if Women Ruled the World?

Created by Yael Bartana. World premiere

Where: Mayfield

When: 5, 7, 8 July - 8pm

How much: £25 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

This timely and electrifying new art experiment ponders one of contemporary life’s great questions – what if women ruled the world? Each night, a professional cast will be joined on stage by eleven different female experts - scientists, politicians, activists and thinkers of global reputation - who will spend the evening trying to solve global crises as the clock ticks…

Cotton Panic!

Created by Jane HorrocksNick Vivian and Wrangler Industrial musical drama. World premiere

Where: Upper Campfield Market Hall, Castlefield

When: 8 July (preview), 10-12 July 7.30pm, 13-15 July 9pm. Post talk show on 12 July (free with event ticket)   

How much: £20 (preview), £25 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

Cotton was once as good as gold in Lancashire, the engine for a thriving economy built on the Industrial Revolution. And then in 1861, the cotton famine struck. England has never been the same since...Cotton Panic! tells the story of the catastrophe that befell the North and its people, all thanks to events that took place thousands of miles away. Staged in the atmospheric Victorian grandeur of Upper Campfield Market Hall, the show takes audiences through prosperity, panic and poverty - towards the peace of companionship with one’s fellow man.

Party Skills for the End of the World

Created by Nigel Barrett and Louise Mariwith Abigail Conway. World premiere

Where: A secret venue…  

When: 27-29 June (previews), 30 June - 15 July (except Sun & Mon) - 7.30pm; 1, 8, 9, 15, 16 July - 2.30pm

How much: £25 (previews), £30 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

This is a party with a difference. As turmoil and uncertainty sweep the world, you’ll learn the essential skills you’ll need to survive and savour life when everything you’ve taken for granted has gone – from starting a fire and making balloon animals to mixing the perfect Martini and skinning a rabbit. With the collapse of civilisation close at hand, it’s time to look at all the good things in life and the fear that stops us enjoying them.

Also taking place will be Dinner Party at the End of the World: renowned Mancunian chef Mary-Ellen McTague (Aumbry, the Real Junk Food Project) has devised a dinner party with a difference. Each evening, just twenty guests will share a special last supper; with delicious and surprising food that explores themes of survival, extinction, scarcity and opulence. McTague’s creative menu will give you a flavour of how we may choose to eat, and what we may have to eat, come the end of days (4-15 July 5pm, except Sun & Mon).


Created by Scott GrahamKarl Hyde and Simon Stephens. Songs and stories from a forgotten England. World premiere

Where: Royal Exchange Theatre

When: Full dates here

How much: £16.50-£39 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

Fatherland is a bold new show about contemporary fatherhood in all its complexities and contradictions - animated by a thirteen-strong cast and a multitude of voices. A deeply personal portrait of 21st-century England at the crossroads of past, present and future, Fatherland  explores identity, nationality, masculinity – and what it means to belong in a world weighed down by the expectations of others.

Music for a Busy City

Where: Mohammed Fairouz (St Ann’s Square), Matthew Herbert (Great Northern), Huang Ruo (Town Hall), Anna Meredith (walkway linking Selfridges & Marks), Olga Neuwirth (Victoria Station), Philip Venables (Canal Street)

When: 30 June - 16 July, 8am-8pm

How much: Free

This world premiere takes six leading composers out of the concert hall and into Manchester, creating pioneering pieces of music for - and inspired by - the spaces we pass through daily. Up to ten minutes long, these recordings play in rotation every hour: why not journey around town and hear each one in succession? Whether you make a special trip or stumble on the pieces by accident, Music for a Busy City will challenge your perception of places you thought you already knew.

Last and First Men

A film and live score by Jóhann Jóhannsson. Film narrated by Tilda Swinton. Cinematography by Sturla Brandth Grøvlen. Soundtrack performed live by the BBC Philharmonic. Conducted by Daníel Bjarnason. World premiere

Where: The Bridgewater Hall

When: 6 July, 7.30pm 

How much: £15-£30 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

MIF17 is thrilled to present the world premiere of Last and First Men, an extraordinary new multimedia work by Oscar-nominated Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (ArrivalSicarioBlade Runner 2049). Based on the cult novel by British science fiction writer Olaf Stapledon, the piece is a breathtaking requiem for the final human species in civilisation - and you can see and hear it first at MIF17.


