New announcement brings afrobeat, rave documentary and the Blur frontman to the festival line-up

The latest news out of the MIF21 camp will have Blur fans saying "Woo hoo!" as festival favourite Damon Albarn returns this summer for a one-off live appearance.

Albarn, a longtime MIF collaborator, will perform live accompanied by a band and string quartet, touching upon his vast song catalogue including current project The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows which is inspired by the landscapes of Iceland. The show will take place at Manchester Central and tickets will go on sale soon with priority booking available for MIF members.

Homecoming Live will bring an exciting showcase of the most exciting music from Africa, the diaspora and beyond

Elsewhere on the bill, Homecoming Live (17 July) will bring a showcase of the most exciting music from Africa, the diaspora and beyond, with a celebration of the continent and cultural exchange. Nigerian Afrorave star Rema, whose previous work includes collaborations with Skepta and JAE5 as well as a spot on Barack Obama’s 2019 summer playlist, will headline alongside Afrobeat rising star Midas The Jagaban. The show, which will be live-streamed on the night, will also take place at Manchester Central. 

The event will mark the first event of a long-term relationship with Homecoming which seeks to nurture cultural exchange between Nigeria and Manchester.

A Picture Of Damon Albarn From Blur And Other Bands Including Gorillaz Who Will Be Performing At Mif21 At Manchester Central
Damon Albarn will return for MIF21 with a smile and a rare live performance Linda Brownlee

Recently announced Warehouse Project headliner Laurent Garnier will also feature at MIF21, this time in documentary form. The festival will premiere Gabin Rivoire’s documentary Laurent Garnier: Off the Record, (11 July) which chronicles the life and times of legendary French DJ and producer as well as the history and political response to rave culture.

The documentary will mix archive footage with interviews and tour footage for a never-before-seen look at one of the world’s most loved DJs. Garnier, whose early career coincided with pioneering sets at the Hacienda, will take part in a Q&A after the screening with writer, broadcaster and fellow Hacienda alumni Dave Haslam.

Laurent Garnier The French Rave Dj Playing To A Crowd As Part Of The Promotion For His Documentary Premiering At Manchester International Festival
DJ and producer icon Laurent Garnier will take part in a Q&A as part of the premiere of his new documentary

The expansive music line-up at MIF21 will also see the world premiere of three new commissions including The Patience of Trees (16 July), a work inspired by the healing power of nature, which will be performed by Manchester Camerata at Manchester Central.

MIF21 will take place across Manchester from 1 - 18 July. Selected tickets are available now - book tickets for Manchester International Festival 2021 here.

Read next: Festa Italiana returns to Manchester this summer

Read again: MIF21: Manchester residents invited to dance down Deansgate

Don't miss out

Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email.