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25 Jan 2021 - 4 minutes

Hello 2021: 8 things to look forward to in Manchester

Escape to Freight

It’s fair to say the past 12 months have been a kick in the teeth, wallet and social calendar for pretty much everybody. Yet there’s relief on the way… Post-lockdown, Manchester is going to hum with resuscitated events, so we can dust ourselves off and have fun again.

We’ve been doing our part until Covid eases its grip, of course, with special live streams and performances for our residents. But, like you, we’re eager to get back on the streets. To do and see things in strange places.

Let’s see what’s coming. Here’s how Manchester’s getting back on its feet in 2021…

Manchester International Festival (MIF)

As construction of The Factory continues apace, MIF should be returning in July. Their Twitter account is very much active – they’ve called out for creative talent in the runup. And we have no doubt that MIF 2021 will continue to cement its status as one of the most diverse, mind-boggling arts events in the world, with shows, head-trips and multi-media collabs aplenty. We do know that The Walk is planned – a giant puppet of a nine year old refugee, travelling all the way (on foot) from the Turkish/Syrian border.

Bon Iver

2019 was a restorative year for the Wisconsin band that’s grown enormously since it was just a man in a log cabin. Tracks from i, i hung around on many indie playlists, and Bon Iver’s cancellation of a rare UK tour was a blow to our live appetite last spring. But the Manchester Arena show has been rescheduled for October. You can nab a ticket now if you act fast, with the chance to hear ‘Holyfields’ and ‘Perth’ in glowing communion with thousands of fans.

Imperial War Museum (IWM)

You might be in the mood for some sobering history, especially to put 2020 in perspective. Trust the IWM to deliver with a £30.5m WWII project spanning two floors and 3000 sq. metres. It’ll be the world’s first Holocaust exhibit tied directly to moments from the rest of the war. Also, we’ll see the return of the Poppies: Wave & Weeping sculpture, a red wash of flowers that toured London and museums further north.

Manchester Art Gallery

Platt Hall has been many things in its 250-year existence. Tea room, domestic house, police HQ, refugee sanctuary… But fashion’s been the mainstay from 1947, when the first ever Gallery of Costumes came to life. Now this buttoned-up bounty is transforming Manchester Gallery, relocating in November with a focus on dandy fashion from the 18th and 19th centuries. Expect buckles, petticoats, absurd wigs and tasselled walking sticks.

Band On The Wall

One of Manchester’s oldest music haunts has weathered coronavirus like a champ. It received £412,000 from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, and looks set to fulfil its long-penned expansion into the rear, derelict Cocozza building. This Victorian relic will expand capacity from 300 to 450 for headline artists, while opening a brand-new intimate performance area for an 80-strong crowd. Digital artworks will be installed in place of venue windows.

Pride Festival

Everyone’s favourite heel-strutting glitter-fest returns with more moxie than three seasons of Ru Paul. How couldn’t it? Pride is a jewel in our cultural dress-up drawer. Expect seismic energy to ripple from Canal Street through parades, club nights and headliner acts. Kim Petras, Years & Years and Arianne Grande shared a stage last time, so we’re eagerly awaiting the full 2021 lineup. Whether Adam Lambert is still on the cards is up for debate. Regardless, this year’s Pride will host the explosion of colour and common humanity we’ve been craving.

Manchester Poetry Library

For some of us, solace lies in the written word – especially those spanning 300 years and 200 languages. Head down to All Saints Park by Oxford Road for a dose of literary genius. Manchester Metropolitan is crafting the North West’s only dedicated poetry library, welcome to kids and adults alike. Here you’ll see first-hand why our city has been a UNESCO world site for literature since 2017. There’ll be classics aplenty, plus audio, video and education tools, with space for grassroots readings and workshops.

Escape To Freight Island

There was a lot of buzz around this immersive pop-up in the Mayfield Depot. As we acclimatised to 2020, Escape To Freight Island launched neon-rich bars, pizzerias and taco vendors together with respect to social distancing. There’s no sign it’s going anywhere either. At the time of writing, the Escape . . . team are on lockdown, but they’re advising us to check social feeds for the grand reopening details. Month by month, seating will become more intimate as DJ sets get back into the groove. We can’t wait to try their craft beers again!

What are you looking forward to the most? Drop us a message on social. Or maybe you’re on the prowl for a fresh apartment, eager to kick 2021 off in irrepressible style? We can help with that. Speak to the Alliance experts and let’s talk about the future. As Manchester comes to life, it’s important to think what yours is going to be like, whenever you walk through the front door.

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