Manchester’s suite of summer festivals are back this year, with some new additions to the pack. There’s a celebration of craft beer at Depot Mayfield, a brand new Festival of Libraries across the county and the return of Manchester International Festival. For the full rundown, read on.

Abandon Normal Devices: 27 May – 11 July 2021

Laying a claim to be the UK’s only roaming festival, Abandon Normal Devices returns with new cinema, art and digital culture in various locations including Manchester Ship Canal, Mersey Ferries and the National Waterways Museum – with the majority of the programme remaining online, and therefore accessible from anywhere.

Manchester Flower Show: 29 May – 6 June 2021

With events taking place across Manchester, and having taken the popular King Street Festival under its wing, Manchester Flower Show looks set to be bigger and better than ever this year, with a family planting session at the Great Northern Warehouse, yarn bombing of the city’s trees, a floral takeover of Stevenson Square, a cocktail trail and much, much more.

Flower Show

Rochdale Folk Festival: 4 – 6 June 2021

Combining local and regional folk acts with a roster of free activities, the Rochdale Folk Festival is a proud celebration of local heritage – this year featuring gigs from BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners The Rheingans Sisters, world folk from The Hut People and progressive folk from Jon Boden & The Remnant Strings. Free live gigs can be found at Touchstones Rochdale, The Flying Horse and The Medicine Tap.

Festival of Libraries: 9 – 13 June 2021

2021 sees the first ever iteration of the Festival of Libraries, organised by Manchester City of Literature, which takes place in libraries across Greater Manchester including Chetham’s, The Portico, John Rylands Library and Central Library. Featuring readings and conversations, interviews, talks and family events, the inaugural festival showcases the incredible library offer across the county.

John Rylands Library

Manchester Jazz Festival: 11 – 13 June 2021

Happening a little differently this year, Manchester Jazz Festival will be occupying three stages at Escape to Freight Island, bringing acts including Untold Orchestra, Nubiyan Twist and Marco Woolf to punters at the drinking, dining and culture destination. Tables are free to book: check the programme ahead of time, and choose a slot that corresponds with the acts you’re hoping to see.

Manchester Festival of Nature: 27 June 2021

Taking place both at Heaton Park and via Twitter, the Manchester Festival of Nature looks to celebrate and help preserve wildlife in our urban environment – the hedgehogs, hares, starlings and peregrines that inhabit our city. Over 20 top conservation organisations will be involved, under the umbrella of the Manchester Nature Consortium – and you can too, either in person or online.

Sounds of the City: 11 July; 21 – 26 September 2021

Headline acts return to Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl this year, with Australian rock band DMA’s kicking things off on 11 July, before a run of gigs in September featuring a double header from Kaiser Chiefs and Razorlight, as well as Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, Hacienda Classical and Snow Patrol. Foals, Crowded House and Lewis Capaldi are lined up for next year’s iteration.

The Sparkle Weekend: 9 – 11 July 2021

In order to make this annual celebration of gender identity accessible to everyone, The Sparkle Weekend will be taking place online again this year, with performances from popular trans and gender diverse artists streamed to audiences via a dedicated microsite. The festival organisers will also be working with the bars and clubs in Manchester’s Gay Village to ensure a warm welcome for anyone who wants to visit in person over the weekend.

Manchester International Festival: 1 – 18 July 2021

Adapted to take place safely in locations both indoors and outdoors, Manchester International Festival has worked with artists including Cillian Murphy, Laure Prouvost, Arlo Parks and Patti Smith to produce a unique set of events, many of which reflect on the past, unprecedented year. Festival Square moves to a new location at Cathedral Gardens, there’s more work than ever in public spaces across the city, and much of the programme is free to attend.

MIF Festival Square

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park: 21 – 25 July 2021

Organised by the UK’s leading gardening charity and set across 28 acres of Tatton Park, this year’s flower show sees the return of stunning show gardens, talks, workshops and demonstrations, family friendly events and a plant village. This year’s theme is ‘Summer of Love’, the programme featuring events that focus on increasing wildlife in the garden, and on fostering wellbeing through planting.

Manchester Craft Beer Festival: 23 – 24 July 2021

Held at new venue the Depot Mayfield, a former railway station that’s part of a £1bn regeneration project, Manchester Craft Beer Festival 2021 brings together over 40 world class breweries, a roster of food stalls and DJ sets from Craig Charles, Django Django and Daddy G of Massive Attack. A ticket includes a tasting of any of the beers on offer, a tasting glass and access to the entire event.

Manchester Pride: 27 – 30 August 2021

A world-leading LGBTQ+ event, Manchester Pride sees a weekend of events addressing six key themes: equality, arts and culture, community, party, activism, and youth and family. Current planned events include the hugely popular Gay Village Party, Manchester Pride Parade, Superbia Weekend and the closing Candlelit Vigil, a gathering in Sackville Gardens to remember those lost to HIV, and those still facing LGBTQ+ persecution globally.

Bolton Food and Drink Festival: 27 – 30 August 2021

Leading local and regional chefs, cooking demos from culinary experts, artisanal market traders, live music and family entertainment are all on the bill for Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2021, taking place in Bolton Market and across local venues. This year’s festival also sees the return of the Restaurant of the Year award, as well as new accolade, Young Chef of the Year.