Escape to Freight Island, Rock Against Racism, Car Park Party and more…


Gallery Oldham’s online exhibition charts one of the most exciting and turbulent political periods in British post-war history via Rock Against Racism; a revolutionary movement designed to confront racist ideology through music. Find out more about the legendary Manchester carnival it inspired in our article

YOUR PROGRESS WILL BE SAVED | Online | From Wednesday 1st July 

This world premiere sees avatar artist LaTurbo Avedon reimagine Manchester’s new Factory arts centre and ‘build’ it on an island in the global gaming platform Fortnite Creative (main image). It’s part of Virtual Factory, a series of commissions exploring the new home of Manchester International Festival (whose costs recently soared another £10 million following multiple delays and price hikes - if only virtual costs were the same as real-life ones...)  

MIF isn’t the only festival exploring virtual reality this month: 3rd - 4th July will see the team behind Glastonbury’s Shangri-La host Lost Horizon, the world’s largest VR music and arts festival, raising money for The Big Issue and Amnesty International. There’s a local connection too, with a stage exhibition co-curated by Design Manchester.

FESTIVAL OF HOPE | Online | July  

Organised by young people, this online fest will celebrate the diversity, culture and community of Bolton as part of a North West-wide initiative delivered by museums and charity Blaze. Keep an eye on Instagram for updates.  

SOCIALLY DISTANT WEEKENDER | Band on the Wall | 4th - 5th July

Live gigs are still off-limits but, with hospitality allowed to reopen from 4th July, Band on the Wall has found another way to welcome customers - with a new gin terrace (genius). The music institution’s opening weekender will also offer beer, wine, soft drinks and fresh pizza - plus some chilled background tunes.

2020 06 25 Band On The Wall Credit J P Brown
Band on the Wall is reopening (kind of) on Saturday 4th July J P Brown

MFT CHARITY QUIZ | Online | Sunday 5th July

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Charity (MFT) is hosting an online quiz this month, to raise money for the NHS and celebrate its 72nd birthday. The quizmaster will be TV and radio presenter Gavin Inskip and the night promises top prizes and special guests; from GM Mayor Andy Burnham to soap and music stars. 

ESCAPE TO FREIGHT ISLAND | Mayfield | From mid-July

Aiming to be ‘an international destination akin to the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Coney Island in New York and Grand Central Market in Los Angeles,’ Escape to Freight Island promises food vendors, inventive bars, secret dens, music, immersive art, festival takeovers and family-focused happenings. More here.

AN EVENING WITH JONATHAN HARVEY | Online| Saturday 18th July

Celebrating the many works of the Jonathan Harvey, this online event - which coincides with the launch of Hope Mill’s new prize for playwriting - will see Denise Welch interview the award-winning writer and also promises scenes from some of Harvey’s most popular shows plus special guest performances. Hope Mill will also be celebrating actor Olympia Dukakis with a free documentary screening on Friday 10th July.  

2020 06 26 Jonathan Harvey
Jonathan Harvey has written many popular works for stage and screen

IN PROGRESS | Online | Ongoing

With physical graduation shows not feasible, schools across Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) are hosting online ones instead. Check out superb work across art, fashion and architecture; as well as a series of specially curated events.

CAR PARK PARTY | intu Trafford Centre | 25th - 26th July

Summer plans may be looking a bit different this year but, with live performance venues still off limits, one enterprising experience is bringing the show to you…it’s time to buckle in for Car Park Party. Featuring karaoke, comedy and theatre, the drive-in hits the beleaguered Trafford Centre this month. More here.

2020 06 22 Car Park Party
Car Park Party promises the ‘the UK’s only live touring event’ of its kind

Read more: Manchester arts and culture - What’s reopening when?

Also: COVID-19 - Manchester events cancelled or postponed

Thumbnail image: Phil Ramsell