A regularly updated list of public events affected due to the coronavirus
Below we’ve listed the major public events currently cancelled or postponed in Manchester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This list is subject to change and will be kept updated.
For events that are going ahead on their usual dates, including as digital versions, check out our monthly listings.
POSTPONED EVENTS, INCLUDING DIGITAL...
MANCHESTER MIDNIGHT WALK | June (digital)
St Ann’s Hospice’s flagship fundraising event has raised over £2 million since its launch. Its fourteenth episode, originally due to run in April, instead took place 'virtually' throughout June. Still up for a fitness challenge? The City of Salford 10K is currently going ahead, having been postponed from September to November.
PILOT LIGHT TV FESTIVAL | 15th - 16th August (digital)
Pilot Light brings together all kinds of TV series - new, old, never-before-seen - and a sneak peek into what goes on behind the scenes; as well as events like masterclasses, panels and quizzes. Its fifth season, initially scheduled for May, was hosted digitally in August. More here.
MANCHESTER HISTORIES FESTIVAL | 4th - 5th September (digital)
Designed to share and celebrate Greater Manchester's diverse history and heritage, this biennial festival is usually held in June but will instead become a late summer 'digifest' in September. Marking the 50-year anniversary of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (CSDPA) 1970, it will be hosted by activist artist and educator Jackie Hagan (pictured).
PINT OF SCIENCE | 7th - 11th September (digital)
This worldwide pub-science festival usually brings some of the world’s leading researchers to pubs and cafes in 24 countries in May. Organisers will instead be hosting an online version in September and are meanwhile hosting various events via the website. More here.
GB SPRING CLEAN | 11th - 27th September
With more than 650,000 #litterheroes volunteering their time, this event - run by Keep Britain Tidy - sees community clean-ups take place nationwide. Usually held in March, it has been postponed to September. More here.
GREATER MANCHESTER FRINGE | 1st October - 30th November
Now something of an institution, this inclusive festival traverses comedy, drama and everything in between. Organisers have postponed the July event until autumn; the more recently established Levy Fringe is also postponed, until 22nd - 31st October. An emerging theatre buff yourself? Oldham Coliseum's (postponed) Cultivate Festival is also planned for 2020, should circumstances permit.
CHORLTON ARTS FESTIVAL | 3rd - 4th October (digital)
Visual art, music, performance, creative writing, crafts, film…Chorlton Arts Festival brings together all this and more, last year spanning over 100 artists and 39 venues across Chorlton. Organisers plan to host a digital version of the May festival this autumn. More here.
NOT QUITE LIGHT FESTIVAL | Saturday 24th October
Founded by acclaimed local photographer Simon Buckley in 2016, this quirky arts fest spans art, music, guided tours, architecture and debate - with all 2020 proceeds donated to charity Henshaws. Buckley hopes to host the festival, normally in March, in October. Statement here.
SALFORD BEER FEST | 12th - 14th November (digital)
Described as ‘a small independent beer festival, relaxed, inclusive and friendly, bringing fabulous modern beer to Salford,’ SBF is usually held in Hemsley House in October. This year it’s ambitiously going digital in November, with all profits going to charity as usual. We’d say that’s worth raising a pint or few.
KINOFILM | 23rd - 29th November
Short film institution KinoFilm has been platforming diverse, challenging and groundbreaking new cinema for over two decades. Organisers have postponed the usual March festival to autumn. More here.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE FESTIVAL | Sunday 29th November
Originally due to take place in March, the sellout You Are Not Alone Festival (YANA) is now hoping to take over multiple city centre venues in November; showcasing exciting pop, rock and indie talent in aid of mental health charity Mind. Meanwhile Headstock, another Mind fundraiser, has been postponed until October.
RAMSBOTTOM CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL | Date TBA
Ramsbottom Markets made the decision to postpone this popular family festival, after fearing developments could necessitate a last-minute cancellation; even more damaging to local traders and potentially costing organisers £15,000. Meanwhile, they are encouraging people to support the traders who were due to attend on their Facebook page.
SCIENCE X | Date TBA
A free, interactive festival of exploration and experiments - and a great chance for kids to discover the fun behind science and engineering - this annual event is for young thrill seekers, space explorers and creative minds alike. Organisers hope to reschedule the festival at a later date.
WEST DIDSBURY COMEDY FESTIVAL | Date TBA
This local laughathon was set to make its debut with charity fundraising and new act competition plus quizzes and a line-up spanning Robin Ince to Tez Ilyas - selling 1000 tickets with six weeks to go. Organiser Kev said updates on a new date will be posted and is meantime hosting a range of online events instead.
