Ah. We love this city. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any better, somebody goes and organises a music festival in the city centre for everybody to enjoy absolutely free. And, what’s even better, is that any donations by lovely Manc folk will be coming to Forever Manchester so that we can carry on helping to make Manchester Greater.

The N4LovesU Festival will take over the Northern Quarter for two days this weekend, with thousands of people expected to descend on Manchester’s independent quarter for a good old Northern knees up.

The festival will be headlined by Manchester electronic group The Whip, with a DJ set on the Saturday night. Sunday will see the city’s own Nu-folksters The Travelling Band take a break from their own tour to close the festival alongside Manchester DJ and purveyor of fine teas, Mr Scruff.

The Festival is part of the city’s I Love Manchester campaign, which came about in response to the rioting and looting in the city centre last month, and will see more than 30 local bands and DJs play across three different stages in the city centre. Live acts set to play at the festival include Kid British, Cherry Ghost, Janice Graham Band, Danny Mahon, The Travelling Band, Ruby Ann Patterson, Paris Riots, Biederbeck and loads more.

Getting the city dancing meanwhile will be DJ set from the likes of The Whip, Mr Scruff, Luke Unabomber, Steve Legatto, Pogo, Juicy, Now Wave and many, many more.

The festival will run from 12pm to 9pm on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September. It’s all absolutely free, though donation buckets will be collecting funds for Forever Manchester and Reclaim. Thank you Manchester!

The full line-up for the festival is as follows:


Thomas Street – Band on the Wall DJ Stage

Dom BloodandFire/ 
Mikey Don/ 
Electronique DJs/ 
Steve Legatto (Beat Club)
/ Luke Unabomber

Edge Street – Band Stage

Dr Sid (DJ)
/ Morain/ 
Danny Mahon
/ Saturday Social DJs
/ Kid British (acoustic)/ 
Cherry Ghost (solo)/ 
Janice Graham Band/ Sonic Boom Six
/ The Whip DJs

Tib Street – Acoustic Stage

Acoustic Conquistador
Little Sparrow
Aidan Smith
James Kelly
(more to add as confirmed)


Thomas Street – DJ Stage

T.Pot DJ’s
/ Pogo DJs
/ Juicy DJs
/ Now Wave DJs

Edge Street – BOTW Band Stage
John Robb DJ Set (compere)/ 
Ruby Ann Patterson
/ The Travelling Band
/ Greg Thorpe (Off The Hook) DJ Set/ 
/ Mr Scruff

Tib Street – Acoustic Stage

Ruth Cockburn/ 
The Reveres
/ Paris Riots
/ JP Cooper

Follow @N4lovesU on Twitter for all the most up to date news and information.


The Backwards Running Championships took place in Heaton Park on Sunday, raising much needed cash for Forever Manchester. Daniel Alston reports back on the day…

Imagine the scene: You’re walking your dog in the local park on a typically casual Sunday morning, surveying the lake and enjoying the peacefulness. Your dog’s ears prick up and from around the corner emerge a small herd of runners. Backwards, coming towards you in reverse. A truly surreal sight.

The UK Backwards Running Championships arrived at Heaton Park on Sunday 14th August, sponsored by Forever Manchester. As well as the national race, there was also the opportunity for anyone and everyone willing to take part in the Fun Run, all in the name of raising funds for the charity.

A well-marshaled 1km circuit was laid out and the assembled crowd set off at their respective paces after a coached warm-up. An incline and a low dip had to be navigated amidst the meandering park path – not exactly easy when running normally. All runners completed the route, with some setting personal best times and others achieving great first attempt times. The event raised a load of cash for Forever Manchester – we’re still adding up the exact amount so we’ll be announcing that soon. In addition, no injuries were reported, which is always a bonus.

Backwards running is no gimmick or joke. It is a sport that is slowly beginning to gain wider recognition, with those involved calling for it to grow and be a featured event at the 2020 Olympics. UK and World Champion, Garrett Doherty spoke of many of the advantages of the sport.

“People really loved it and they’re keen to try it again. It’s just the stigma of going outside and giving it a go on your own. It’s great for your confidence, your co-ordination and your balance.”

“Five minutes backwards is the same as twenty forwards; it’s ideal for busy people. It can cure obesity, it can cure addictions like smoking because it gets you out of your routine. Everything has an opposite. Which is more stupid; to go forwards all of the time, or to go backwards some of the time?”

A good question indeed. For more information on backwards running, visit www.reverserunning.com

Words: Daniel Alston

If recent events have proved one thing about Manchester, it’s that we all love it. For a city that’s already bursting with pride in our own accomplishments, events of this past week has taken things to a new level, with communities coming together in the face of anti-social behaviour to celebrate our love for the city that we all come home.

