From inflatable monsters to bowling alleys and beer - time to fill that diary

INDY MAN BEER MONTH | Various | October  

Its usual Victoria Baths festival may be cancelled, but that hasn’t stopped Indy Man Beer Con hosting some hoppy happenings this autumn; a month of collaborations with brewery friends. Still thirsty (or hungry)? Also check out Urmston Fringe, part of the (now cancelled) Manchester Food and Drink Festival, which is going ahead with a roster of events spanning wine fairs to culinary walking tours.

TENPIN BOWLING | Printworks | Now open 

Few are the attractions to brave opening this year, but Tenpin Bowling is one of them. With twelve lanes of interactive bowling, the entertainment centre - which launched in September - also boasts two bars and a ‘state-of-the-art arcade’ alongside table tennis, American pool tables, beer pong, shuffleboard tables and a karaoke room. And if one new bowling alley wasn’t enough, Manchester is set to welcome two more this autumn; find out more here.

2020 09 28 Tenpin Bowling Alley Printworks
Tenpin is one of three bowling venues to open in Manchester this season

BADLY DRAWN PETS | Online | Ongoing  

With many charities struggling from this year’s economic fallout, the team at RSPCA Manchester and Salford have launched what is possibly the year’s most quirky fundraiser - ‘Badly Drawn Pets.’ Send in a picture of your furry friend(s) and the team will create a ‘pawtrait’ that is bound to make you chuckle. Talking of super Salford campaigns, we also love Islington Mill’s Masks for Life.

A GOOD MARKET | Sadler’s Yard | Fridays until 18th December

A Good Market focuses on B-Corp brands (those that balance profit with people and the planet), making it the first of its kind in the UK. Hosted by Old Bank NOMA and the Pilcrow Pub, the market takes place every Friday until December; promising seasonal food, sustainable products, free workshops, engaging talks, live music and great local beers. More here.

2020 09 11 A Good Market Dhal
Free dhal for your thoughts? Sounds a good exchange to us

FRESHERS GOES VIRTUAL | Online | Thursday 1st October

With physical revelling largely out of bounds this year, students nationwide will be able to tune in to a three-hour nationwide show like no other on 1st October; featuring the likes of Bongo’s Bingo, Joel Corry and Clean Bandit. One party not enough? October also sees the postponed Headstock Festival (10th - 11th); Unseen, a streamed series of major concerts in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust; and the continuation of Social Avenue's socially distanced shindigs at Trafford Park.   

UNTOLD | Online | Thursday 1st October

Also on Thursday 1st October at 8pm, Manchester Camerata (‘Britain’s most adventurous orchestra,’ The Times) broadcasts the first of a new online film series on United We Stream. Commissioned and curated especially by the orchestra during these unprecedented times, Untold  tells the remarkable and intimate personal stories of real people in the community through film, storytelling, prose and of course stunning music performed from The Monastery in Gorton.

THE BIG DRAW FESTIVAL | Nationwide | 1st - 31st October

This nationwide drawing festival - which comprises thousands of creative events, activities and workshops every October - is going green for 2020, as a #ClimateOfChange theme highlights our bittersweet relationship with nature.

It isn’t the only drawing initiative raising awareness for vital causes. Ahead of World Mental Health Day (10th October), #DrawForYoungLives has launched to drive more conversation around mental health and suicide in the young. Buy exclusive and diverse artworks from international artists available as affordable prints (from only £25), with all profits from sales of prints split equally between the artist and leading suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS.

Other great nationwide initiatives taking place this month include Fun Palaces (3rd - 4th) and Libraries Week (5th - 10th). Black History Month, meanwhile, includes stellar events from Manchester LibrariesHOME and See My World

2020 09 28 Home Black History Month
Nationwide venues celebrating Black History Month include HOME

GREATER MANCHESTER FRINGE FESTIVAL | Regionwide | 1st October - 30th November

Now something of an institution, this inclusive festival - postponed from July - traverses comedy, drama and everything in between. With profits crippled by indoor social distancing rules, be sure to give the Fringe and its host venues (all of which have worked hard to be COVID-safe) some support. The more recently established Levy Fringe has also been deferred to this month, 22nd - 31st October. 