Susan HefunaAn exhibition and performance. World premiere

Where: The Whitworth

When: 9 July, 2-5pm (performances), 1Adapted  (exhibition - continues until 3 September)

How much: Free

Featuring a major public performance and a wide-ranging exhibition, ToGather addresses some of the most potent issues of our time: migration, movement and sensations of separation. The focal point will be a free public event to which everyone is invited. Local residents, originally from as far afield as Iran and Sierra Leone, will trace individual paths through Whitworth Park - their movements echoed by dancers from Company Wayne McGregor - while the exhibition will take the form of a ‘mental map’, installed in several rooms at the Whitworth gallery and park.


A new work by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Reflections on the Partition of British India. World premiere

Where: The Lowry

When: 1-9 July, 10am-7pm

How much: Free

Two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy reflects on the experiences of people who left their homes during the Partition of British India in 1947, the largest mass migration ever witnessed. Centred on a series of short films, this immersive installation puts a human face on history, understanding what it means to find and feel at home and bringing to life 70-year-old experiences of displacement, as the refugee crisis continues to affect millions across the world.

Also taking place will be An Evening of Sublime Sufi Music: a one-off concert on the opening night of HOME1947, bringing together stars of Sufi music from both India and Pakistan (The Lowry, 1 July 7.30pm, tickets £25-45/£12) - and Imagined Homeland: a one-day symposium on the impact of partition and today’s refugee crisis, organised as part of Asia Triennial Manchester 2018 (HOME, 2 July 10am-6pm, tickets £5).

Returning to Reims

Directed by Thomas Ostermeier. World premiere

Where: HOME  

When: 5-7 July (previews) - 7.30pm; 8-14 July - 7.30pm (except Sun) 

How much: £18-£32 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage 

Adapted from Didier Eribon’s bestselling memoir by Thomas Ostermeier, the Artistic Director of Berlin’s revered Schaubühne and one of world theatre’s most thrilling directors, Returning to Reims is an urgent reflection on the new world order. When his father dies, Eribon returns to the working-class community he had long since left behind – and is forced to re-evaluate everything he thought he understood about his life, especially when he discovers his family have switched allegiance from communism to the far-right Front National. As populism marches around the globe, does political activism still have a role to play? This world premiere may help us find the answer.

Available Light

Music John Adams. Choreography Lucinda Childs. Stage design Frank Gehry

Where: Palace Theatre 

When: 6, 7,8 July - 8pm 

How much: £18-£40 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

Initially staged in 1983, Available Light brings together three giants of post-war US culture. This new production takes the trio’s brilliant collaboration to a new generation of audiences, melding Gary’s playful subversive designs with Adams’ hypnotic soundtrack and Childs’ mesmerising choreography. A landmark in American dance.

Available Light is a Factory Trailblazer – a preview of the kind of world-class art you’ll find at Factory, Manchester’s groundbreaking new multi-arts venue, when it opens in 2020 under the direction of MIF.

The Welcoming Party

Theatre Rites world premiere

Where: Museum of Science & Industry, 1830 Warehouse    

When: 4 July (preview) - 7pm; 5-15 July (except Mon & Tues) - 7pm; 8, 9, 15, 16 July - 11.30am & 3pm. Accessible performances 13 July 7pm (BSL interpreted), 15 July 11.30am (relaxed) 

How much: £15 (£10 for under sixteens) or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

Help MIF give a warm welcome to some exciting new arrivals in this immersive show from one of Europe’s most imaginative theatre companies. The Welcoming Party will take you on an exciting journey through a historic hidden warehouse at the Museum of Science & Industry. You’ll walk alongside people who have travelled here from towns and cities far beyond Manchester, all looking for a place where they can feel safe and sound. A beautiful blend of puppetry, performance, dance and live music for both children and family audiences, The Welcoming Party (age 8+) invites you to think about what it means to feel different – and why we should all be proud of who we are.

Dark Matter

Curated by Mary Anne Hobbs. Destroy your boundaries

Where: Gorilla & O2 Ritz

When: 29 June( LEVELZ), 30 June (Holly Herndon), 6 July (Paleman), 7 July (The Haxan Cloak), 13 July (Kojey Radical), 14 July (Colin Stetson) - all Gorilla; 8 July (Clark), 15 July (SUNN O))) - O2 Ritz. Times on MIF website

How much: £15-£25 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

Curated by BBC Radio 6 Music tastemaker Mary Anne Hobbs, Dark Matter is eight immersive shows from pioneering national, international and Manchester-based musicians. Lighting designer Stuart Bailes will transform Gorilla and the O2 Ritz, creating new universes for each artist. The line-up takes in everything from drone metal to freeform jazz, street poetry to radical electronica – all pushing creative boundaries to the limit.

