Liverpool and beyond: a 2015 festival guide to the North West’s major events

Festivals General

Put your hands in the air – our guide to the North West’s best 2015 music festivals

The North West dominated the UK Festival Awards, with that in mind, Getintothis’ Paul Higham beats the winter blues by looking ahead to 2015’s major events. 

Having recently published our mammoth (and still expanding) gig guide, we now take a look ahead to the festival season. As reflected in the recent festival award nominations, we are fortunate to have so many festivals that cater to a broad variety of tastes right on our doorstep.

The below provides a summary of the major events that will be taking place in 2015 so you can mark the dates in the diary and start preparing your festival budgets. Do be aware that some of the events have yet to reveal their 2015 hands so do keep checking back here regularly as we’ll be updating for the latest news when it breaks.

To keep on top of all the latest festival news, as well as everything else, do make sure that you follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

Liverpool Soul Festival (launch): 22 February 2015, Parr Street Studios, Liverpool

Liverpool Soul Festival is a new event which, and I’m sure you’d have worked this out on your own, focuses on bringing you the best of soul and soul-influenced music. The aim of the festival is to put Liverpool on the map as a destination for touring soul artists and soul music fans alike.

We’re still waiting on full details at present – watch this space folks – but there is a launch night at Parr Street Studios’ Studio 2 on 22 February. Early bird tickets for the launch are priced at just £4 and are available here.

Liverpool International Jazz Festival: 26 February-1 March 2015, Capstone Theatre and The Kazimier, Liverpool

Liverpool International Jazz Festival was founded in 2013 and is based at the University’s Capstone Theatre. The festival’s focus is on cutting edge jazz and musical innovation and in th east has played host to the likes of Courtney Pine, Denys Baptiste and Roller Trio.

This year the event is working in collaboration with The Kazimier, which will host the opening and closing night. Confirmed 2015 headliners are Mercury Award nominees GoGo Penguin, jazz rock super-trio Troyka, Dennis Rollins’ Velocity Trio and the James Taylor Quartet.

Elsewhere there is a packed agenda of both ticketed and free events as well as a Sunday programme of workshops, further details of which will be announced in due course.

Cosmosis Festival: 14 March 2015, Antwerp Mansion, Rusholme, Manchester

Cosmosis is a one-day Manchester-based festival that celebrates the very best in modern alternative and psychedelic rock and roll. This year’s festival will feature some of the most renowned names on the current scene including headliners The Black RyderDead Meadow, The Vacant Lots and Lorelle Meets The Obsolete.

Early bird tickets have long since sold out and with a line-up of this quality we wouldn’t recommend you dally much longer if this sort of thing is your bag. Tickets are available here.

Threshold Festival: 27-29 March 2015, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool

Threshold Festival is an annual three day music and arts festival based in and around the creative hub of Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. Its focus is on collaboration and grass roots music alongside innovative performances and artistic developments.

As we revealed last week, Clean Bandit‘s Eliza Shadad has been announced alongside emerging Liverpool-based artists such as Baltic States and Blue Saint.

As a taster of what to expect, read our review of last year’s event here and here. 

Fury Fest: 2-3 May 2015, Arts Club, Liverpool

The two-day punk and hardcore festival returns to the Arts Club for another year. Early bird weekend tickets remain available at the bargain price of £20 and are available here. With lots more bands still to be announced, the current line-up includes Man Overboard, Hostage Calm and ROAM.

Sounds From The Other City: 3 May 2015, various venues, Chapel St, Salford

In creating an event that champions new music and performance, Sounds From The Other City festival is a reminder that Salford, a city in its own right, can emerge from the shadows of its neighbour with a festival of cultural significance.  The festival has been acclaimed by The Skinny as  “a much treasured event” and “an antidote to the bloated corporate music festivals that exist on the horizon at this time of year“.

The 2015 line-up announcements are expected shortly but 2014 saw the likes of PINS, Adult Jazz and Neon Waltz feature high up on the bill.

Liverpool Sound City: 21-24 May 2015, Liverpool Docklands

Arguably Europe’s premier metropolitan music festival, Liverpool Sound City offers three days of live music to reinforce Liverpool’s position as the musical epicentre of the UK. As well as bringing some of music’s biggest names, the event consistently provides a platform for emerging artists, often providing an opportunity to see the next big thing in an intimate setting.

