Off The Record Festival announces 2018 line-up

The country is now approaching the autumnal season of music festivals which offer a more immersive experience in finding independent music. Once again, we see the back of a summer abundance of festivals characterised by a barbaric collection of vast sludgy fields with drunken Britons drowning in a sea of Theresa May flags, Tesco wellies and plastic pint glasses. Now, there is the offer of a more intimate festival experience which occurs in the urban confines of British Towns and Cities…trainers will do. Off The Record 2018 arrives in November and it embodies a citified DIY aesthetic bringing an array of scintillating independent bands to Manchester’s iconic Northern Quarter – a liminal space of timeless culture and host to many magical northern venues. Here is our preview of the event that will light up Manchester’s November showers.

Launched by three prestigious North West festivals – Kendal Calling, Sound City and Bluedot, Off The Record will return on the 15th and 16th November boasting two sell-out years prior. The demand of this event is clearly huge and the organisers have recognised this by releasing the line-up for the first time before the event has started. You can feast your eyes on the vast selection of highly independent artists below.


The Festival has a brilliant group of trusted curators including Everything Everything, Huw Stephens, Distiller, The Orielles, BBC Introducing Manchester and many more! A must see is Everything Everything’s very own stage with the artists confirmed being, CHILDCARE, Giant Boys, See Thru Hands, SPQR and vwls. To add to the dynamism of their stage, Everything Everything will also be mixing things up with a DJ set. The band spoke about this precious stage in the career of an artist:

“Off The Record’s clever remit captures artists at a very special, vivid and all-too-brief point in their careers. It’s our pleasure to be involved, and to give a platform to a group of acts we’ve encountered that find themselves in this enviable position.”

 To add to the enthralling third year of the festival is an enriching conference line-up which supplies an extensive selection of inspiring professionals speaking about music. Iconic Manchester band Doves are part of a songwriting master class along with a conversation with Simon Parks who founded the Brixton Academy. These artists will delve into the educational side of music, with in-depth discussions exploring creativity and culture. Gender imbalance in music will also be one of the key topics explored with a fittingly female-led selection of curators including Keychange, Re:Balance, When in Manchester and Make Noise.

Other events at the conference include: Getting Your Music Heard: Streaming vs Radio with Abbie McCarthy (BBC Radio 1 and BBC Introducing), DIY vs Indie vs Major with Julie Weir (Sony Music), The New Power Generation with Kali Bradford (Distiller), Northern Revival with Author and DJ Dave Haslam and Chris Hawkins (BBC 6 Music) and The Evolution of Mastering with Kevin Tuffy (Stormzy, RagnBone Man, Lady Leshurr).

Like any festival, there will be some tough decisions throughout the two days and these can be resolved…or made harder by the striking venues on offer. Jimmy’s Bar on Newton Street is an indie hotspot which seems to be a stepping stone for many up and coming bands in Manchester, make sure you stop by here if you are attending. Soup Kitchen and Night and Day both offer unique gig experiences, it often hosts local and visiting bands and they are solid choices which both offer an intimate gig experience. The Peer Hat, Gullivers, The Castle Hotel, Aatma and Band on the Wall are some of the other venues hosting artists and are all a matter of minutes away from each other. Make sure a venue crawl is a part of your plans!

Tickets are now on sale for this event, they are priced at £35 for an Earlybird Gig & Conference Pass, £20 for an Earlybird Conference Pass and £15 for an Earlybird Gig Pass, available from Gig passes are 18+ only and Ticketline Network are the primary ticketing agent at this year’s event.


Off The Record will run as follows:

Thursday 15th November:

7pm-late – Networking drinks at Band on the Wall sponsored by Ticketline Network

Come and open the festival, enjoy a drink and network with delegates

Friday 16th November:

9.30am-6pm – Conference at Methodist Central Hall

Registration from 9am

6pm-late – Music Showcase at Jimmy’s, Band on the Wall, The Peer Hat, Soup Kitchen, Gullivers, Aatma, Night & Day, The Castle Hotel


Artists confirmed so far to perform at this year’s Off The Record, and the curators who chose them, are:

WOOZE (John Kennedy)

The Old Pink House (The Tipping Point & When In Manchester)

Chappaqua Wrestling (Flying Vinyl)

Kinkajous (Low Four Studio)

Pearl City (Bestival)

LibraLibra (Sound City)

Lady Ice (BBC Introducing Manchester)

Mary Miller (Rebalance)

Seatbelts (The Orielles)

Peaness (Make Noise)

Happy Spendy (Goldflake Paint)

Olivia Nelson (Abbie McCarthy)

MELLT (Huw Stephens)

Medikul (Tom Ravenscroft)

Delights (When In Manchester)

The Ninth Wave (Distiller)

Djuno (Horus)

Vana Blue (Horus)

Ditz (Horus)

Team Picture (Low Four Studio)

Rascalton (Kendal Calling)

Thyla (MCR Live & Fickle Friends)

Babe Punch (Make Noise)

Paris Youth Foundation (Distiller)

Fizzy Blood (Distiller)