Manchester Psych Fest 2024 at Various Venues

Manchester Psych Fest 2024
Various Venues
31st August 2024

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Holly Macve, who plays Manchester Psych Fest this August. © Laura-Mary Carter
Holly Macve, who plays Manchester Psych Fest this August. © Laura-Mary Carter

Another superb line-up brings festivalgoers the chance to get up-close with the likes of BC Camplight, Billie Marten, Baxter Dury, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Altın Gün and The Horrors as Psych Fest returns to the familiar surrounds of Albert Hall, YES, The Ritz and Gorilla. Projekts Skatepark will be the festival’s first outdoor stage, and conveniently guaranteed to be rain-free thanks to cover provided by The Mancunian Way. More new acts and venues will be announced over the summer for what will be, by far, the festival’s biggest outing to date.

For the third year in a row, Circle Square is the festival’s hub, and it’s a space that works remarkably well. Here you can pick up your wristband, browse the pop-up encampment of stalls, and, if you get down early enough, even enjoy a spot of yoga. By late afternoon the area buzzes with crowds who fill the grass pavilions as they float between sets. Squint just a little and it genuinely feels like being somewhere, somewhere… in a field in Hampshire.

Well, you get the idea.

Circle Square during Manchester Psych Fest last year © DER FOTOAUTOMAT PHOTOGRAPHY
Circle Square during Manchester Psych Fest last year © DER FOTOAUTOMAT PHOTOGRAPHY

Psych Fest has grown from an all-day session at the 250-capacity Night & Day, to an event that brings six thousand people into the city. Like any festival of this size, line-up clashes are inevitable, but also deliberate. While the stage times may leave some ticketholders wishing they could bein several places at once, the day is carefully curated to ensure everyone isn’t converging on a single venue.

Capacity and security measures mean that queuing is an unavoidable part of the day, but the organisers have listened to the feedback and put procedures in place to better communicate with those in line.

Thankfully, this year’s line-up is another belter and there’s always plenty to be discovered across the festival’s many stages. And exploration will be rewarded. The further you dig, the more you’ll discover. Working Men’s Club, Lime Garden, Hamish Hawk, Yard Act and BDRMM have all been amongst the ‘small fonted’ bands in recent years. This year’s line-up is equally deep.

Fat Dog are hotly tipped to be the talk of the festival. The band’s live shows are already notorious and 2023 single ‘King of Slugs’ gives you a good idea of what you’re getting yourself into. TTSSFU, aka Tasmin Stephens, is an up-and-coming Manchester artist whose 2024 album, Me, Jed and Andy, is a low-fi retro delight. Whitelands are a new shoegaze and dreampop outfit with Ghanaian/London roots and billed as the perfect band for people who like loud guitars, soft voices. Toronto’s Wine Lips are a proper garage rock band, a bit of a throwback to the likes of The Sonics, and Iggy Pop can be counted amongst their fans. The Irish-born, Yorkshire-raised singer Holly Macve is getting a lot of attention right now. Her melodramatic ‘western noir’ sound is reminiscent of the work of her friend and collaborator Lana Del Ray if it were remixed by Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline.

The festival’s multi-venue model means you’ll be traversing Oxford Road throughout the day, clocking up thousands of steps and taking the edge off the next morning’s sore head by impressing your fitness tracker. In truth, journeys between venues are all part of the fun with the festival bringing a friendly vibe to the city, and, of course, there’s plenty of places to stop for refreshment. Festival venues like Sandbar, YES, Gorilla and Deaf Institute are great spots to refuel. Circle Square also has a number of options, Hello Oriental and Federal are perfect for filling your belly, as is North Taproom which also boasts a cracking choice of drinks and an outdoor space which spills out into the festival hub. University Green and Society can be found in between venues, as can legendary pubs like Britons Protection, The Pev and Temple.

Let’s put it this way, there won’t be many moments during the day where you find yourself longing for a muddy field.

This year, Creative Manchester, The University of Manchester’s research platform for developing and championing research in creativity and creative practices, is working alongside the festival to curate a strand of discussion. Announced closer to the day, the programme will reflect the themes of the festival and bring together the knowledge quarter’s academic and musical strands.

It is part of Psych Fest’s wider programme which includes visual art, discussion and workshops and further underlines the organisers ever-growing intent of this forward-thinking festival which is now a well established part of the city’s cultural calendar.

Manchester Psych Fest takes place on Saturday 31 August at venues across the Corridor. Get tickets at

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