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.
In the following list, 'cancelled' means the event did not/will not take place physically in 2020; certain events, however, have rolled over tickets and performances until next year while some are taking place digitally. Events are listed in the order they would have generally taken place normally.
GB SPRING CLEAN | Postponed until 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. Statement here.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE FESTIVAL | Postponed until 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 September.
KINOFILM | Postponed until 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.
NOT QUITE LIGHT FESTIVAL | Postponed until 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. In a statement that also highlighted his concern for the self-employed during this unprecedented time, Buckley announced he hopes to hold the festival on Saturday 24th October. Statement here.
WORDS WEEKEND | Cancelled
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.
RAMSBOTTOM CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL | Postponed, 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.
MANCHESTER RUM FESTIVAL | Cancelled
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.
SCIENCE X | Postponed, 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.
MANCHESTER PUNK FESTIVAL | Cancelled
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.
WEST DIDSBURY COMEDY FESTIVAL | Postponed, 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.
MANCHESTER MARATHON | Cancelled
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.
RECORD STORE DAY | Cancelled
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 | Cancelled
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.
MANCHESTER MIDNIGHT WALK | Cancelled (digital-only)
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.
GM WALKING FESTIVAL | Cancelled
This region-wide walking fest sees hundreds of free walks across all ten districts. Organisers have 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.
SOUNDS FROM THE OTHER CITY | Cancelled
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.
GREEN WALK ARTS & CRAFTS WEEKEND | Cancelled
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.
PILOT LIGHT TV FESTIVAL | Cancelled (digital-only)
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 will be hosted digitally, from 15th - 16th August; more here.
PINT OF SCIENCE | Cancelled (digital-only)
This worldwide pub-science festival usually brings some of the world’s leading researchers to pubs and cafes in 24 countries. Organisers will instead be hosting an online version from 7th - 11th September and are meanwhile hosting various events via the website. More here.
MANCHESTER JAZZ FESTIVAL | Cancelled (digital-only)
The city’s longest-standing festival and the UK’s leading showcase for contemporary jazz, MJF would have celebrated its 25th year in 2020. Despite cancelling its physical event, organisers are hosting a range of digital happenings, which they kickstarted with a mini fest in May.
GREAT MANCHESTER RUN | Cancelled
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. Still up for a 10K challenge? The City of Salford 10K is currently going ahead, having been postponed from September to November.
DOT TO DOT | Postponed, 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.
CHORLTON ARTS FESTIVAL | Cancelled (digital-only)
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 this autumn. Other arts festivals cancelled for 2020 include Prestwich, WEEK 53 and the One Festival of Homeless Arts.
GÓBÉFEST | Cancelled (digital-only)
This free Hungarian-Transylvanian festival attracts thousands with its traditional performances, craft market, family entertainment and regional delicacies like chimney cake. This June, organisers instead hosted an online version. More here.
MANCHESTER HISTORIES FESTIVAL | Cancelled (digital-only)
Designed to share and celebrate Greater Manchester's diverse history and heritage, this biennial festival is usually held in June. It will instead become a late summer 'digifest' from 4th - 5th September 2020; promising a collective online space and its own pop-up TV studio. More here.
ARMED FORCES DAY | Cancelled (digital-only)
Honouring the contribution of the nation’s armed forces, Armed Forces Day usually sees Manchester join in countrywide commemorations with its own across the region, including St Peter’s Square. This year the official website instead offered advice on celebrating the event (27th June) virtually at home.
KING STREET FESTIVAL | Cancelled
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.
IRLAM LIVE | Cancelled
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.
PARKLIFE | Cancelled
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.
INCOMING FESTIVAL | Cancelled
Usually including a stint at Manchester’s HOME, this nationwide celebration of emerging theatre companies invites audiences to try something new for just a fiver. The event is cancelled this year; as is Waterside's Refract, which shares a similar principle. An emerging theatre buff yourself? Oldham Coliseum's (postponed) Cultivate Festival is still planned for 2020, should circumstances permit.
MANCHESTER DAY | Postponed, 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.
GREATER MANCHESTER FRINGE | Postponed until 1st October - 30th November
Now something of an institution, this inclusive festival traverses comedy, drama and everything in between. Organisers have postponed the event until autumn and are meantime co-organising a Garden Fringe. The more recently established Levy Fringe is also postponed, until 22nd - 31st October.
SOUNDS OF THE CITY | Cancelled
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.
BLUEDOT | Cancelled
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.
