Manchester to host first ever Northern Music Awards – with performances from Liam Fray and Lisa Stansfield

Here's what to expect from the inaugural Northern Music Awards in Manchester, including how to get tickets
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For the first time ever, the North’s musical prowess is to be celebrated with its own regional music awards – and it’s going to be held right here in Manchester. 

The inaugural Nordoff and Robbins Northern Music Awards will take place on Tuesday 23 April, 2024, at the Albert Hall and will feature a line-up of local legends, including The Courteeners’ Liam Fray and Lisa Stansfield, as well as up-and-coming artists, such as Warrington band The Ks and Leeds quartet English Teacher. Opening the show will be Hyde-born spoken word artist Antony Szmierek, performing a specially commissioned piece.

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Members of the public are welcome to attend the show, with tickets on sale now for £40 via the Nordoff and Robbins website.

Courteeners' Liam Fray. Photo: Carolina FaruoloCourteeners' Liam Fray. Photo: Carolina Faruolo
Courteeners' Liam Fray. Photo: Carolina Faruolo

The organisers, Nordoff and Robbins, are a Manchester-based music therapy charity. Money raised by the awards show, supported by Ticketmaster and Live Nation, will go towards building a new, state-of-the-art music therapy centre in Salford. 

Who is nominated?

The awards will recognise all areas of the music industry. As well as awards for best artist, band and DJ of the year, there will also be awards for best venue, festival, breakthrough act, disruptor, and music moment of the year. 

There are plenty of big names among the nominees, including homegrown Mancunian talent. The best band category includes Greater Manchester bands Blossoms and Courteeners, alongside Sheffield’s Bring Me the Horizon. Hacienda legend DJ Paulette is nominated in the DJ category and Lisa Stansfield will receive the Northern Icon award. 

Parklife Festival in ManchesterParklife Festival in Manchester
Parklife Festival in Manchester
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Manchester’s venues and festivals are also in the running. There are two venue categories – under 500 capacity, in which Night & Day and Yes are nominated, and over 2000 capacity, in which Albert Hall, Band on the Wall and New Century are nominated. On the festival front, Greater Manchester festivals, Pride, Moovin (Stockport), Parklife, Right to Roam (Bolton) and Sounds of the Other City (Salford) are all on the long-list, which will be decided by the public. 

The full list of nominees can be found on the Northern Music Awards website.

What do the organisers and performers say?

Nadra Shah, Director of Engagement and Communications, Nordoff and Robbins, said: “The Northern Music Awards aims to celebrate the massive musical talent that continues to come out of this region and will be held annually in different Northern cities. We want to honour the enormous success of established artists such as the award winning and multi-million album selling Lisa Stansfield - but also spotlight emerging musicians who may not yet be recognised at a national level.

“We really want to support and help to grow the eco system of Northern musicians whilst shining a light on the transformative work we do with music therapy to connect with some of the region’s most isolated communities. In 2024 we’re celebrating 20 years of providing essential music therapy in Greater Manchester and we’re excited that this show will support our vision to open a brand new centre – helped by the money raised from these awards.” 

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Liam Fray said: “It’s a huge honour to be performing at the first Northern Music Awards, not only to help celebrate the incredible music talent that continues to come out of the North, but to raise awareness of the work Nordoff and Robbins does with music therapy, using the power of music to help people connect and communicate.”

Lisa Stansfield said: “Music and singing are in my blood as much as being a proud Mancunian, so to be named Northern Icon at the first ever Northern Music Awards is an immense privilege. I’m incredibly proud to support Nordoff and Robbins to raise money for a new music therapy centre for the people of Greater Manchester. The benefits of music therapy are simply life changing, helping children and adults who are otherwise isolated to break through barriers and find a connection.”

The Mayor Andy Burnham said: “I’m delighted to be helping to bring these inaugural awards to the North – and what better city to launch in than Manchester? Historically, Northern music has always been a cut above, especially the music from working class communities. There is a strong, talented, and passionate musical heritage here that deserves to be celebrated.”

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