In the run up to this year’s festival, music editor Eoghan Bennett chats to the festival’s organisers to see what all the fuss is about.
The Mancunion: To anybody who’s not familiar with the festival, sum up what it’s all about.
In The City: In The City is a three-day music conference held in the heart of Manchester’s Piccadilly and Northern Quarter areas. For three days it takes over the city with an (in)famous music industry conference and hundreds of live music shows. Think SXSW with a bit more rain and a few less barbecues and you’ll get the idea.
M: And to anybody who’s attended in previous years, is there anything new we can expect this year?
ITC: This year has been something of a transition. We’ve left The Midland Hotel to the Labour Party and relocated in the Piccadilly area of Manchester, taking over City Inn, Malmaison, The Abode and The Place Hotels. We’ve also moved our live showcases exclusively to the Northern Quarter which will make venue hopping much easier, and focuses the music industry on one of the most creative and vibrant areas in the country.
We’ve also added slightly to the conference side of In The City with The Hive. It’s a new educational initiative aimed at grassroots and entry-level students (16+) looking to make a bit of headway into the music industry. It’s a separately ticketed event at only £60 which gives you access to two days packed full of industry debate, workshops and masterclasses, and access to all three days of In The City gigs. Bargain!
M: What do you feel In The City has to offer Manchester students in particular?
ITC: In The City gives students a great chance to experience what a major Manchester music festival has to offer. We use the best venues in the city and bring international bands to Manchester where one of the largest student populations is. We also work with the best promoters and clubnights in the city – SJM, Now Wave, Fierce Panda, Same Teens, Contort Yourself, Clique, Pull Yourself Together to name a few, so this gives new students living and studying in the city a chance to see what the best nights to go to are.
M: What’s the reason behind ITC’s decision to focus exclusively on emerging and underground acts, rather than more established bands that might sell more tickets?
ITC: This year is actually a bit of a shift away from having just brand new bands, and we have bands such as No Age, Mount Kimbie, Male Bonding, Sky Larkin, Pulled Apart By Horses and HEALTH but In The City’s focus will always be on new and emerging bands as that’s the very essence of the festival. This year we’ll be thriving on having the first UK shows of Kisses, White Ring and Oberhofer, bands who we think will go on to be really successful. The whole festival is very much about discovery, and that will always be the case.
M: There seems to be a Madchester ‘anti-revival’ emerging in Manchester, with many new acts choosing to cut themselves loose from the city’s rich musical heritage. Given that the festival was founded by Tony Wilson, what is ITC’s view on current attitudes towards the music scene in Manchester?
ITC: Kicking against the past is very much a Tony Wilson thing and he’d completely approve of the new group of bands from the city not being hung up on the past. When the Hacienda building was turned into flats Tony and Yvette actually went to see the first bit of demolition begin – looking to the future rather than the past. That spirit is in everything In The City does.
What does ITC hope to leave behind for Manchester once all the bands have packed up and the delegates have checked out of their hotels (until next year’s festival anyway)?
We hope that people will have found some of their new favourite bands for years to come.
Visit www.inthecity.co.uk for tickets and more information