No End to Enderby

A work by Graham Eatough and Stephen Sutcliffe. World premiere

Where: The Whitworth  

When: 30 June-16 July, 10am-5pm daily (Thurs 10am-9pm)

How much: Free

This suitably ingenious tribute to one of Manchester’s most original minds blends visual art and film drama in homage to the great Anthony Burgess: whose centenary is this year. No End to Enderby is centred on two new films inspired by Burgess’s Enderby series: Inside Mr Enderby, in which a school trip travels back in time to pay desultory homage to the title character, a dead poet; and The Muse, in which a young historian journeys to a parallel universe to investigate whether Shakespeare really wrote everything credited to him.

The World Was Once All Miracle

A song cycle by Raymond Yiu. Performed by the BBC Philharmonic. Anthony Burgess in words and music. World premiere

Where: The Bridgewater Hall 

When: 4 July, 7.30pm (pre-show talk 6.30pm - free with event ticket)

How much: £16-18 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

To mark 100 years since the birth of Harpurhey’s most famous son, MIF presents a special concert celebrating his words and music. Anthony Burgess may be best known as the writer of A Clockwork Orange, but he was also a prolific composer, writing more than 250 works in a multitude of styles. For MIF17, acclaimed composer Raymond Yiu has set text from six Burgess poems into The World Was Once All Miracle, a major symphonic song cycle given its world premiere by brilliant baritone Roderick Williams and the BBC Philharmonic.


An opera for babies. Written by Lliam Paterson. Directed Phelim McDermott. World premiere

Where: Check MIF website  

When: 4 July (preview) - 1.30pm; 5 July - 10.30am & 1.30pm; 6-16 July (except Mon 10 July)

How much: £5 for one adult and one baby

BambinO is a pioneering piece of music theatre aimed at an audience that doesn’t often get a look in at the opera – babies. This colourful work will reinvent operatic language and traditions for children at an age when their minds are wide open to new sounds, images and experiences. Babies will be free to crawl around during the performance, interacting with singers, musicians and each other. Even adults may find new ways of hearing music through the ears of the young. Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival, Scottish Opera and Improbable.

Manchester Street Poem

Underworld World premiere

Where: TBC

When: TBC

How much: Free

Conceived by Karl Hyde and Rick Smith from Underworld, Manchester Street Poem will spotlight the stories of those who find themselves homeless in the city – in a work where the catch-all term ‘homeless’ will give way to individuality, identity and integrity. The work is both fleeting performance and compelling installation: as Hyde covers the walls of the venue with words and phrases drawn from the streets, the space will fill with a powerful soundtrack built on snatches and fragments recorded by Smith all over the city.

One of Two Stories, or Both

Field Bagatelles: a radio composition in five episodes, and a sound installation. Samson Young. World premiere

Where: Old Granada Studios (Low Four) and Centre for Chinese Contemporary Arts

When: 30 June-4 July, 6.30pm (radio drama, OGS); 7-16 July, 10am-5pm (exhibition, CFCCA - continues until 29 October)

How much: £5 (radio drama); free (exhibition)

Fresh from representing Hong Kong at the Venice Biennale, talented young artist Samson Young premieres a major new work at MIF17. Inspired by mythic tales of seventeenth century Chinese travellers making their way to Europe on foot, this multilayered piece asks: how are journeys remembered and retold? What of the aching feet that carry the bodies, the bumpy ride, the incidental mountains? How do stories lend meanings to places left behind? One of Two Stories, or Both begins with an MIF first - a five-part radio series broadcast live from OGS - followed by a multichannel installation at CFCCA, marking the twentieth anniversary of the UK’s handover of Hong Kong to China.


Phil Collins. World premiere

Where: NCP Bridgewater Hall car park

When: 16 July 6pm  

How much: Free (ticket required)

Friedrich Engels – philosopher, writer, radical thinker – is coming back home. Turner Prize-nominated artist Phil Collins is returning Engels to the city where he made his name, in the form of a Soviet-era statue, collected from Russia, driven across Europe and permanently installed in the centre of Manchester. Ceremony will be a singular moment in the city’s history. Performers, musicians and the people of Manchester will create an extraordinary live film to bring MIF17 to a close, mixing footage from the statue’s journey with live coverage of its inauguration. Also taking place will be a film series inspired by Ceremony at HOME.

Lost Memories Dot Net

Created by Nina Freeman. In collaboration with Aaron Freedman. World premiere. Available as a free download for PC and Mac from Fri 30 June at

MIF’s first ever game commission comes courtesy of one of the most innovative and individual video game designers working today. Nina Freeman has won huge renown for autobiographical video games such as Cibele, which draw strongly on her own life and experiences – and her new game for MIF17 is every bit as frank and intensely personal. Lost Memories Dot Net harks back to the early 2000s, when Freeman was a young girl discovering the twin joys of online chat and creating websites. You’ll play a role based on the young Freeman, building both relationships and websites online while following a narrative that grows more intimate as the game goes on.

