Showing typical resilience and resolve, the annual music festival – celebrating its 10th anniversary this year – is moving into the digital realm in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Usually held in the pubs and clubs of Salford, this year’s event has been re-invented as a three-day online showcase of fantastic live music, DJs and spoken word.
Performing from the comfort of their own homes, this year’s line-up features an impressive mix of established big names and rising stars.
Salford-raised music legend Graham Nash – known for his work with The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash – is performing an exclusive set and speaking to BBC DJ Janice Long. Another proud Salfordian, bassist Peter Hook, will be showcasing some Joy Division classics with his band The Light. There’s also epic soul balladry from local songstress Ren Harvieu; electronic duo K Klass unleash their famous dancefloor anthems; and former Icicle Works frontman Ian McNabb plays a solo set.
In addition, a terrific line-up of spoken word talent includes Tony Walsh, JB Barrington, Mike Garry and the inimitable Dr John Cooper Clarke, plus DJ sets from Jon DaSilva, Graeme Park and Clint Boon.
Of course – as you’d expect of Salford Music Festival – there’s also a healthy contingent of emerging music talent. Keep your eyes peeled for sets from LIINES, James Holt, Jess Kemp, Bianca Alana, AAAK, One Sided Horse, Tiki Black, Freya Beer, Haig – and many, many more.
Founded in 2010 by musician and promoter Ed Blaney, Salford Music Festival has evolved into one of the northwest’s leading music festivals, showcasing artists such as The Fall, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Rae Morris during its decade-long tenure.
At the very heart of the festival is a strong sense of civic pride and community focus – and year’s event, despite going online, is no exception. With Salford communities heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, this year’s festival is doubling its efforts to help those in need. Local organisations such as Salford 4 Good, Salford Loaves and Fishes and Salford Lads Club will all benefit from donations made to this year’s event.
Ahead of this weekend’s event – and reflecting on its transition into the online realm – SMF organiser Ed Blaney says:
“I’m dead proud of this year’s line-up. Like everyone else in the music industry, we’ve had to adapt in the face of COVID-19. It’s been touching to see how supportive people have been – for someone like Graham Nash to get involved, a real legend, it’s a massive coup for the festival. We’re living in hard times right now, and we just want to bring a bit of hope and positivity with this year’s festival.”