AS IT enters its thirteenth year, it’s hard to believe that Sounds from the Other City sold just four advance tickets for its first edition in 2005. Granted ‘a load of people who may have been at a loss as to what to do that day’ ended up checking it out, but few imagined it would become the sell-out success it is now.
Midday will see NTS broadcast a unique showcase by BBC Philharmonic live from Salford Cathedral
Now something of a veteran amongst an influx of music festival newcomers, SFTOC is renowned for its fabled ‘Sounds’ atmosphere and music publications far and wide have praised its curation of the best upcoming talent - not to mention its independent spirit and use of unlikely Chapel Street venues. With street food and craft beer added to the medley, and even its own TV channel, the Salfordian event attracts over 2000 visitors annually.
Returning on 30 April, Sounds from the Other City #13 promises more of the same winning bank holiday formula. Following in the footsteps of former SFTOC acts such as Sampha, Pumarosa, Lapalux, James Ferraro and Alt-J, the first acts have been unveiled today - with the full line-up to follow in mid March.
Otherworldly experimentalists HMLTD (otherwise known, less like a coding language, as Happy Meal Ltd) - labelled by NME as ‘something genuinely different’ - will be joined by Flamingods, a Bahrain-UK quintet known for their ‘exotic’ psychedelia, and the equally ethereal-sounding Goat Girl; described by The Guardian as ‘ready to turn indie music on its head and rip its guts out.’ They’ll be joined by Dutch singer-songwriter Annelotte de Graaf aka Amber Arcades, Kiwi RBMA graduate Fazerdaze and Blah Records’ Sleazy F Baby’s richly textured hip hop.
Midday will see NTS broadcast a unique showcase by BBC Philharmonic live from Salford Cathedral, part hosted by Islington Mill’s artist-led residency programme Samarbeta. This is the final instalment in a trilogy of performances between the orchestra and alternative contemporary ensemble Ex Easter Island Head, who will be joined by double recorder, fiddle performer and composer Laura Cannell for a special promenade performance.
SFTOC is unique in that each stage is hosted by a different promoter - including The White Hotel, Heavenly Records, Now Wave or Hey! Manchester - and venues span historic churches to transformed trading estate units and vintage pubs. While spotting promising emerging talent is a large part of its appeal, the festival also works as a creative playground for artists, labels and promoters to explore and push boundaries.
Collaborations with visual artists is another staple: previous partnerships include Volkov Commanders, Cosmologists and Him Hallows. Visual directors for 2017 are IMPA.TV, who hosted last year’s hit SFTOC.TV stage. We’re told to expect live visuals, archive footage, set design and performance employed in ‘new and exciting ways’ to unite the look and feel of the site.
Sounds from the Other City will take place on 30 April from 3pm to 4am across various Chapel Street venues - tickets are available here.