Manchester has a reputation for being the music capital of the world, and we’d have to strongly agree. Some of the world’s most influential artists and genres have roots in our city, and music really does run throughout our streets. Greater Manchester is home to The Smiths, Oasis, and Joy Division among many others. Our musical legacy is strong and as a city, we certainly know how to shout about it. However, our music scene is incredibly varied, and with many of our venues also showcasing the best of world music, it shows how culturally diverse our city-region is. This World Music Day is not only a chance to celebrate some of our most famous exports but also the sounds of other cultures that now call Manchester home. 

With World Music Day approaching on Tuesday 21 June, it’s the perfect excuse for a music-themed activity, whether that means learning about Manchester’s rich musical history or catching some live performances. It’s time to celebrate one of our most famous exports in true Manchester fashion. 

World Music Day celebrates all genres of music and every type of musician. World music day is celebrated in more than 120 countries with some special events, performances and celebrations across the globe. Most importantly though, it’s a day to blast out your favourite song and perhaps discover a new one, to play an instrument or watch a live show. It’s about celebrating the sounds you love and appreciating the impact music has on all of our lives. Really, there couldn’t be a better time to celebrate music in all forms, and here are some activities that can help you to do just that. 

Visit The British Pop Archive 

The British Pop Archive is a national collection dedicated to preserving and researching popular culture, and to launch the archive a Manchester-themed exhibition has opened at the John Ryland’s Library. What could be a better way to celebrate World Music Day than to view some artefacts belonging to Britain’s favourite bands? From handwritten lyrics to guitars and incredible photographs, this exhibition celebrates those that have shaped our culture from the 1960s to the 2000s. Manchester’s cultural scene has been a global symbol of innovation and creativity, and this exhibition celebrates what makes it unique. 

Take a music tour 

Greater Manchester is full of locations that showcase our region's musical heritage from Salford Lads Club to Sifters Records in Burnage. Music fans flock to these locations to pay homage to their favourite acts every year, and with Manchester Music Tours you can visit all of these locations in one go. You’ve heard the songs, now hop on the Manchester Music Tours bus to see the sights and learn the stories behind some of Manchester’s biggest bands. There are specific tours for fans of The Smiths, Oasis, Joy Division and The Stone Roses but also a general Manchester Music tour which combines highlights from each including The Boardwalk and the home of Alan Erasmus, where Factory Records established their headquarters. The tours were founded by Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill and are now run by his wife, Rose Gill who experienced the Madchester scene first-hand. 

Join the World of Music Choir 

Every Tuesday, Band on the Wall hosts the World of Music Choir. Directed by Niamh Feeney, a renowned vocalist from the west of Ireland. You’ll sing a range of songs from modern-day classics to traditional folk numbers and learn new singing techniques. Most importantly though you’ll meet fellow music lovers. All songs are learnt by ear, so no experience or musical knowledge is necessary, simply love of music and eagerness to sing. This fun activity is suitable for all ages and is just £5 per session.  

Go on a music walkabout 

If walking is more your bag, The Manchester Music Walkabout is the perfect way to spend a day and celebrate Manchester’s contribution to the world’s music scene. This walking tour of Manchester city centre will take you past venues and locations that make up the city’s musical story from the 1960s through to the present day. You’ll learn the best stories from your favourite artists and learn all about the inspirational sounds of Manchester to give you anecdotes to tell all of your friends. Plus on booking, every guest will receive a special playlist to get you in the mood with classics like The Stone Roses, The Bee Gees and Elbow as well as some up-and-coming Manchester sounds too. The Manchester Music Walkabout runs every Saturday and costs £15 per person. 

Book a gig 

Greater Manchester is home to countless live music venues playing every possible genre from jazz to rock and roll. As a city-region famed for its music it’s only right that we have venues of all shapes and sizes, from intimate clubs to arenas, classical concert halls to outdoor venues. Artists from across the world travel to Greater Manchester to perform including some of the biggest names on the planet. Some of our venues are iconic staples of the UK’s music scene like Band on the Wall or Night and Day. It’s guaranteed that whatever your tastes there’s sure to be a concert with your name on it in Greater Manchester sometime soon. This World Music Day why not celebrate by booking yourself a gig? Take a look at what is coming to our city-region here

Learn tunes from across the globe 

Band on The Wall has online tutorials that will help music lovers play along with music from across the globe. The videos feature talented musicians from Wales, Scotland, Trinidad and Tobago, Sweden and more, ready to teach you how to play a tune from their heritage. The World of Music Tunes will allow you to learn at different speeds, with tips on how to master the notes. You can listen, pause and practise to learn at your own speed. 

Shop in Piccadilly Records 

Piccadilly Records is infamous in Manchester. Since it opened in 1978 Piccadilly Records has become one of the world’s best independent record shops. It gained a reputation for itself in the post-punk 1980s, selling a mixture of rock, pop and alternative music, you should even find a great selection of world music. Since then, the Northern Quarter store has been voted the best independent record store at the Music Week awards and has seen plenty of press coverage. So, if you’re looking for a way to celebrate World Music Day, why not go and see what vinyl treasures await? You’ll find music spanning a range of genres and will be spoilt for choice between your firm favourites and finding a new sound. 

Set sail to your favourite sounds 

Celebrate World Music Day in style by booking a boat trip with a difference. Manchester River Cruises, which sail from Salford Quays along the Manchester Ship canal, have a live music offering which is sure to be a hit with music fans. On the calendar at the moment is a Broadway Boat Party, a Swing & Rat Pack cruise as well as Elvis Live and Back to the 90s. Take in the stunning sights of Manchester’s historic canal network while enjoying your favourite music, for a very decadent celebration of the sounds you love. 

Silent Disco tour 

For a more quirky way to celebrate World Music Day, what about a music tour with a difference. The five-star Silent Disco Adventure will have you laughing through the streets of Manchester singing some of your favourite tunes from across the decades. Let the city streets become your stage as you put on your headphones and forget all of your troubles. All you need to bring is your dancing shoes and your singing voice. The Silent Adventure lasts for around an hour with a mixture of old and new songs that are sure to get you singing and dancing. Celebrate World Music Day by letting loose and booking a music tour with a difference, you’ll never see the seats of Manchester in the same way. 

Of course, you could celebrate World Music Day by listening to your favourite band or playing your own instrument. But, if you’re looking for something uniquely Manchester, these suggestions could help you to show your love for a good song and dance in style. 

View more events coming to our city-region by visiting our What’s On page