In recognition of Mancunian’s passion for our city, Marketing Manchester and the Manchester Arndale have launched the I Love MCR campaign, using the iconic ‘I heart’ logo as a symbol of our pride in our city.

Marketing Manchester will be selling ‘I Love MCR’ t-shirts in Manchester Arndale, and we’re absolutely thrilled that they’ve chosen us as one of the charities to  benefit from money raised from t-shirt sales.

As a charity dedicated to supporting Manchester’s communities in every way that we can, Forever Manchester is right behind this campaign, and feel hugely proud to be part of a city with such a sense of community.

In the past two years, donations from people who love our city as much as we do have helped us raise over £2 million, which has gone to supporting over 100 community groups in Manchester.

Donations are directed to local groups or projects that are in real need of funding and will make a genuine measurable difference to the community and people they serve here in Greater Manchester.

As part of the I Love MCR campaign, Marketing Manchester have created a facebook page with desktop wallpapers and Twitter Twibbons, which Mancunians can download and proudly display.

The lovely folk at ace cupcakery Hey Little Cupcake are also creating special ‘I love MCR’ cupcakes, which as well as tasting incredible do their bit for Manchester, with 50% of all profits from the cupcakes going to Forever Manchester.

And if you’d like to show even more support for Forever Manchester, you can download Forever Manchester wallpapers for your computers and iPhones from the Forever Manchester site here.

August 26th has been earmarked as a ‘We Love MCR’ day, when Mancunians are being asked to display the ‘I Love MCR’ logo with pride. And what better way to celebrate this day than by really helping to make a difference to the future of your city’s communities by donating to Forever Manchester? You could do this by way of a cash donation, or by visiting our online shop – where you’ll find loads of lovely merchandise, as well as limited edition Si Scott prints featuring lyrics from iconic Manchester anthems.

I love MCR. You love MCR. We all love MCR. So let’s show it! Get your ‘I Love MCR’ t-shirt from the Manchester Arndale NOW and wear it with pride.

There are some gigs you wake up from knowing you’ve seen something a bit different.

Maybe it was the sight of the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz proposing to Dorothy before the Flaming Lips’ final encore. Alternatively, it might have been the fight between a cardboard robot and a giant bear at the climax of British Sea Power’s set. It could have been the sheer awesomeness of seeing Jodrell Bank’s giant radio telescope slowly rotate into position while the infectiously enthusiastic Dr Tim O’Brien explained what it can see. Or maybe it was the surreal sight of Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne bundling over the top of the crowd in an inflatable ball.

Whatever, no one left in any doubt that the first Live From Jodrell Bank Transmission was a phenomenal, memorable show. Support acts Alice Gold, OK Go, Wave Machines and British Sea Power all played their part in a brilliantly anarchic day in the sunshine, but this event was utterly dominated by the climactic love-in between Wayne Coyne’s Flaming Lips and the 76-metre Lovell Telescope.

From their wonder-inducing entrance amid balloons, confetti and explosions – and lots of Wizard of Oz-themed dancers – to the euphoria of their show-stopping encore ‘Do You Realize??’, the Lips owned the stage and seemed to take control of the telescope itself. So much was going visually, it was easy to just stand open-mouthed like a wide-eyed toddler in a toy shop on more than one occasion.

Throughout, the giant structure of the telescope loomed over proceedings like an extra-terrestrial protector, seemingly beaming the sights and sounds of the gig out into the infinite wonder of space. Even the crowd were overtaken by the cerebral nature of the night, chanting “science, science, science” halfway through.

Before the Flaming Lips’ first encore, the crowd were treated to something special, as a short film was projected onto the circular dish of the giant telescope outlining its history and purpose. As Richard Strauss’s ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ – also used in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ – boomed out of the speakers alongside the inspiring pictures of space on the biggest screen you could possibly imagine, it was hard not to be taken over by the sheer joy of it all.

In fact, there was something brilliantly joyous about the whole occasion. Fortunately for us Forever Manchester volunteers, that feel-good factor translated into the crowd while we were asking for their support too. Lots of them were interested in the kind of projects the charity funds and were more than happy to dig deep and make a donation. Plenty were happy to have their photo taken too.

In one particularly philosophical moment towards the end, Coyne suggested we were all in the single best place on the planet. Overly-dramatic perhaps, but a theory that was hard to disprove.

Words: Guy Kilty

Photos: Bart Pettman and Tom Martin

It’s Friday! Woo! And while many of this summer’s weekends so far have seen the people of Manchester up sticks and leave the city for some festival or other, this weekend the focus is firmly on our fair city and its surroundings.