DOT TO DOT | Date TBA
Having previously unearthed the likes of The xx and Ed Sheeran, this metropolitan music fest - originally due to take place in May - has become known as one of the UK’s foremost celebrations of fresh talent. Organisers say they still hope to host the event in 2020. Statement here.
MANCHESTER DAY | Date TBA
Famed for its spectacular parade from Walk the Plank, plus free events citywide, Manchester Day is a celebration of the city and its communities. This year’s theme, designed to highlight climate change, is ‘our city, our planet.’ Statement here.
In the following list, 'cancelled' means the event did not/will not take place in 2020; certain events, however, have rolled over tickets and performances until next year. Events are listed in the order they would have generally taken place normally.
Following a successful debut in Gateshead, this dynamic literary festival was due to make its North West debut at the Lowry with the likes of Emma Jane Unsworth, Stuart Maconie and Sir Ralph Fiennes. The festival decided to take the lead of major literature events like London Book Fair and make ‘the incredibly difficult decision to cancel.’ Statement here.
MANCHESTER RUM FESTIVAL
Manchester Rum Festival was due to take over new event space Viadux in April with over 50 rums, cocktails, food trucks, live music, talks and workshops. It has now been rescheduled to Saturday 17th April 2021. More here.
Now one of the UK’s leading events of its kind, the Manchester Marathon was due to take place in April. After a tentatively postponing to October, organisers were finally forced to cancel for 2020; the run will next be held on Sunday 11th April 2021. Statement here.
MANCHESTER PUNK FESTIVAL
With over 100 bands, comedy and poetry stage, vegan nosh, punk cinema and pop-up record store, this festival has become a punk calendar staple. In a painfully honest statement, the DIY indie fest said it has lost thousands of pounds and encouraged people to check out its merch store. Statement here.
RECORD STORE DAY
Involving thousands of people and small businesses, Record Store Day sees vinyl shops host special events across the world. While cancelled in its normal format, it will now take place via three RSD 'drop' dates: Saturday 29th August, Saturday 26th September and Saturday 24th October. More here.
MANCHESTER DUCK RACE
Raising money for children's charity Brainwave, this bank holiday favourite was due to return for its eleventh edition on Good Friday. Attempting to limit cancellation’s impact on the charity, Brainwave instead went ahead with the best dressed corporate duck contest via online poll. Statement here.
GM WALKING FESTIVAL
This region-wide walking fest sees hundreds of free walks across all ten districts. Organisers cancelled the event for 2020 but, as fresh air and exercise is so important for physical and mental health, are publishing ways you can still get active outdoors. Statement here.
GREEN WALK ARTS & CRAFTS WEEKEND
This quirky event sees the residents of Green Walk, Whalley Range, let local artists and designers use their own houses as temporary exhibition spaces. Due to ongoing uncertainty, organisers decided to cancel rather than postpone. Statement here.
SOUNDS FROM THE OTHER CITY
One of Manchester’s longest running music fests - famed for its blend of indie promoters, upcoming talent and the fabled ‘Sounds’ atmosphere - SFTOC would have celebrated its sixteenth anniversary this year. Following a successful crowdfunder, it will return on Sunday 2nd May 2021. Its fellow longstanding Salford Music Festival, meanwhile, took place digitally this May.
GREAT MANCHESTER RUN
Known for its buzzing atmosphere and uplifting anthems, the Great Manchester Run - one of the UK’s favourite mass running events - has been cancelled due to ongoing uncertainty.
KING STREET FESTIVAL
Transforming Manchester’s historic shopping street, King Street Festival promises a ‘fun yet fashionable weekend (with) al fresco dining, exclusive in-store events, complimentary gifts, free fizz and tastings.’ Organisers hope to return with ‘beautiful #MCRFlowerShow blooms, outdoor eats, live music & VIP shopping next year.’ Statement here.
Lining up crowd-pulling chart-toppers year on year, Parklife has become the UK’s biggest metropolitan festival; this year it was due to celebrate its tenth anniversary with another cross-Atlantic blitz of big names, from Khalid to Lewis Capaldi. More here.
Founded in 2016, Irlam Live has since become a festival fixture; attracting thousands with local legends like the Lancashire Hotpots, and headliners spanning Billy Ocean to Sophie Ellis Bextor. Organisers planned to host a socially distanced version in accordance with government regulation but their license application was refused. Next year's event will take place 4th - 6th June.