As revealed by Getintothis in the autumn, event organisers have taken the momentous decision to relocate the festival away from the city centre to the currently disused Bramley Moore Dock in the north of the city. Headliners announced so far are Scottish indie-popsters Belle and Sebastian and Oklahoma’s psychedelic pioneers The Flaming Lips.

The event also provides an industry conference and has announced US punk icon Danny Fields, The Fall head-honcho Mark E Smith and Cream founder James Barton.

Liverpool Sound City has achieved wider recognition and was last year shortlisted for a host of UK festival awards including Best Metropolitan Festival, Line-up of the Year and Best Use of Technology.

Check out our round-up of the 2014 festival here and our 2014 picture gallery here.

Dot to Dot Festival: 22 May 2015, various venues, Manchester

A former winner of Best Metropolitan Festival at the UK Festival Awards, Dot to Dot Festival has come a long way from its beginnings in Nottingham and now takes place in Manchester and Bristol as well. It aims to unearth the best emerging talent and has in the past provided exposure to the likes of The XX, Wild Beasts and Jake Bugg.

Tickets for the 2015 event are on sale here but the line-up has yet to be announced.

Fire In The Mountain Festival: 29-31 May 2015, Aberystwyth, Wales

Set in remote mid-Wales in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains, Fire In The Mountain Festival presents bands from the UK and North America in a homely and laid-back environment. The emphasis is very much on local and sustainable, so there’ll be plenty of good and ethically-sourced food, local real ale from the Purple Moose Brewery and, thankfully, not a can of Tuborg in sight.

There will be a Welsh Culture Day on the Sunday with headline performances from the best Welsh folk bands. Check out the festival’s own website for more information.

Parklife 2015: 6-7 June 2015, Heaton Park, Manchester

The Parklike Festival is an independent music festival that takes place annually over two days in Manchester’s Heaton Park. 2014’s event was attended by 140,000 fun-seekers over the course of the two days and was headlined by Snoop Dogg and Foals.

The 2015 line-up has not yet been announced though you can register for early bird tickets here.

 Africa Oyé: 20-21 June 2015, Sefton Park, Liverpool

Returning for its 23rd year Africa Oyé is the UK’s largest free African music festival and takes place annually in Liverpool’s Sefton Park. The family-friendly event was a huge success last year and attracted a globally acclaimed line-up headlined by Finlay Quaye.

Of the event The Arts Council England has said, “The Arts Council aims to achieve great art and culture for everyone and Oyé contributes significantly to this, ensuring that talent and artistic excellence are thriving and celebrated. Oyé supports new and innovative work to ensure it can reach more and more people, both nationally and internationally.

Watch this space for 2015 line-up announcements but we’re sure that this will be another festival to remember in Liverpool’s packed summer events calendar.

Take a look at our picture gallery from the 2014 festival here.

Africa Oye 2014 Michelle Roberts (31)

The crowds enjoying Africa Oye in 2014

Manchester International Festival: 2-19 July 2015, various venues, Manchester

Heralded by the New Yorker magazine as “probably the most radical and important arts festival today“, Manchester International Festival claims to be the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events. It takes place biennially in Manchester and launched in 2007.

Past performers at the festival have included Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett and Chen Shi-Zheng‘s Chinese opera Monkey: Journey to the West, Zaha Hadid Architects‘ new space for the music of Bach and Björk‘s three week Biophilia residency.

Woodland Gathering III: 3-4 July 2015, Fellfoot Wood, Lake District, Cumbria

What better way to celebrate summer than with two day of esoteric avant garde amid an idyllic forest setting in the Lake District. With camping-included tickets priced at a mere £35 this could be one of the better value festivals out there. 2015 line-up announcements thus far include Roly Porter, Gazelle and Colossloth. 

Brazilica Festival: 17-19 July 2015, Liverpool City Centre

Brazilica, the UK’s only Brazilian festival and samba carnival, is once again set to fill the streets of Liverpool with a vibrancy and colour this summer as the event is set to follow in the footsteps of 2014’s rip-roaring success.

Expect a carnival atmosphere, incredible parades of dancers and samba bands and plenty of live music. Last year’s festival concluded with a spectacular closing bash at The Kazimier as the party continued well into the small hours. Watch this space for more information on this year’s event as and when it is announced.

Festwich Manchester: 25-26 July 2015, St Mary’s Park, Prestwich

Festwich is the UK’s biggest free festival where the line-up is exclusively comprised of rock tribute acts. The event raises money for Marie Curie Cancer Care and, while it is free, you will need to order a ticket in advance (and pay the mandatory booking fee).

