16 Great Things To Do In Manchester This September

From the Buy Art Fair and Made Here to the Warehouse Project and MFDF, it's going to be a busy old month

Written by  The Confidentials | Follow @ | Wednesday, 31 August 2016 15:57

Below you'll find sixteen great things to do in Manchester this month, including Cirque du Soleil, a firewalk challenge and London Road Fire Station's first ever festival. You can also find our monthly Top 10 gigs and concerts, theatre and comedy shows and art events and exhibitions here.


FESTEJAR | Albert Square | 1-4 September

With the umpteen Spanish restaurants opening in Manchester of late, it would seem the city has thoroughly embraced all things español. Prepare for another Spanish incoming with the Festejar festival (translating to ‘celebrate'), with four days of live music, traditional dancing and - importantly - a great deal of food and sangria. Plus, don't miss the chance to attend some (free) masterclasses with some of the most revered Spanish chefs this side of the Atlantic. 

Albert Square, M60 2LA (various; full line up here).


MANCHESTER FOOTBALL WRITING FESTIVAL | National Football Museum | 1-8 September

From examining ‘50 years of England's hurt’ to a look back at Manchester’s history of young football talent, the Manchester Football Writing Festival will unite some of football’s outspoken and informed voices to explore the best of the beautiful game. In association with Waterstones Deansgate, Hotel Football and the RNCM, expected festival highlights include The Guardian Football Weekly Live and a panel lead by Women In Football, who will be offering tips on how to get ahead in football journalism.

National Football Museum, Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Todd Street, M4 3BG (various; check the website).


THE GREAT BRITISH BARBER BASH | Victoria Warehouse | Sunday 4 September

Safe to say that the haircuts on show at this year’s Barber Bash will go far beyond the traditional short back and sides. Armed with clippers and cut-throat razors, approximately 800 barbers - including 25 of Britain’s best-known names - will gather at Victoria Warehouse for live demonstrations. Heads of hair will become canvases for supremely talented celebrity barber Julius Caesar, who will be flown in from Los Angeles to show the city how it’s done.

Victoria Warehouse, Trafford Wharf Road, M17 1AB (doors 12pm; tickets £26 at victoriawarehouse.com). 


BIG FISH LITTLE FISH | The Factory | Sunday 4 September

It’s a line-up you’d expect at any good Manchester rave; Hacienda DJ Mark XTC will be spinning dance classics, there'll be a ‘multi-sensory’ dance floor, glitter cannons and something called a ‘giant parachute dance.’ Sounds like great fun - one point of difference, though, this rave is for the entire family. Cited as ‘London’s Latest Clubbing Craze’, the Big Fish Little Fish ‘2-4 hour party people’ (get it?) are bringing family raving to Manchester this month with a ‘back to the old skool' theme. Strap your kids in and have a boogie.

The Factory, 118 Princess Street, M1 7EN (2-4.30pm; tickets from £6.50 at billetto.co.uk).

Big Fish Little Fish


110th BIRTHDAY WEEK | Victoria Baths | 7-11 September

Olympians, Commonwealth heroes and the even first woman to swim the English Channel have all dipped their toes in Victoria Baths since the municipal pool first open doors in 1906. Now considered one of Manchester’s finest heritage attractions, Victoria Baths will commemorate its 110 years with a series of celebrations over one week. From guided tours to water polo, events will all take place inside the listed Edwardian building (see here for full listings). Highlights include the 110th birthday feast with the Real Junk Food Project and head chef Mary Ellen Mctague, who will be rustling up a spread from food that would otherwise be throw out. Tickets for the feast cost £45 and will go towards the Baths’ ongoing restoration fund. 

Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock, M13 0FE (various; check the website). 


AMALUNA | intu Trafford Centre | 7 September - 9 October

Prepare for breath-taking stunts, gravity-defying acrobats and otherworldly costumes as the Cirque Du Soleil return to Manchester with new show, Amaluna. Amaluna is a theatrical display based ‘loosely on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest’ and will be shown to Manchester audiences for the first time at the Trafford Centre.

intu Trafford Centre, Stretford, M17 8AA (various times; tickets from £17 here). 



HERITAGE OPEN DAYS | Citywide | 8-11 September

Take a walk back through time this September with Heritage Open Days, England's biggest festival of history and culture. All for free, you can discover Victoria Park in the 1890s, Ukrainian folk art, beautifully restored Georgian churches and much more in Manchester.

Various; check the website


THROUGH THE MILL | Ancoats | 9-10 September

This two-day festival will offer a great mix of music, history, education, art and culture to get stuck into, all in the aid of celebrating the Ancoats community – plus, it’s free. Ancoat’s beautiful, Grade II listed St Peter’s Church will play host to a ‘psychedelic disco tech’, with a live performance courtesy of the Ancoats Golden Choir and a few local legends. 

Various; check the website




Continuing the centenary celebrations of beloved children’s author, Roald Dahl, New Bailey will host Glittering Eyes - a pop-up immersive cinema which will be showing a collection of his best-loved films. Over an entire weekend, immerse yourself in the wonders of Matilda, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, James and The Giant Peach outdoors on the New Bailey track. Visitors are also invited to come early and soak up the atmosphere by browsing the pop-up library, and throwing ’some dream bombs’. To help further fuel imaginations, there will be a Willy Wonka inspired spread on offer.

