The legendary music venue Band on the Wall has reopened its doors following a massive £3.5m transformation.
The historic live music haunt, located down Swan Street, played a huge part in the growth and establishment of Manchester’s music scene, having being famously at the epicentre of the city’s punk movement in the late 1970s.
Over the years, numerous bands and musicians have graced the stage at Band on the Wall, including icons such as The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Fall and The Arctic Monkeys.
However, as the Covid pandemic gripped the country and national lockdowns ground live music to a standstill in 2020, Band on the Wall was faced with ‘the biggest crisis’ in its history and was forced to close, making twenty-six members of staff redundant in September that year.
The venue made a brief comeback at the start of last year, but was forced to close again for renovation works, which included an ambitious expansion to the neighbouring Cocozza Wood Building.
But now, after two years of closure and uncertainty, Band on the Wall’s refurb is complete.
The venue’s main performance space has been redesigned by celebrated Manchester architects OMI, who have given it an accessible step-free entrance and expanded its capacity to 500.
The area also boasts a brand new bar space – serving hot and cold food – with a new stage for smaller capacity performances catering for up to eighty people.
This bar area will open during the day to serve as a community space and will be open for free to the general public.
As mentioned earlier, the venue has been expanded into the three-storey Cocozza Wood building which had previously stood derelict and unoccupied since 1972. Now, it forms the larger ground floor venue space and upper floor learning suite.
And while the venue itself may look a world away from its former state, Band on the Wall will continue to nurture Manchester’s upcoming talent with local and grassroots community projects.
The first floor is a dedicated space for its learning programme World of Music, a broad and integrated programme of heritage, music, learning and research projects. World of Music will deliver community-based learning engagement that celebrates Manchester’s migrant communities and their musical legacies.
Band on the Wall’s CEO Gavin Sharp said on the reopening: “Band on the Wall has always been bigger than just a venue, and over the last two years we’ve been very busy working on our expansion project.
“This includes an increased main venue capacity, new café bar, a second smaller performance space, and significantly enhanced and expanded learning facilities to support our exciting and brand-new learning programme, World of Music.
“We are delighted to open our doors once again, and we look forward to welcoming guests back to our newly improved venue.”
Band on the Wall is open NOW and, not one to waste any time, already has a full season of gigs and performances on the bill.
You can see the venue’s season highlights and listings here.
Fabio and Grooverider are coming to Manchester for a huge night of drum & bass
It will be their first time playing in the city
Jungle legend Fabio and his longtime right-hand man Grooverider are coming to Manchester for one huge night of drum & bass.
The pair were at the forefront of the drum & bass scene as it exploded and developed their sound and partnership, playing at raves up and down the country, as it evolved into the globally-known genre it has become today.
The godfathers of the drum & bass have reinvented themselves and moved with the scene from where it all began in the acid house era, to their hugely influential London club night Rage at Heaven.
Widely recognised as the pioneers of the music they have been making their mark since 1988 and continue to be beacons in the underground scene.
The legendary duo are set to play at the Manchester Academy on Saturday, January 13th.
Playing alongside The Outlook Orchestra, together they will present a very special score celebrating a history of jungle and drum & bass.
Exploring classic anthems in ways never before experienced – sparking the imagination of generations of music lovers, the show will feature outstanding orchestral renditions of the scene’s most iconic and well-loved tracks.
Since its formation in 2017, The Outlook Orchestra has grown to be a force in its own right, collaborating with champions of sound system culture from across the globe and striving to drive the scene forward in new and exciting ways.
The gig will feature special appearances from Demolition Man, Jenna G, Kele Le Roq, Cleveland Watkiss and MC GQ.
Supporting artists include David Rodigan, DJ SS, Charlotte Devaney and Northbase.
Guaranteed to be an unforgettable night, this unique musical experience will be a true celebration of the past, present and future of UK rave culture.
Fabio and Grooverider perform at the Manchester Academy, along with The Outlook Orchestra on Saturday January 13th. To book tickets, click HERE.
Get half price tickets to see a Cinderella pantomime in Manchester this December
The fairy godmother of all pantomimes is back – Oh, yes it is!
A Cinderella pantomime is coming to Manchester’s Contact Theatre for laughs, songs and dance in a series of fantastic performances throughout the festive season.
