Craft beer, comedy and an Indian Summer, there are festivals galore this July
Festival season is upon us and it would appear that Manchester is making up for lost time. July is bursting at the seams with multi-day festivities. The notable headliner is Manchester International Festival which kicks off at the start of the month bringing with it a trademark programme of genre-spanning art events and a reinvigorated focus on community.
It's not just about the arts however, this month sees food, comedy and Thailand getting the festival treatment with lots of family-friendly options. Be sure to take your picnic blanket and brolly and enjoy the feeling of being back in a field with people again.
Scroll on for our selection of the best festivals this month.
MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL | VARIOUS | 1 - 18 JULY
MIF is back with more of a community focus this year, added emphasis on local artists and the usual extensive free events programme. Damon Albarn, Arlo Parks, Homecoming Live, Sea Change and All Of This Unreal Time are just a few of the standout events. Marta Minujin’s Big Ben Lying Down slap bang in the middle of Piccadilly Gardens will no doubt be the most visible.
Whilst tickets for the above are available now it’s also worth highlighting the glut of free events available. This year’s Festival Square central hub will be situated at Cathedral Gardens with over two weeks’ worth of free events including live bands, DJ sets, immersive family events, local performers and a full food programme (not free, unfortunately) featuring some of the city’s best cooking talent. Check back for more coverage throughout the festival.
INDIAN SUMMER FEST | ARLEY HALL | 4 & 5 JULY
Perhaps most famous for providing the set for Peaky Blinders, Arley Hall is a magnificent country house and gardens in the Cheshire countryside. From flat caps to flatbreads, this weekend it welcomes the inaugural Indian Summer Fest. With street food from Zouk, Foodwell, The Frenchie, Yours and Gooey, beer from Cobra and absolutely bags of stuff to keep the kids occupied (in the form of their own mini-festival called Kidchella) this one ticks all the boxes for a family day out with a difference.
The two-day outdoor festival takes place on a specially-constructed Mumbai-style street. Tickets are available now (£10 adults, £5 children).
FOODIES FESTIVAL | TATTON PARK | 9 - 11 JULY
Whether you’re a big Sophie Ellis-Bextor fan (who isn’t?) or you just got really into the last two series of Masterchef (who didn’t?), there’s something for all tastes at Tatton Park’s Foodies Festival this month. Four theatre stages spanning chefs, cakes and baking, drinks and kids cookery will include presentations from Masterchef champs Tom Rhodes and Alex Webb as well as Bake Off champion Candice Brown and Adam French of The French fame. Beer, gin and various fizz tastings are also an option and the kid’s stage will have your little ones mastering roly-poly wraps and decorated biscuits in no time. Weekend tickets start from £29.
FLIXTON COMEDY FESTIVAL | FLIXTON CRICKET CLUB | 10 JULY
With comedy clubs still operating on limited capacities and the world very much in need of humour, Flixton Comedy Festival is a welcome addition to the calendar this summer with an all-dayer of lols and family fun. Lloyd Griffith, Arielle Souma, Yuriko Kotani, Brennan Reece and Chris Washington are the big names on the nighttime bill with Foxdog Studios, Wacky, Katie Pritchard and more keeping families entertained during the day. Street food, music and attractions complete the package. Be sure to take some camping furniture or a blanket. Tickets are £7.50 for adults and £5 for children.
HOPE FEST | ELECTRIC PARK | 16 - 8 AUGUST
Setting up shop (tent?) in Electric Park next to New Islington tram stop, Hope Mill Theatre’s Hope Fest will bring a programme of arts and culture events to a 250 person capacity big top tent this summer. Bringing a diverse range of performances from music nights curated by Matt & Phreds to a Jason Manford presented comedy showcase, there’s something for everyone on the line-up, even dogs. Dog Fest (18 July) will see pooch parades, fancy dress competitions and even a doggy DJ. Tickets are available now.
MANCHESTER CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL | MAYFIELD DEPOT | 23 & 24 JULY
Craft beer fans of the city unite, a festival is coming to the city just for you. We Are Beer’s travelling craft beer festival format will be dropping by Mayfield Depot for a gathering of yeast, hops and whatever they bung into all those milkshake IPAs. Showcasing craft breweries from far and wide including a New York showcase, European faves and local up and comers, it’s probably worth having 2 paracetamols and a pint of water by the bed for when you get home. Tickets are £115 for the whole weekender (including all your beer) and start at £42.50 for a five-hour session.
MAGIC OF THAILAND FESTIVAL | PLATT FIELDS PARK | 24 & 25 JULY
If the pandemic scuppered your gap yah plans, get a taster of Thailand at Platt Fields Park instead with two days of traditional Thai culture in Fallowfield. Visitors can expect to be wowed by traditional performance, shocked or awed by Muay Thai boxing and happily trodden on by an upbeat sadist in the on-site Thai massage area. At the centre of it all is a bounty of Thai food. Tickets start at £4 per day.
Follow Davey on Twitter: @dbretteats
Read next: Top things to do in Manchester: July 2021
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