Live music to return to Maxwell Hall after 10 years for Sounds from the Other City festival

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology, University Campus

The University of Salford is delighted to confirm that live music will be returning to our hallowed venue Maxwell Hall on Sunday 5 May as we host Sounds from the Other City on our Peel Park campus.

For the first time since 2014, the legendary music venue will host live music from external bands as it partially hosts Salford’s biggest music festival on Sunday 5 May.

Welsh artist Gruff Rhys will headline a set at the venue, joining the likes of Paul McCartney, U2, The Smiths and Blondie who have performed on the stage which will also host the festival’s joyous afterparty in the evening, featuring A Guy Called Gerald.

The festival, now in its 18th year, will be held across six venues on our campus, including Peel Hall, the Salford Museum & Art Gallery, the recently-refurbished Old Fire Station, the Working Class Movement Library and a stage on Heritage Lawn off The Crescent.

Today, we can also announce two new special projects in a partnership between the University and the festival that will be showcased on the day.

Renowned visual artist Mishka Henner will unveil his striking presentation ‘The Conductor’, developed as part of his residency at Energy House 2.0. ‘The Conductor’ will ‘channel all the world’s thunder strikes’ as a single percussionist will beat a drum each time a lightning strike is recorded. The remarkable performance, which will take place in the Reverberation Chamber in our Newton Building, will use live data from a global network of sensors maintained by the Blitzortung.org project.

Multi-instrumentalist Ray Aggs will take part in the Samarbeta Music residency at Islington Mill that will see them create an album and live performance of new folk songs. They will be inviting local people of colour to take part in an educational guitar workshop and improvised songwriting, focused on the nature of ‘roots’ music, appropriation, belonging, identity and the black diaspora. As part of the residency, Ray will deliver an artist talk and discussion on Decolonising Folk Music at the Working Class Movement Library and the week will culminate in a live premiere performance of new music at SFTOC.

Tim France, Director of Performance, Music, English & Dance at The University of Salford, said: “We are absolutely delighted to bring live music back to the stage of our beloved Maxwell Hall. Sounds from the Other City is one of Salford’s most impactful and colourful musical spectacles and it is fitting that this year’s festival will mark the first time that bands have took to the stage there in ten years.

“It is a hallowed stage that has played host to some of the world’s biggest bands and will forever have a space in our city’s illustrious musical history. But it is time that live music returns there and we are tremendously excited to see it return as a venue for this festival and to see music showcased across our campus this May. From Peel Hall to the stunningly-refurbished Old Fire Station, the University of Salford will be the place to be this coming Bank Holiday Weekend for music lovers across Greater Manchester.”

Mark Carlin, Director of From the Other and Founder of Sounds from the Other City, said: “After almost a decade of working with the University of Salford, we're thrilled to be moving the heart of the festival onto the campus for the first time this year. That means we'll be hosting a stage at the historic Maxwell Hall, the first time anyone's had the chance to do that in ten years and we'll also be setting up at Peel Hall and the newly established Old Fire Station cafe.

“I’m particularly excited about our project with the University’s Arts Collection and their artist-in-residence at Energy House 2.0, Mishka Henner. We've been working with Mishka over the past few months to realise a live output of his research to be staged at the festival. Developments are ongoing but we hope that on Bank Holiday Sunday, you'll be able to experience the world's lightning patterns coming to you via a live performance, in a room, at a University, in Salford. And that feels like a perfect Sounds moment!”

Lindsay Taylor, Curator of the University of Salford Art Collection, said: “This feels like a significant moment for Salford, with the University collaborating with cultural partners across the Crescent to bring the very best cultural experiences to the city.

“It is wonderful watching the alchemy unfold between Mishka, the University’s acoustic staff, students from the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology and the Sounds team, supported by our partners Open Eye Gallery and Castlefield Gallery. We look forward to welcoming artists and audiences on our campus for what promises to be an amazing event.”

Sounds from the Other City has held stages at the University of Salford several times over the last 20 years, previously hosting live stages at Peel Hall (2011 & 2014) and a one-off performance installation at Maxwell Hall for the festival’s tenth edition in 2014. The festival planned to return to the hallowed venue in 2020, but the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 110 University of Salford students have gained valuable work experience at Sounds from the Other City through placements since 2017, with some going onto careers with BBC Music, Worldwide FM, London Sinfonietta and more.

In addition to being hosted on our campus, this year’s festival will also occupy areas across the wider Chapel Street area with artists to play at St Philip’s Church, The Old Pint Pot, The New Oxford, Bexley Square, Porta and Islington Mill.

Sounds from the Other City is made possible by funding from UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Salford City Council, Salford CVS, The University of Salford, Arts Council England and GMCA Culture Fund. It is supported by Salford’s Culture & Place Partnership, a cross-city collective delivering Salford’s strategy for culture and creativity.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.