HEART OF THE HEATONS | Online | 2nd - 12th October

‘An annual local festival of inspiration and connectivity, spreading collective joy through arts, music and culture,’ HOTH takes place across the four Heatons. Other community fests this month include the LGBTQ+ Festival of Happiness and #OurTrafford Festival, one of a series - additionally including Bury and, later, Wigan and Stockport - supported by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and delivered by organisations including MancSpirit.

2020 03 17 I Knead Pizza Making Pizza
Heart of the Heatons spans tai chi classes to pizza workshops with I Knead Pizza

AID WORKERS: ETHICS UNDER FIRE | IWM North | 2nd October - 31st May 2021

Around the world, every day, aid organisations help vulnerable populations forced to flee their homes because of conflict. But how do they choose who to help or which risks to take - and can their presence do more harm than good? These are just some of the challenges that will be explored in this new exhibition, which forms part of IWM’s Refugees season. 

CHORLTON ARTS FESTIVAL | Online | 3rd - 4th October

Visual art, music, performance, creative writing, crafts, film…Chorlton Arts Festival brings together all this and more, last year spanning over 100 artists and 39 venues across Chorlton. Organisers are hosting a digital version of the May festival this autumn, featuring everything from local bands to 3D artwork.

DAY FOR DANA | Various | Sunday 4th October 

Studios across Manchester have joined together to offer a day of donation-only yoga classes, raising money for the family of much-loved yoga teacher Dana Baniel; who recently passed away. There are many classes to choose from, both virtual and physical, across four locations: The Life Centre North, One Yoga, Yoga Soul and Hero.

2020 09 28 Dana Baniel
Much-loved yoga teacher Dana Baniel passed away in September

GRIMMFEST | Online | 7th - 11th October

The UK’s leading festivals of horror, sci-fi, extreme fantasy and cult film, Grimmfest has gone online for 2020 and is invading homes with a wicked programme indeed… Other virtual film fests this month include Wigan & Leigh (various dates) and Bolton (16th - 25th), while the London Film Festival - nationwide this year - will be hitting HOME from 7th - 17th October. 

GM WALKING FESTIVAL | Online | 12th - 25th October 

Greater Manchester Walking Festival usually sees hundreds of free walks across all ten districts in spring. Instead of hosting the event in its usual format, organisers are encouraging residents to set their own activities and targets with a virtual 'Let's Walk' fortnight this month. If running is more your bag, October also sees a virtual Running Bee in support of Gorton's HideOut Youth Zone. 

2020 03 18 Greater Manchester Walking Festival
Stroller, roamer, shuffler, moocher or a marcher - the Let’s Walk Fest has something for you

MANCHESTER LITERATURE FESTIVAL | Online | 23rd - 25th October  

It’s been cancelled in its physical format but MLF is still going ahead digitally with a series of events spanning poet and performer Kate Tempest to novelists Tayari Jones and Brit Bennett. Fancy being the wordsmith yourself? Then consider Comma Press’ Creative Writing Industry Day conference.  

RECORD STORE DAY | Various | Saturday 24th October

Involving thousands of people and small businesses, Record Store Day sees vinyl shops host special events across the world. While cancelled in its normal format, it will now take place via RSD 'drop' dates; including this month, Saturday 24th October.

HALLOWEEN IN THE CITY | Citywide | 26th October - 1st November

Plenty of tricks, plenty more treats…the city’s favourite Halloween happening is back this October, with everything from a drive-in cinema to the return of the inflatable monsters. For more ways to celebrate this All Hallows, check out our roundup here

2019 10 02 Halloween In The City Monster 1
They’re planning a comeback…

From music to theatre and comedy, there’s loads happening on the performing arts front this month too - see our article for more...