Festival Guides

Festival Guide: Off The Record

Nothing beats discovering a brilliant band before everyone else. Off The Record is a brand new music festival in Manchester that will make this happen while teaching punters and music heads about the industry.  Get tickets here!

What’s Off The Record then?

Off The Record is a brand new music festival focussing on undiscovered emerging artists and vital education for anyone in or planning on entering the weird and wonderful world of the music industry. It is the collective brainchild of the people behind Kendal Calling, Sound City, Bludot and Louder Than War.

Taking place on the 4th of November Off The Record by day consists of a jam-packed schedule of interesting conferences and panel discussions. The festival is kicked into a more party friendly gear when these conferences wind down and the showcases begin. The showcases will consist of over 30 new acts taking to the stage in various venues in Manchester.

Where’s it happening?

Manchester. This city has always been a popular hub for live music but recently Manchester has upped its game even further. Music has really put Manchester on the map with international acts and now with Off The Record specifically geared towards new music. It’s becoming more and more important in the landscape of British music.

There’ll be live music at Night & Day Cafe, Gullivers, and The Castle on Oldham Street, as well as Soup Kitchen and Aatma on Stephenson Square, and The Ruby Lounge on High Street.

Legendary Oldham Street spot Dry Bar will act as a hub and networking space, while most of the conference programme will take place at the nearby Methodist Hall.

Who’s playing?

As mentioned above, the manic music day kicks off with some informative conferences and panel discussions. The keynote discussion will be with big time local band Everything Everything. This talk, as well as discussions about how to get on the festival circuit, exploring the musician/manager relationship, how to get in the ear of the people with the power to get you heard, a touring workshop and tips on how to put a gig on properly, all promise valuable insight and crucial information regarding the ever-changing landscape of the modern day music industry.

I know what you’re thinking, what’s the story with the music?  Here’s where it gets really interesting. Off The Record have decided to release the festivals’ line-up on the 3rd of November! I.e. just 24 hours before the festival starts.  This basically means that the first time Off The Record’s attendees will be exposed to the acts playing the festival, will be at their live performance. This has obviously been viewed as a risky move by the promoters, but they are confident that enough people are more than happy to commit to a gig not knowing exactly what they are in for.

Don’t worry though, the artists playing the festival will be of a very high standard as they are chosen by industry tastemakers and new music specialists. So no need to fret your evening’s entertainment is in good hands. In fact, the acts have been curated by some pretty famous names including Guy Garvey, Huw Stephens, John Kennedy, Tim Burgess, and Frank Turner, plus Manchester music shop Piccadilly Records, and local writers, radio presenters, and bloggers.

The following is the only criteria the acts must possess to make it on the bill:

  1. The act cannot have been together/established for more than 2 years
  2. The act cannot have released a debut album

So let’s face it – under those strict criteria, if the 30 act line-up was available today, how many would you be aware of? Isn’t it more fun to hear them for the first time LIVE in concert rather than finding Soundcloud links and reading Facebook bios? We believe this is a cool way to put on a new music festival which emphasises the importance of a quality live performance and not judging an artist until you see them play.

You can get separate passes for the conferences and the gigs and there is also a number of dual conference/gig passes available. Click HERE to explore your options.

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