The Cinderella pantomime is set to take over Contact Theatre with Manchester drag sensations Lady Bushra and Misty Chance, who will take centre stage in this enchanting production from eight-freestyle this December.
And our followers can bag themselves half price tickets to see it.
Theatre guests can expect a fresh twist on the traditional storyline as Cinderella fights for her freedom from her cruel Stepsisters and their questionable fashion choices.
Marvel at the inventions of Lord Stoneybroke, share laughs with Buttons, and help the Prince find true love – all set to an upbeat modern soundtrack of ballroom bangers mixed by DJ Dandini.
The show stars eight-freestyle’s regular cast of all-singing, all-dancing performers, making it a treat for children of all ages – even the grown-up ones!
This year’s Cinderella pantomime not only features an exceptional LGBTQ+ cast but also emphasises sustainability through recycled costumes and a collaboration with Hart-Work.
Hart-Work is a reworked clothing brand founded by Kimberly Hart-Simpson with the aim of promoting a positive buying experience and a goal to get people talking about clothing regardless of opinion.
The production team is committed to reducing its environmental impact, making this an eco-conscious and inclusive event for all.
Sean Canning, Director of eight-freestyle, said: “Directing Cinderella with this fabulous team has been an absolute ball! With the unrivalled energy of our cast and the brilliant collaboration with Contact Young Company, we’re confident this will be eight-freestyle’s best panto yet.
“We’re all about the magic of storytelling and the joy of pantomime, and this production brings both to life in the quirkiest, most sustainable way possible.”
Keisha Thompson, Artistic Director and CEO of Contact, said: “We’re over the moon to partner with eight-freestyle for another extraordinary production.
“With sustainability woven into the fabric of the show, it’s like Cinderella’s glass slipper – a perfect fit for our commitment to eco-conscious fun.
“And let’s not forget the wild creativity of Contact Young Company! Cinderella is going to be a hoot, showcasing that entertainment can be both a riot and responsible.”
Cinderella runs from Saturday December 9th until Sunday December 31st at Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester. Tickets range from £15 – £25.
The run includes a range of access provisions, including BSL, captioned performances, relaxed conditions and a range of discounts.
Our followers can get half price tickets on selected performances with code: FAIRY50% at checkout. For more information and to book tickets, please click HERE.
The selected performances include:
- December 14th at 7 PM
- December 15th at 7 PM
- December 16th at 7 PM
- December 20th at 10AM
- December 21st at 3.30 PM
- December 22nd at 7PM
Celebrate Christmas in style at Manchester’s King Street
Visitors can get their hands on some excellent prizes in the run up to Christmas
Celebrate this Christmas in style at Manchester’s King Street – the city’s premium shopping and dining destination.
What better way to celebrate the festive season than on the picturesque King Street against a backdrop of 18th and 19th century buildings featuring a variety of premium shopping and dining destinations, plus plenty more.
Nestled in between historic landmarks in the city’s old banking district are a host of Alpine festive market stalls selling a tempting selection of European goods as well as crafts, food and drinks.
This beautiful street features an eclectic collection of fantastic high-end and designer brands, salons, an art gallery and even a tailor-made travel agents. Just some of these include the likes of The White Company, Hobbs, Patagonia, Kuoni Castle Fine Art, and Nailed It.
Some fantastic dining destinations here include El Gato Negro, Franco Manca, Gordon Ramsay’s Lucky Cat, Miller & Carter, and many more.
To add an extra sprinkle of festive magic, weekly competitions will be held where visitors to King Street will be in with the chance of winning prizes from various brands and shops situated here.
Visitors can simply scan the QR code, located on King Street, to enter the competition and be in with the chance of winning.
Winners of prizes will be announced each week with goodies from the likes of: TAST, Charles Tyrwhitt, Franco Manca, Kala, Castle Fine Art, and Kuoni.
For those dreaming of jet-setting off to a sunny paradise on a luxury holiday, Kuoni will be giving away a £500 voucher towards flights as one of the prizes to be won, which will be announced at the end of December.
For those wishing to enter the competition, just visit one of the two vinyl screens located on 35 King Street and scan the QR code – you can’t miss them!
There will be POS signage in some stores for people to scan as well.
Once you’ve scanned the code, just sign up to the mailing list to enter the competition. Prizes will be announced each week with weekly giveaways until Christmas – find out more and sign up for the mailing list HERE.