Manchester Guitar Festival: six-string celebration returns to Stoller Hall - with line-up including Eric Bibb

Manchester Guitar Festival is back at Stoller Hall with three days of music including blues, flamenco and classical.
Renowned blues guitarist Eric Bibb will perform at the Manchester Guitar Festival. Photo: AFP via Getty ImagesRenowned blues guitarist Eric Bibb will perform at the Manchester Guitar Festival. Photo: AFP via Getty Images
Renowned blues guitarist Eric Bibb will perform at the Manchester Guitar Festival. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Six-string stars are once again making their way to the city as Manchester Guitar Festival returns in 2023 with a star-studded line-up for its second edition.

The Stoller Hall, which is part of the Chetham’s School of Music complex, will be filled with the sounds of blues, flamenco, classical music and more over three days in May.

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One of the highlights of the festival will come on the opening night when Grammy Award nominated blues troubadour Eric Bibb makes his way across the Atlantic to Manchester to kick the event off in style.

Here’s what else you can look forward to at the 2023 edition of the Manchester Guitar Festival and how you can get your hands on tickets.

When is Manchester Guitar Festival and what is happening at the event?

Manchester Guitar Festival returns to The Stoller Hall for its second year between Friday 19 May and Sunday 21 May. There will be everything from headline gigs and pop-up performances to workshops where people can join in and develop their music skills.

The festival kicks off on Friday 19 May with a performance by Eric Bibb. The two-time Grammy Award nominee and his band will run through songs from the blues singer’s back catalogue while also introducing tracks from his forthcoming album Ridin’.

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On Saturday 20 May music fans will be transported to Andalucia in southern Spain as Seville flamenco guitarist Miguel Pérez. Along with dancer and choreographer Andrés Peña and cantaor (or singer) Miguel Rosendo, they will present Espiritu Flamenco, a celebration of this virtuostic and passionate style of music.

To round off the peformances on Sunday 21 May Manchester’s own Aquarelle Guitar Quartet will take to the stage to show why they are one of the world’s most acclaimed guitar quartets. The group was founded at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in the city and has performed around the world while releasing multiple albums with Chandos Records.

Aquarelle Guitar QuartetAquarelle Guitar Quartet
Aquarelle Guitar Quartet

Guitar fans of all ages will also be able to enjoy pop-up performances in the Atrium at the venues, talks and workshops where guitarists will be able to improve their own skills and enjoy making music together.

There will be an interactive storytelling session for three-to-five-year-olds and a Guitar Choir for eight-to-16-year-olds with tuition from professional musicians. Miguel Pérez will lead an afternoon workshp on flamenco technique, finger-style expert Jon Gomm will lead a masterclass on this technical style of playing and Stuart McCallum will run a workshop on composing for electric guitar and pedals.

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There will also be the first Chetham’s Guitar Academy run by the school of music on the Sunday for musicians aged nine to 17, with experts including Mike Baker (who will perform later that day as part of the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet) and Chetham’s alumnus, classical guitarist Alexandra Whittingham, on hand to help develop technique and pass on tips.

The full programme, as well as information on how to buy tickets for the concerts or day tickets for the Saturday and Sunday, is available at the Manchester Guitar Festival page of the Stoller Hall website here.

What has been said about the Manchester Guitar Festival in 2023?

Fran Healey, general manager at The Stoller Hall, said: “We are so delighted to be bringing the Guitar Festival back this May following such a successful debut in 2022. Alongside the amazing headliners including blues legend Eric Bibb and traditional flamenco from guitarist Miguel Pérez performing with dancer Andrés Peña and Miguel Rosendo, we’ll be filling the weekend with pop-up performances across our building, workshops, trade stalls and other activities.

“As always, we’ll be putting on activities for families, giving your little ones their first chance to experience live music. This year, we’re really looking forward to seeing people bring their instruments and get involved in the participatory events we’re getting lined up for you.

“Guitar Festival is open to all abilities and all types of guitar playing and styles, as well as people who want to come and enjoy the wide variety of musical events.”

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