Machynlleth Comes to Manchester

Where: 53Two & International Anthony Burgess Foundation

When: 7 July, 7pm & 9pm; 8 July, 5pm, 7pm & 9pm; Sun 9 July, 5pm & 7pm

How much: £7-£15 or £12 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage

This summer, enjoy a little bit of west Wales as the Machynlleth Comedy Festival decamps for a weekend at MIF.

Every spring, 6,000 people descend on the tiny Welsh town of Machynlleth (population: 2,235) for this small but mighty fest, which encourages comics to experiment and have fun with their material in venues spanning the ancient Welsh parliament building to the local bowling club. MIF has invited the likes of Mark WatsonSara Pascoe and Tony Law for a series of special shows at two Manchester venues, joined by some of the country’s best young comics. See for a full schedule.

FlexN Residency

Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray. In association with Young Identity

Where: Contact

When: Check MIF website

How much: Free

Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray directed one of the big hits of MIF15: FlexN Manchester, a thrilling transatlantic street dance collaboration featuring dancers from Greater Manchester and Reggie’s native New York. Two years on, he’ll be returning to the Festival for a residency at Contact, part of a series of MIF17 events exploring contemporary dance - also including a series of masterclasses and rehearsals from MIF choreographers like Boris Charmatz. Reggie will be introducing a group of young dancers to the flexn dance style, working with local spoken word collective Young Identity to explore new ways of telling stories through words and movement. To find out how you can get involved, email

Interdependence: We Need to Talk

Provocative conversation and new ideas

Where: Various 

When: 1 July (Hallé St Peter’s), 8 July (Stoller Hall), 15 July (Albert Hall) - 10.30am & 2pm. All sessions will be BSL interpreted

Tickets: £5 per session, £10 per day

The world has never been more divided – nor, ironically, more connected. Curated by MIF, FutureEverything, The Guardian and VICE, Interdependence: We Need to Talk invites you to debate today’s hot-button topics - power, heroes, community, technology, anger and change - over six sessions, accompanied by six leading figures. Alongside these intimate conversations, each session will also feature discussions, performances and artist interventions. Line-ups TBA.

Arcade Fire

Presented by SJM and MIF

Where: Castlefield Bowl

When: 6 July, 5pm

How much: £49.50 

Six years on from their last appearance in the city, Arcade Fire return to Manchester for this one-off show at Castlefield Bowl, as part of both MIF and Sounds of the City. Since the release of debut album Funeral, the Grammy Award-winning Canadian band have won a well-earned reputation as one of the most exhilarating live acts around.


Where: Manchester Cathedral

When: 4 July

How much: from £34

While Simon Green’s move to LA inspired his 2017 album Migration, he’s returning to his homeland for this intimate one-off show in Manchester Cathedral, featuring new visuals and a band augmented by strings and brass.

Sampha + Pauli

Where: Albert Hall  

When: 5 July

How much: from £25

He’s collaborated with everyone from Solange to Frank Ocean, but Sampha Sisay is very much his own man. In the wake of 2017 debut Process and a major world tour, he’s coming to MIF17 for a one-off headline set at the Albert Hall, destined to be one of the hottest tickets of the Festival.


Where: O2 Ritz   

When: 11 July  

How much: from £25

The return of shoegaze heroes Ride was greeted with rapturous acclaim when they reunited two years ago. This summer, the Oxford quartet release their first album in 21 years – and you can hear it first, live, at this exclusive Manchester show.

Live at the Pavilion Theatre

Sounds from the Other City and Serious are presenting a packed programme of live music from Wed to Sun in Festival Square.

Serious presents: LaSharVu, a powerhouse British female vocal trio (30 June, 7.30pm, £12); House Gospel Choir, a glorious blend of spirituality and dance floor euphoria (1 July, 7.30pm, £12); Bokanté, genre-crossing fusion from members of Snarky Puppy (6 July, 7.30pm, £12); Chassol, maverick French pianist plays live with two original films (7 July, 7.30pm, £12); La Mambanegra, floor-filling salsa-hip hop fusion from Colombia (14 July, 7.30pm, £12); and Flavia Coelho, a delicious samba blend from Rio de Janeiro via Paris (15 July, 7.30pm, £12).

