The Friends of Mine Festival

For too long, Manchester has been a black spot on the music festival calendar – not since the days of the Deeply Vale festivals, which ended in 1979, has the city had a proper, countryside festival to call its own. That’s all set to change with the first Friends Of Mine Festival – FOMfest for short – which has now finalised its stellar line-up.

"Manchester is the nation's music capital but it doesn’t have a festival to call its own," says founder Sam Gardner. "We’re setting out to put that right."

Due to take place at Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire, on the 20th, 21st and 22nd May, the 10,000 capacity festival will unite the new and old faces of Manchester music in a beautiful, bucolic location less than 30 miles from Piccadilly Station.

It’s where Manchester legends like Buzzcocks, The Fall, Bernard Sumner’s Bad Lieutenant and Cheshire’s very own Charlatans meet Manchester’s hot new talent like Patterns, The Answering Machine, Golden Glow and Dutch Uncles. Joining the dots between them are The Cribs, Puressence, Cherry Ghost, Badly Drawn Boy, Jim Noir,, Liam Frost, The Whip, Mr Scruff and many more. And from further afield, there’s an international line-up of must-see bands including Yuck, Toro Y Moi, Black Lips, Young Knives, and John Maus

Aside from the musical entertainment on the Lake Stage, the Satellite Stage (so named for its views of the giant observatory at nearby Jodrell Bank), the Big Top Stage and the Bowl Stage, there’ll be a dedicated tent for stand-up comedy, spoken word and poetry headlined by the bard of Salford, John Cooper Clark and featuring sets from Steve Shanyaski, Mrs. Barbara Nice, Nick Fraser and more. More culture can be found on Saturday’s Jazz Stage, with 12 hours of music curated by Manchester’s beloved Northern Quarter jazz institution Matt & Phredd’s. Performers include Hidden Orchestra, Hackney Colliery Band, Illum Sphere Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra and Renegade Brass Band.

There’ll be late night goings-on in the marquee run by The House Party, who specialize in turning spaces into riotous, themed shindigs. DJs include Tim Burgess, the Hacienda’s Dave Haslam, Smiths legend Mike Joyce and Massive Attack collaborator Horace Andy as well as Daddy G himself. And there’s a cinema tent showing Manchester-centric movies Control and 24 Hour Party People plus a host of cult classics and a special screening of Mr Nice introduced by Howard Marks himself.

Food and drink-wise, you’ll find none of your gristle-burgers here. Instead, there’s Festaurant, a unique festival food experience in association with Manchester Food & Drink Festival, bringing mobile versions of many of the city’s best-loved restaurants, cafes and eateries to the rolling fields.

All this, plus heaps of additional entertainment, including science demonstrations from the folks at Jodrell Bank who are setting up a mobile version of their new visitor centre on the festival site, complete with giant telescopes.

With the original Friends Of Mine club night, the ethos was to always be inclusive and friendly. It’s a principle that’s been carried over to the festival too: FOMfest will be a family-friendly festival (children are free in, kidszone, crèche, Ferris Wheel), priced at a super-reasonable £89.50 including camping, and with something on the bill to suit all tastes. VIP options are available for those looking to enjoy a bit of extra luxury. 

Friends Of Mine rose to prominence in the boom of DIY club nights in the early 2000s, inspired by the likes of Akoustik Anarkhy and Blowout. "Putting a night of your own on suddenly became something you could do if you had enough like-minded mates and enough enthusiasm," says Gardner.

The first Friends Of Mine took place in October 2004 in a bar in Fallowfield, South Manchester. "Little did we know then that by 2008 we'd have a monthly Liverpool and a fortnightly London FOM running alongside, and that we would not to go more than four weeks without a Manchester show until April 2010 when festival planning took over," says Gardner. "The ethos for the Festival has come from the same idea as the original club night: maybe we can do one of our own…"

For more information and to purchase tickets visit the Friends of Mine site -

Category News Flash

Latest Articles