The Manchester International Festival gets well underway this weekend, with an exciting three weeks ahead of groundbreaking new work in the fields of music, art, dance, drama, and more. And with Damon Albarn and Willem Defoe already seen drinking in the Cornerhouse this week, there’ll be plenty of opportunities for star spotting as some of the world’s greatest artists descend on Manchester.

Bjork’s highly anticipated Biophilia live show premiered last night, with first reports suggesting that anyone with tickets for the remaining five shows are in for a treat. Taking place in the striking space of Campfield Market hall at MOSI, Biophilia blends music, nature and technology for this multi-media project that includes apps, internet, installations and live performance.

This weekend also sees the launch of Damon Albarn’s latest work, Doctor Dee; a stageshow centered around the life of Elizabethan Renaissance Man John Dee. If the blinding success of Albarn’s last MIF work, ‘Monkey; Journey to the West’, is anything to go by, Doctor Dee should be pretty special. You’ll find that at The Palace Theatre for the next nine nights.

If you’ve got little ones, then you’ll surely have heard all about immersive theatre company Punchdrunk’s latest creation. The Crash of the Elysium will be an unforgettable Doctor Who themed event, and represents Punchdrunk’s first work specially made for children. Jealous? Us? Very.

If you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets for any of the festival’s main shows, then you can soak up the festival atmosphere this weekend in Albert Square. A bustling hive of activity throughout the festival, Albert Square – or Festival Square as it’s been temporarily renamed – is the beating heart of MIF, and home to outdoor and indoor bars and cafes, as well as the Festival Pavillion where some of the city’s best DJs will be performing each night.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and Manchester International Festival, something very special is beginning to stir in the Cheshire countryside. Tomorrow sees the iconic Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank take centre stage when colourful alt-rock band The Flaming Lips headline a unique afternoon of music. Brought to you by The Warehouse Project and Manchester events company Ear to the Ground, Live from Jodrell Bank Transmission 001 will see The Flaming Lips, British Sea Power, Ok Go, Alice Gold and more perform under the imposing shadow of the Lovell Telescope.

And if that’s not impressive enough, the telescope itself will form an integral part of the show, with stunning visuals being projected directly onto it. We’ve also heard rumours of a few special telescope related surprises… but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out. We don’t know about you, but we’re VERY excited about this one. Forever Manchester will be out in force at Jodrell Bank tomorrow, raising awareness and funds for our work in Manchester. So if you see our volunteer team out and about, make sure you come and say hi!

We’ll be reporting back on Live from Jodrell Bank next week, with a special guest blog from one of our amazing Forever Manchester volunteers.

When asked by Forever Manchester to write a blog entitled “My Manchester”, I wondered what I could possibly add to what’s already been said by many much more eloquent contributors.

But I suppose that’s the whole point.  Manchester more than ever epitomises a City built on the hopes and talent of its diverse population, from Charles Babbage to Morrissey – the original “Modern”.  So, as much as my contribution hasn’t been anywhere near as significant as some, here’s my take:

My Manchester is a crucible for innovation in science and the media that still has a soul, a part of the world where much of that world is represented, where people still say hello when they see you in the street and find it hard to say goodbye.  My Manchester is a place where you really can reinvent yourself if you try hard enough and where business offers equal opportunity if you go looking for it.

My Manchester is home to some football teams you may have heard of, a Media City that welcomes new constituents, a real social media community that is helping to lead the way in the development of human communication and boybands that become manbands and get the chance to live their dream all over again.  (Sorry, my Wife loves them but I don’t share the enthusiasm – no names mentioned.)

My Manchester has given me pretty much everything I’m proud of, including my marriage and my career.  If you ask it nicely enough and are willing to take the bad days with the good ones, the chances are it will do the same for anyone.

It’s imperfect, but it’s beautiful.  Every city has its good and bad points, but very few inspire the devotion that this one does.  Take a look at Twitter when a contestant on “The Apprentice” says that “we’re two years behind London”.  The truth is, we’re ahead of them.

My Manchester is something real, tangible and maddeningly loveable.  Long may it stay that way.

Forever Manchester was shocked to learn that comedy legend Frank Sidebottom sadly passed away after collapsing at his home in Hale on Monday 21st June.

The comedian, real name Chris Sievey, was recovering at home with his family after recently undergoing an operation to remove a tumour from his chest.

To celebrate the life and work of Chris Sievey, the man behind Frank Sidebottom, we took to the airwaves last night from 7pm as the Forever Manchester’s Online Radio show offered tribute to Chris and remembered what happened when Frank took control of the show…