HALE BARNS CARNIVAL | Cancelled
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 have meanwhile attracted over 40,000 viewers. Statement here.
FLIXTON FESTIVAL | Cancelled
They bravely held off cancelling until July but organisers 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.
CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL | Cancelled (digital-only)
Founded in 1972, when a group of Caribbean immigrants decided to throw an impromptu carnival procession through the streets of their Manchester neighbourhood, this Alexandra Park event is an annual staple. Its new management team, originally due to make their debut this year, promise an event 'the community can be proud of’ in 2021 and this summer hosted a mini virtual carnival on the website.
MCM COMIC CON | Cancelled
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.
ROCHDALE FEEL GOOD FESTIVAL | Cancelled
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).
BOLTON FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL | Cancelled
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.
MANCHESTER PRIDE | Cancelled (digital-only)
One of Europe’s biggest annual celebrations of LGBTQ+ life, Manchester Pride also raises hundreds of thousands for related causes. Organisers of the August bank holiday festival - whose popular staples include the Village party and parade - have rolled over all tickets until next year’s edition, while those who no longer wish to attend can apply for a refund or make a donation to the charity. A virtual Pride will take place from 29th - 31st August.
JOURNEYS FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL | Cancelled (digital-only)
A contrast to the negative publicity surrounding immigration, this festival - celebrating the artwork, music, culture and experiences that refugee artists bring to the UK - offers a refreshing alternative perspective. Organisers of the autumn event, usually held annually across three cities, have instead programmed three weeks of digital experiences for 2020 (28th September - 18th October). More here.
WING FEST | Cancelled
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.
COCKTAILS IN THE CITY | Cancelled
Bringing some of the UK’s leading bars under one roof, this ‘delectable festival of cocktails’ also promises discounted drinks, interactive experiences and one-off creations. The nationwide event, which includes Manchester, will be back in 2021. Statement here.
CHORLTON BOOK FESTIVAL | Cancelled (digital-only)
Now its sixteenth year, Chorlton Book Festival spans everything from family fun days to quiz nights, history walks and much more. This September, the literary larks take place online instead from 20th - 25th September. More here.
MANCHESTER FOLK FESTIVAL | Cancelled
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.
GREAT NORTHERN CONTEMPORARY CRAFT FAIR | Cancelled (digital-only)
Celebrating designer-makers, GNCCF spans fine jewellery to functional homeware, statement accessories to unique prints. While they’ve had to cancel GNCCF this year, organisers are instead championing would-be exhibitors online and hosted a virtual fair in July.
HEART OF THE HEATONS | Cancelled (digital-only)
‘An annual local festival of inspiration and connectivity, spreading collective joy through arts, music and culture,’ HOTH usually takes place across the four Heatons. This year’s event will (at least primarily) be digital, held from 2nd - 12th October. More here.
GRIMMFEST | Cancelled (digital-only)
Usually besieging the Odeon for one long wicked weekend, Grimmfest is one of the UK’s leading festivals of horror, sci-fi, extreme fantasy and cult film. Organisers say despite, after months of preparing for a physical event, it has become clear ‘we cannot predict how things will pan out.’ Grimmfest 2020 will instead be hosted online, from 7th - 11th October. Statement here.
MANCHESTER LITERATURE FESTIVAL | Cancelled (digital-only)
Founded in 2006, as a successor to the Manchester Poetry Festival, MLF is now one of the UK’s foremost literary festivals. This October, organisers ‘will be moving online with a feast of fabulous events of the calibre MLF audiences have come to expect’ and, with the festival now in a ‘precarious’ financial position, are encouraging donations. Statement here.
MANCHESTER SCIENCE FESTIVAL | Cancelled
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.
SALFORD BEER FEST | Cancelled (digital-only)
Described as ‘a small independent beer festival, relaxed, inclusive and friendly, bringing fabulous modern beer to Salford,’ Salford Beer Fest is usually held in Hemsley House. This year it’s ambitiously going digital from 12th - 14th November, with all profits going to charity as usual. We’d say that’s worth raising a pint or few. Fellow autumn beer fest IMBC, meanwhile, won't be held at its usual Victoria Baths home but 'is still determined to deliver a line-up of sweet activity' from 1st - 4th October.
DOKI DOKI FESTIVAL | Cancelled
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.
MANCHESTER SLEEPOUT | Cancelled
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. Prefer a mass event? The CEO Sleepout (Nov) and Shelter’s Sleep Walk (Dec) are still currently scheduled.
NB: This list does not include individual theatre shows, concerts 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.