MIF 2023: Factory International announces line-up for free Festival Square

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Here’s everything you need to know about the massive free event taking place at Festival Square this summer.

Factory International has announced its line-up of events taking place at Festival Square during this summer’s Manchester International Festival. And the best thing about it – it’s completely free.

Over 190 bands, DJs and musicians are set to perform on the open-air stage at Festival Square’s new riverside location over the course of MIF 2023. The two-week festival, which is among the most important cultural events in the city, will take place from June 29-July 16.

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Who is performing?

There are acts to suit all musical tastes on the bill for the free Festival Square celebrations. Some of the notable names include post-punk band A Certain Ratio, who are celebrating 45 years together, avant-pop-trio The Orielles, electro art rock quartet Dutch Uncles, as well as trans-non-binary, singer-songwriter, composer and producer Planningtorock. Some of the international performers include singer-songwriter Nakhane, acapella group The Joy, who’ve recently performed on Jools Holland, plus an in conversation with Canadian artist Peaches.

Continuing the showcase of local talent, some of Manchester favourite club nights, promoters, collectives, radio stations and venues will also be getting involved by hosting their own takeovers. Some of those groups include Band on the Wall, Brighter Sound, Dave Haslam, Feel Good Club, Piano in the City, Reform Radio, Trans Creative and YES.

Post-punk band A Certain Ratio will playing at Festival Square during MIF 2023. Credit llen BethAbdi_Chunky_MatthewSteele_credit_Paul_HusbandPost-punk band A Certain Ratio will playing at Festival Square during MIF 2023. Credit llen BethAbdi_Chunky_MatthewSteele_credit_Paul_Husband
Post-punk band A Certain Ratio will playing at Festival Square during MIF 2023. Credit llen BethAbdi_Chunky_MatthewSteele_credit_Paul_Husband | llen BethAbdi_Chunky_MatthewSteele_credit_Paul_Husband

Every lunchtime on Tuesday-Friday, there will also be experimental classical concerts from the likes of Vulva Voce, Bothy Project, Untold Orchestra and K’in Ensemble. There will also be performances from 26 performances from local acts and community groups that have been selected out of 290 applicants.

The full line-up can now be found on the Manchester International Festival website.

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What else can we expect?

Some of Manchester food and drink spots will be at Festival Square keeping the crowds refreshed, including Super Serve, who were recently announced as Factory International’s food & beverage partner. Elsewhere, you can expect plant-based Caribbean from ARMR, Hip Hop Chip Shop, Indian and Pakistani cuisine from Zouk and sweet treats from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium.

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium will be at Festival Square this summer. Credit: Ginger’s Comfort EmporiumGinger’s Comfort Emporium will be at Festival Square this summer. Credit: Ginger’s Comfort Emporium
Ginger’s Comfort Emporium will be at Festival Square this summer. Credit: Ginger’s Comfort Emporium | Ginger’s Comfort Emporium

MIF23 is a family event, which means there will also be plenty to keep the little ones entertained from the likes of Babyrocksampler, Born To Be Wild Child, Playhouse Project, delivering activities such as song and dance workshops, interactive music-making and storytelling.

If you’re not going to be in the city over the summer and don’t want to miss out, you will be able to listen and watch along with the crowds online factoryinternational.org and the Factory International YouTube, where you will also find interviews, performances and behind the scenes access to the productions at MIF23.

What do the organisers say?

Rivca Burns, Festival Square programmer for Factory International says: “We’re super excited to share the 2023 edition of Festival Square, featuring more voices than ever before from across Greater Manchester. It is an honour to create the programme for the hub of Manchester International Festival, the talent in this city is huge and bringing over 190 acts to this international stage. The programme will excite, inspire and fill you with joy daily, get down to Festival Square to enjoy your new favourite artist!”

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Sarah Maxfield, area director for the North, Arts Council England, said “It is fantastic to have Manchester International Festival back across the city after the limitations of the pandemic. Festival Square offers the local community and visitors a chance to enjoy a huge variety of free live music and family activities and it’s great to see so many artists from Greater Manchester performing in this year’s programme.”

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