Usually including a stint at Manchester’s HOME, this nationwide celebration of emerging theatre companies (cancelled for 2020) invites audiences to try something new for just a fiver. Other arts festivals taking a hiatus this year include Orbit (also at HOME), Waterside's Refract, Prestwich, WEEK 53 and the One Festival of Homeless Arts.
Spanning astronomical banquets to talks with leading scientists and galactic concerts, bluedot is a starry fusion of art and science. The popular Jodrell Bank staple will no longer be taking place in 2020 but is ‘postponing’ as much of this year’s programme to 2021 (22nd - 25th July) as possible - including Lovell Stage headliners Björk, Groove Armada and Metronomy. This summer instead saw a virtual Weekend in Outer Space spanning Elbow to Orbital and Brian Cox.
SOUNDS OF THE CITY
Its name is confusingly similar to Salford’s Sounds From the Other City but this summer concert series, with its focus on household names, is a different beast altogether. All acts that were due to play in 2020 - including Lewis Capaldi, Hacienda Classical and Foals - will perform next year, and tickets remain valid.
HALE BARNS CARNIVAL
Performers at Hale Barns Carnival 2020 were due to include Martha Reeves And the Vandellas, opera vocalist Russell Watson, and seventies pop rock band Bay City Rollers. Tickets will remain valid for next year’s event (16th - 18th July), says organiser Max Eden, whose ‘party at home’ lockdown events attracted over 40,000 viewers. Statement here.
MCM COMIC CON
The UK's leading brand of modern pop culture events, Comic Con has become known for more than just its wacky outfits: theatre panels, comic village, steampunk emporium and special guests to name but a few. This year, organisers are hosting a series of events online. Statement here.
They bravely held off cancelling until July but organisers of Flixton Festival were forced to finally admit defeat following ongoing social distancing guidelines. They say the event - started eight years ago as a fundraiser for the struggling Flixton Cricket & Sports Club - will be back next year. Statement here.
BOLTON FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL
While many Greater Manchester towns have annual food fests, Bolton is the biggest. One of the UK’s leading culinary events, it’s become known for its sprawling citywide market, lively events programme and celebrity chef appearances. Organisers are concentrating their efforts on supporting Bolton through the outbreak. Statement here.
ROCHDALE FEEL GOOD FESTIVAL
Alongside live music from both emerging and established performers (last year’s headliner was The Coral), this uplifting annual weekend also promises street food, kids’ entertainment and more besides. Organisers promise it’ll ‘be back next year with bells on.’ Statement here. It joins the council’s other major event cancellations, Rochdale Food and Drink Festival (usually April) and Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival (usually October).
Launched in London in 2014, Wing Fest has since grown into Europe's largest and most popular chicken wing festival - little wonder it caused a flap on debuting in Manchester last year. Writing off 2020, organisers have confirmed the event will return next August (14th - 15th). More here.
MANCHESTER FOLK FESTIVAL
Contemporary folk straddles a multitude of genres at Manchester Folk Festival; the successor to Bury’s Homegrown, it’s the only festival dedicated to promoting and supporting new English folk and acoustic music. The festival will be back in 2021, when it will also host a sister event in Rochdale. Statement here.
COCKTAILS IN THE CITY
Bringing some of the UK’s leading bars under one roof, this nationwide ‘delectable festival of cocktails’ also promises discounted drinks, interactive experiences and one-off creations. Manchester's event will be back in 2021. Statement here.
GREAT NORTHERN CONTEMPORARY CRAFT FAIR
Celebrating designer-makers, GNCCF spans fine jewellery to functional homeware, statement accessories to unique prints. While they’ve had to cancel October’s GNCCF this year, organisers are instead championing would-be exhibitors online and hosted a virtual fair in July.
MANCHESTER SCIENCE FESTIVAL
Originally due to return in October following a hiatus last year, MSF has now been pushed back to February 2021. The festival will explore how we should respond to the challenges of global warming through three lenses: our cities, our natural world and ourselves. More here.
DOKI DOKI FESTIVAL
A diverse celebration of Japanese culture, Doki Doki spans calligraphy demos to kimono styling, martial arts to anime and spades of sushi. Elsewhere find traditional board games, language lessons and expert panels; all culminating in a cosplay after-party. It will be back in November 2021. Statement here.
A vital fundraiser for the Booth Centre homeless charity, the Sleepout usually takes place at Manchester Cathedral; this year, organisers are instead encouraging people to host their own. Centrepoint’s version is also cancelled, with would-be participants challenged to ‘stay up’ instead.
NB: This list does not include individual shows and smaller events; many of which are also affected. In the event of cancellation or postponement, anyone who has brought a ticket should contact their point of purchase.