While details of the 2015 line-up clearly remain a closely guarded secret, 2014 featured bands such as Knotslip, Guns or Roses and State of Quo. You get the idea.

X&Y Festival: 2015 dates and line-up to be confirmed shortly

X&Y Festival relocated from the Arts Club to Liverpool Guild of Students in July 2014 and will be back with another dose in 2015. The festival focuses on guitar-led pop and folk music and provides a platform to emerging talent from the both the Liverpool region and the broader UK.

Last year’s festival hosted bands over multiple stages, although there was significant sound leakage between a couple of them.  The event was headlined by Canada’s Half Moon Run and also featured Catfish & the Bottlemen, Little Comets and The Family Rain. Check out our review here. 

We’ll bring you all the information regarding the 2015 event as soon as we hear of it. 

Kendal Calling: 30 July-2 August 2015, Lowther Deer Park, Nr Penrith, Cumbria

An independent festival based in Cumbria that has grown from a 900 capacity event in 2006 to a three-day festival which attracts 12,000 revellers. The festival picked up the best medium festival award in 2013. The 2015 line-up has not yet been announced but the 2014 festival was headlined by Suede, Frank Turner and Example.

Creamfields: 28-30 August 2015, Daresbury, Cheshire

An offshoot of the legendary Liverpool club night, Creamfields is Britain’s biggest and best dance music festival and has recently been nominated in a hots of categories at the UK Festival Awards. No line-up announcements have yet been made but 2014 saw the likes of Calvin Harris and Deadmau5 perform.

A full house at Creamfields

A full house at 2014’s Creamfields

Liverpool International Music Festival: August 2015, various venues

Liverpool International Music Festival is a free festival that takes place every summer across various venues. The 2014 event culminated in Summer Jam, four days of free events in Sefton Park celebrating the best of world music as well as emerging homegrown stars. The Ian Broudie concert on the Friday night accompanied by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will undoubtedly live long in the memory of those who attended.

LIMF will be returning in 2015 and we can’t wait to bring you all the details once they have been announced.

LIMF Crowds

LIMF Crowds

Festival No.6: 3-6 September 2015, Portmeirion, Wales

Set in the magical Italianate setting of Noth Wales’ Portmeirion that is most famous for providing the backdrop to 1960s TV show, The Prisoner, Festival No. 6 bills itself as being the Festival “unlike any other, in a place like no other“. We went along to experience it for ourselves last year and we just had to concur – see our review here. We’re sure that 2015’s festival will be a similarly impressive event.

Festival Number 6

The spectacular Portmeirion setting for Festival No.6

 Ramsbottom Festival: 18-20 September 2015, Ramsbottom Cricket Club, Ramsbottom

A family friendly festival and a celebration of the music of the region as well as larger national bands, Ramsbottom Festival ticks many boxes providing not only great music but also excellent beer and food. 2014 festival attracted performers of the calibre of British Sea Power, Jimi Goodwin and The Levellers and has been described as having “charm, character and a strong sense of local pride“. Expect a similarly eclectic line-up when the 2015 line-up is announced in due course.

 Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia: 25-26 September 2015

In recent years Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia has cemented its place in the hearts of festival attendees from Liverpool and further afield. Since expanding to a two day event in 2013 the festival has gone from strength to strength and the 2014 incarnation was its best yet.

Growing in confidence and providing more of a festival feel, we’re sure that the festival’s upward trajectory will continue with 2015 as the fashion for all things ‘psych’ remains buoyant.

Last year’s festival was headlined by in spectacular fashion by Goat and Suuns  and we fully expect the organisers to attract star turns of comparable standing in 2015. The first line-up announcements are set for February so watch this space!

Check out our reviews and picture gallery of the 2014 event here and here.

PsychFest Record Fair

PsychFest Record Fair

Liverpool Music Week: autumn/winter 2015, dates TBC

Liverpool Music Week re-emerged in 2014 after a couple of years away and, boy, it did so in triumphant fashion.

Spectacular gigs were held at Camp and Furnace with Caribou and Mogwai particularly excelling. The Kazimier hosted a series of free shows with Antlers, Eagulls and Hookworms stepping up with standout shows and the Baltic Triangle hosted the closing party.

2014 was such a big event it will be quite a challenge to top this year. We’re sure that the organisers have something special planned and we can’t wait to bring you all the big news as it breaks.

Mogwai Crowd

Mogwai Crowd at Liverpool Music Week 2014