Sounds from the Other City present: Kiran Leonard with Song for the Husband, a new performance and visual art show (12 July, 7.30pm, £12); Portico Quartet, beautiful, futuristic new music from the London foursome (13 July, 7.30pm, £12); Spring King + Let’s Eat Grandma, post-punk local heroes plus a bright young alt-pop duo (16 July, 3pm, £12); Hookworms + special guest, jawdropping cosmic psych-rock from over the Pennines (2 July, 7.30pm, £12); and Liverpool electric trio Stealing Sheep with new tracks and visuals (8 July, 7.30pm, £12). More live shows TBA.

Festival SquareFestival Square

Festival Square

Albert Square will again become Festival Square for MIF17, the home of the Festival in the heart of the city

When: Midday until late daily from Fri 30 June to Sun 16 July

How much: Free

Festival Square is back with a brand new look for MIF17, courtesy of Paloma Gormley and Nicolas Henninger  - two of the country’s most exciting young designers - who have been commissioned to design and build a range of new structures for eating, drinking and taking in the Festival buzz. Students from Manchester School of ArtMMU, will again be designing the Square’s interiors, seating areas and furniture; working together with local design and making agencies OH OK LTD and Ferrious. The square will also be home to the box office.

Events include: BBC – Live in Festival Square, a series of live broadcasts with special guests; an outdoor stage featuring a variety of local live music; and a hand-picked selection of DJs spinning tunes nightly from 10pm til late in the festival pavilion. Along with residents Dave HaslamJustine AldermanHattie PearsonGreg Thorpe and Andrea Trout, there’ll be one-off sets from Tim Burgess and other special guests (full line-ups TBA on and social media).

Opening Festival Square will be the MIF17 Opening Party: Drunk at Vogue Presents… Night Life, as Manchester’s premier backstreet discotheque launches proceedings with an explosive party dedicated to the pleasures of dancing and nightclubs (30 June, 11am-3pm, £12).

.Confidential's Jonathan Schofield will be running special MIF tours

Other events include The Sunday Boys, the Village’s inclusive choir (9 July, 5.30pm, free); Northern Substance, which celebrates the late Factory Records founder Tony Wilson with a panel discussion and live music, all proceeds going to Christie (10 July, 8pm, £15); and John Robb, who will talk life, music and the cosmos with Jah Wobble and Cosey Fanni Tutti followed by a DJ set from Youth (11 July, 8pm, £8). The festival Closing Party will also take place in the square, with special guests Qool Marv (NYC) & Dave Haslam - expect party anthems, hidden gems and rare grooves (15 July, 11am-3pm, £12).

Last but not certainly not least, Jonathan Schofield - Blue Badge guide and Confidential’s itinerant editor-at-large - will be running four special tours, themed around MIF 17 commissions: Identity & the Fabric of the City: Exploring the city (30 June - 2 July, 3pm); The Guardian Tour - Media, Manchester & Culture: How the power of the word has shaped Manchester (4 & 11 July, 3pm); Migration & the UK’s Most Amazing Street: The secrets of Oxford Road (5-9 July, 3pm) and The Radical City: From Peterloo to Pankhurst (12-16 July, 3pm). Tickets cost £10 - for details and to book, visit

Food & Drink

...will be in plentiful supply too: with four bars, four resident kitchens, four supper clubs and an ice cream wagon, you won’t go hungry or thirsty in Festival Square. Food comes from: Hispi, a unique take on fast food from Gary Usher’s acclaimed Didsbury bistro; Manjit’s Kitchen, vegetarian Indian street food and snacks inspired by Manjit’s grandma’s home cooking; Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, inventive ice cream for grown-ups; Paul Heathcote & Co, with a signature menu of reinvented British classics; and Alty Market fave Honest Crust with their signature wood-fired pizzas and salads. To drink, meanwhile, pick from wines, soft drinks and beers from local brewery JW Lees, the Square’s official beer supplier.

Supper clubs are another MIF 17 staple, with Paul Heathcote inviting a quartet of close friends to each cook for one night only in the Glass House. Each Supper Club costs £50, and includes a glass of fizz, three courses and coffee - giving diners an exclusive chance to sample the wares of four chefs who have helped to define modern British cooking. These include: David Moore, owner of London’s Michelin-starred Pied à Terre (2 July, 7pm); Steven Doherty, first British chef to run a three-Michelin-starred restaurant (3 July, 7pm); Carl Noller & Paul Heathcote, joining forces to relive their time at Simply Heathcotes (9 July, 7pm); and Mark Hix, owner of London’s hugely popular HIX restaurants and bars (10 July, 7pm).

Mark HixChef Mark Hix will host a supper club

For more info and tickets visit