BBC Radio 6 Music Festival: star-studded pop event in Manchester including Arlo Parks - when it is & what’s on

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Greater Manchester has been announced as the new permanent home of BBC Radio 6 Music’s flagship event, with stars including Christine and the Queens and Arlo Parks coming to perform.

The BBC Radio 6 Music Festival is coming to Manchester with a host of top names from the world of popular music performing live in the city.

The radio station’s flagship event is coming full circle as it returns to the place where it began in 2014, with live performances from A-list acts, new shows, collaborations and special guest appearances all taking place over the weekend in late March. Greater Manchester has also been announced as the new permanent home of the festival, which also includes top DJs spinning the decks for music fans and radio audiences at top Manchester venues.

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Here’s what you can expect when the festival rocks up in Manchester and how you can get your hands on tickets.

When is the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival in Manchester and what’s on?

The BBC Radio 6 Music Festival takes place in Manchester between Friday 24 March and Sunday 26 March, with live performances, club nights and more taking place in the city across the three days.

The main festival kicks off on the Friday night at the O2 Victoria Warehouse with Loyle Carner unveiling a new collaboration with the AMC Gospel Choir from Manchester as well as an appearance from Wu-Lu and a DJ set by Tarsza.

At the same venue on Saturday night a global premiere comes to Manchester as Christine and the Queens unveil a new live show with support from Lava La Rue and a DJ set from Jamz Supernova, while on the Sunday Arlo Parks plays new music and collaborates with special guests on an evening also featuring The Big Moon and Don Letts spinning the decks.

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Christine and the Queens will perform a new show in Manchester for the festival. Photo: Getty Images For Global CitizenChristine and the Queens will perform a new show in Manchester for the festival. Photo: Getty Images For Global Citizen
Christine and the Queens will perform a new show in Manchester for the festival. Photo: Getty Images For Global Citizen | Getty Images For Global Citizen

There are also two big club nights as part of the festival. Indie Forever takes place at Band on the Wall from 9pm on the Friday, with Steve Lamacq and a line-up of guest DJs including BBC Music Introducing’s Emily Pilbeam, Good Future, Yard Act and Tim Burgess playing indie favourites. Then on Saturday night from 11pm Rave Forever comes from Victoria Warehouse with classic rave tracks and new club sounds introduced by 6 Music’s Afrodeutsche and DJs Phoebe I-H (another BBC Music Introducing talent), Hot Chip and Erol Alkan.

On the Sunday from noon Daniel Avery will spin the decks for a two-hour DJ set at Ramona for the Morning After Mix show.

Before all that, though, Manchester’s music scene will take centre stage on Thursday 23 March for a warm-up event at Band on the Wall introducing acts from the city including Afflecks Palace, Antony Szmierek and Phoebe Green.

Highlights from the festival will be broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio Manchester from MediaCityUK in Salford, as well as on BBC Sounds, BBC Four, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Music YouTube channel. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Thursday 16 February at the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival webpage.

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What has been said about the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival coming to Manchester?

Samantha Moy, head of BBC Radio 6 Music, said: “6 Music will be rooted in Salford over time, so we’re bringing the festival back home to Greater Manchester, where it all began, with some incredible performances.

“You may have seen Arlo Parks, Christine and the Queens and Loyle Carner before, but you won’t have seen them like this before. It promises to be a very special weekend indeed.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We are delighted to welcome the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival to Manchester. There is a rich musical heritage in Greater Manchester, and a real pride in the independent music scene, and as BBC Radio 6 Music has always supported new and alternative artists, it’s a perfect fit for the festival to have its permanent home in the city for the years to come.

“There’s so much new Greater Manchester music out there right now that deserves to be heard, which is why we started Artist of the Month with BBC Radio Manchester, and like BBC Radio 6 Music, we want to give emerging talent a platform.”

Arlo Parks will perform in Manchester at the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival. Photo: Getty Images for SpotifyArlo Parks will perform in Manchester at the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival. Photo: Getty Images for Spotify
Arlo Parks will perform in Manchester at the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival. Photo: Getty Images for Spotify | Getty Images for Spotify

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The artists themselves have also expressed excitement about coming to Manchester as part of the festival.

Arlo Parks said: “This is the first time I’ll be introducing my new album in a live setting and I’m so excited. To be surrounded by such innovative, singular artists is a real joy and I genuinely can’t wait for this.”

Wu-Lu said: “I am super excited about playing Manchester again – haven’t been back there in a while! Definitely going to show out, just going to try some new songs and try and do some exclusive stuff! Big shout to 6 Music for showing so much love over the course of our career.”

Lava La Rue said: “The first artist to bring me on a run of shows with them was Christine and the Queens - one of those first shows being in Manchester. It’s going to be exciting joining him on the line up for the 6 Music Festival back in Manny for a full circle moment. I was playing my debut single back on that tour with Chris and now I’ll be playing songs off my debut album at 6 Music Festival.”

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