Manchester has a thriving music scene. The city that brought us Factory Records, ‘Madchester’ and Oasis is home to a huge number of venues with a constant stream of live music. So whether it’s stadium rock, jazz or folk, there’s sure to be somewhere in the city to cater to your tastes. If you’re heading to the city to see some live music, you should have no problem finding a cheap hotel in Manchester.
One of Manchester’s most famous venues is Band on the Wall, which has been in action since the 1930s and can be found on Swann Street in the Northern Quarter, long regarded as Manchester’s Bohemian district.
The venue is located in a Victorian-era pub and aims to provide the city with access to all kinds of music, such as jazz, folk, World music and reggae. Band on the Wall was at the heart of the punk scene and the Buzzcocks, Joy Division and The Fall all graced its stage in the late ’70s.
The venue closed in 2005 for a major refit and since its reopening in 2009 it has tried to provide not only access to amazing music but also educational courses and community activities on a not-for-profit basis.
The Picturehouse, located in an old cinema dating back to the 1900s, is next to Band on the Wall and houses not only the box office but also places to eat, drink or just meet friends. Band on the Wall is both a popular venue and a venerable Manchester institution.
The Deaf Institute is another wonderful venue, again housed in an impressive building. As the name would suggest, the building was once an institute for the deaf and retains lots of its original features.
The music hall in the venue is dome-shaped and has tiered seating and a mirror ball. The Deaf Institute is the Mancunian home of Indie and there is something on every night. Thanks to its location near the university, it is popular with students but welcomes anyone.
As with Band on the Wall, you can eat and drink at The Deaf Institute, making it a great place to go for a night out. There are well-attended club nights as well as open-mic nights designed to find up and coming musicians. Check the calendar as there is sure to be something on.
The next venue is actually part of the University of Manchester. The Academy 1, 2, 3 and Club has a wide range of offerings over the year. The Academy 1 was recently updated and now has a capacity of 2,300, which makes it a good place to see relatively successful or soon-to-be stadium bands.
Academy 2 and Academy 3 are smaller and so are perfect for bands further down the ladder. Unlike the previous venues, there is neither history nor architecture to attract you – what makes it a great place is the number of gigs that are held there. Nearby you will find numerous bars and pubs for pre- and post-gig refreshment.
The Bridgewater Hall is a modern, purpose-built concert hall. Close to both Deansgate and Oxford Road stations, it is right in the city centre. It cost over £40 million to build and the Halle, the BBC Philharmonic and the Manchester Camerate Orchestras are all based here.
It is not all classical, however, as the hall has about 250 concerts annually covering all genres. It is also the main venue for the Manchester International Festival, which recently saw Elbow perform with the Halle Orchestra. Its acoustics and seating plan make it a fantastic venue and attract many different acts to perform there.
Finally, if it is a stadium act you want to see, then the Manchester Evening News Arena is the place to go. Next to Victoria Station in the city centre, it is accessible by train, car and bus. It is at the MEN arena that all the biggest acts perform.
This year, for example, Rihanna, Nickelback and Happy Mondays will all appear there, as well as many others. With its bar and restaurant The View on site, concert goers can enjoy a complete night out here.
Including music in your night out in Manchester is very easy as there are so many options to choose from. If you’re planning to catch a train or hire a car and visit the city there are clubs and venues dedicated to every type of music, so there is sure to be something on somewhere that appeals to you.