In The City 2010

By Ian Burke

A smattering of urban festivals have sprung up here over the past few years, with Stag And Dagger, Hungry Pigeon and Dot To Dot exhausting the city’s gig goers with hundreds of bands in May alone. None of these entertaining newcomers, however, have the prestige or the lustre of In The City.

Started in 1992 by Anthony Wilson and Yvette Livesey in response to the music industry’s London-centric bum-lickery, ITC has been the undisputed highlight on Manchester’s musical calender every autumn since (a late-90’s exodus to Dublin, Liverpool and Edinburgh excluded, of course). It brings together the finest in fresh talent from around the world and crowbars them into a couple of dozen – usually makeshift – venues in the city centre, with this year’s proceedings moving away from its recent Peter St. home, to take up residency in the more familiar confines of the Northern Quarter.

It was horrendous the last time the bulk of festivities were held that part of town, but the organisers have learnt a major lessons from 2003, and the bulk of business will be conducted midweek, with only Friday 15th threatening to suffer from the frustratingly over-packed bars and bemusement of weekend revellers. And no Key 103 truck, either.

200 bands will descend on and around Oldham St for the official programme, with the likes of No Age, Male Bonding and Mount Kimbie topping the always-diverse showcases, and with many more do’s splattered across the city centre for a labyrinth of ITC Fringe shows, you won’t be able to travel 20 yards without stumbling across something worth your time.

The Main Event, however, is ITC Unsigned. This year, a streamlined batch of 30 of the most talked-about upstarts on the block will hope to follow in the sizeable footsteps of the conference’s most celebrated alumni, who it’s practically mandatory to state include the multi-platinum likes of Coldplay, Muse, Oasis and The Darkness, the latter who wowed the impressionable young delegates crammed into the Rovers Return on Chapel St back in 2002 with their high-camp caterwauling.

Even if this year’s batch, who include a quintet of Mancunian outfits in D/R/U/G/S, Milk Maid, The Kill Van Kulls and the footwear-inspired monickers of Slow Motion Shoes and Brown Brogues don’t reach such giddy heights of popularity, they can always console themselves in knowing that Intentions Of An Asteroid, Pornshot, Throat, Isosceles and Jetplane Landing didn’t set the charts alight, either (much to my annoyance, at least, but I digress).

“It sounds great, Ian” I hear you cry, “but it’s gonna cost me a fortune!”
Well, you’d be wrong, missy. A wristband that will get you into everything over the three days costs a measly £29, which equates to about 14p per band for the official In The City nights, and that’s excluding all the Fringe shows which usually let you in with a wristband, too.

If you doubt your body can withstand three consecutive nights of partying, you can buy individual day passes for £16 a pop, but trust us here at CityLifers when we say that if you’ve never experienced ITC before, you’ll feel like Shane McGowan’s teeth in the best sweetshop in the world. Get out there and enjoy it.


In The City is held in the Northern Quarter, on Piccadilly and practically everywhere in town which serves alcohol between Wednesday October 13th and Friday 15th.

Check here for info about bands/artsits and wristband availability.

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