New Bailey Street, Salford, M3 5AX (tickets from £7.50 at eventbrite.co.uk).  


MADE HERE | London Road Fire Station | Saturday 10 September

After suffering a long period of neglect under Britannia Hotels, London Road Fire Station can once again look forward to a future at the heart of the community - owing to new owners Allied London’s masterplan. Made Here, the first in a series of events to be held at the Victorian landmark, will see some of the city’s finest designers gather in the old Engine Room to showcase their wares. Browsers will also find local food and drink producers in the courtyard, as well as DJ performances into the evening. More info here.

London Road Fire Station, M1 (11am-9pm; free).


RAMSBOTTOM FESTIVAL | Ramsbottom Cricket Club | 17-18 September

Just by looking at the packed line-up, it’ll be more than worth heading to the hills for this year’s Ramsbottom music festival this month. Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Gaz Coombes and Public Service Broadcasting are headlining the award-winning indie fest while the eclectic combo of international artists, emerging local talent, good ale and grub will ensure this small festival is worlds away from the likes of V and Wireless.

Ramsbottom Cricket Club, Acre Bottom, Ramsbottom, BL0 0BS (from 5pm Friday, noon Sat-Sun; day tickets from £28, full weekend tickets £75 at ramsbottomfestival.com).


BUY ART FAIR | Old Granada Studios | 22-25 September

Buy Art Fair returns to Old Granada Studios to whet artistic appetites with over 100 creative exhibitors and 3,000 artworks to lust over and buy in September. Recognised as one of the UK’s most important festivals of visual arts, Buy Art Fair will bring galleries, artists, talks and classes, exhibitions, music and award-winning food and drink to Old Granada Studios St Johns. Alongside Buy Art Fair comes the seventh edition of The Manchester Contemporary, noted as ‘the only critically engaged art fair outside of London’. This year’s exhibitors include shortlisted artist Janet Kenyon and Nathan Pendlebury, whose prints have recently been used on musician Jake Bugg’s new album cover. 

Old Granada Studios, Quay House, Quay Street, M3 3JE  (various times; tickets from £12 at holdenmedia.digitickets.co.uk). 


FIRE WALK CHALLENGE | YMCA Castlefield | Friday 23 September

Fancy hot-stepping it across hot coals for charity? Take the fire walk challenge with YMCA Castlefield to help raise funds for their ‘Inspiring Futures’ Project, which works with young people aged 24 and under who provide care, assistance or support to another family member. Each fire-walker will be trained before the event, which will also feature a DJ, BBQ and raffle. Entrance is £30, then volunteers will need to raise £70 in sponsorship.

Y Club Manchester, Liverpool Road, M3 4JR


BROTHERS WATER | Gullivers | Friday 23 September (7pm)

Named after a lake that lies in the crook of a steep valley near Leeds, this hot-blooded indie quintet are anything but wet. Recently returned from a clutch of European festival dates (and one in Carlisle), this polished, sometimes poppy, often dark band of brothers recently scored airplay on Radio 1 no less. Well worth a £5 punt in NQ’s Gullivers then…


THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT | Citywide | 23 September 2016 - 1 January 2017

Each year The Warehouse Project claims the autumn/winter party season with their series of hotly-tipped raves and wild antics up until the New Year. Over twelve weeks, see huge names in electronic music - from M.I.A to David Rodigan to Mura Musa - host gigs at Store Street, Old Granada Studios and Albert Hall. Tickets are already selling out quickly.

Various; check the website

The Warehouse Project


MANCHESTER FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL | Citywide | 29 September - 10 October

There will be food and there will be drink - this annual festival certainly needs no hard-sell. The acclaimed Manchester Food and Drink festival will return for its nineteenth year with a great deal to scoff our faces with. The festival hub will pitch back up at Albert Square on the 29th September with the usual street food vendors including the Wainwright ale bar, the Gin Garden with Fever Tree and Vin Van Voom Wines. Notable highlights include Robert Owen Brown’s Edwardian themed Ancoats Supper Club and Aiden Byrne’s seven-course Hidden Banquet (with a menu themed on ‘innovation’) at London Road Fire Station. 

Various; check the website.


MAGGIE'S CULTURE CRAWL | Friday 30 September

Part night walk/part cultural adventure, the first ever Manchester Culture Crawl will begin at the newly-opened and architecturally stunning Maggie’s Centre, in the grounds of the Christie Hospital; the only building in Manchester to be designed by Lord Norman Foster and a finalist for GM Chamber Building of the Year. After experiencing the ambience of the centre, you’ll set off on the 10km walk around the city, getting exclusive access to amazing buildings, encountering talented performers and enjoying delicious food and drink along the way. All money raised for the culture crawl will go towards supporting people with cancer and their family and friends.

Maggie's Centre, The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, 15 Kinnaird Road, M20 4QL (6.30pm; registration £20, walkers asked to raise £80 here).


Need even more inspiration? Check out our monthly Top 10 Gigs & Concerts, Theatre & Comedy and Art Exhibitions.



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