A festival for fans of fresh and innovative sounds curated by key industry figureheads, Off the Record returns to Manchester’s Northern Quarter on November 15th and 16th.

The programming for this year’s festival will be spread across eight of the NQ’s beloved venues including Soup Kitchen, Night & Day and Band on the Wall. Curated by the likes of Everything Everything, Bestival main man Rob da Bank, Flying Vinyl and London in Stereo (yep, that’s us!), this year’s line up is the biggest and most exciting to date.

As well as the packed music schedule there’s also the conference programme which includes a song writing masterclass, ‘Getting Your Music Heard: Streaming vs Radio’ with Radio 1’s Abbie McCarthy and ‘Northern Revival’ with Author and DJ Dave Haslam and Chris Hawkins.

Check the stage times HERE.

Ahead of this year’s Off the Record – the first for which they’ve announced the programming in advance (previous years have seen the line up revealed a mere 24 hours before the festival) – we spoke to a few of the festival curators to find out what makes OTR so special…

BBC INTRODUCING MANCHESTER recommend… LADY ICE

One of the most invigorating and original artists around at the moment, Lady Ice (aka Rachel Brown) has free-styled on BBC 1xTra and performed acoustic versions of her tracks on BBC Introducing Manchester. An instrumental part in BBC Music day performing live on Manchester Metrolink tram network. She made her first TV appearance on a show entitled ‘Must Be The Music'(Sky1 HD) at 16yrs old and fusing Jamaican patois with her cheeky Manc attitude is a mix made in heaven! We are thrilled to support such an exciting and entertaining artist.

Chosen by Natalie-Eve Williams (presenter/producer), Michelle Hussey (presenter/producer) and Michelle Zenner (team assistant)
We are really excited to be part of OTR 2018, an incredible coming together of artists, industry professionals and primarily, music lovers. Not only is it showcasing talent, but a chance to reflect and discuss all aspects of the industry.

LONDON IN STEREO recommend… SELF ESTEEM

Self-Esteem is a new project from Rebecca Taylor. After ten years in an indie band, Taylor steps out on her own, presenting an unapologetically personable sensibility alongside astute song writing and polished production. “Nobody’s art show is worth bumping into you for” reads her cover photo on Facebook, and scrolling down you’ll find a screenshot of a note saying “stop trying to have so many friends”. We love Self-Esteem, and you will too.

Chosen by Jess Partridge, Editor in Chief
Being part of events like OTR Manchester is exactly why we love being part of the UK’s music community. Highlighting and spreading the love for upcoming acts we believe in is so important to us. A passion for new music, panels stimulating interesting conversations and a real effort to bring together industry from all backgrounds. What more could we want from a festival like this?

ROB DA BANK recommends… everyone! 

Since I was 18, my whole musical life has been about discovering new bands and playing them in clubs, on the radio and booking them for my festivals. Off The Record combines all that passion with an incredible line-up of up-and-comers. I cannot wait to see the full bill live.

ROISIN O’CONNOR recommends… STEREO HONEY

Stereo Honey have been one of my favourite new acts since I saw them at a gig just over a year ago. They get better with each single they release, Pete’s voice is extraordinary, and they have a quality and articulacy to their music that makes them stand out, even among the many great new bands around today. I’m very excited to see where they go from here.

Chosen by Roisin O’Connor, Music Correspondent, The Independent
When I was asked to get involved in Off the Record Festival, it didn’t really take much deliberation to say ‘yes’. By involving a range of artists, bands, DJs and other music industry figures, OTR organisers have again managed to curate a diverse line up that reflects just how strong the current UK music scene is. I feel very strongly that music writers, critics and journalists still have a big role to play in the discovery and promotion of the best new music around, wherever and whoever it comes from. It was incredibly tough to pick one act, given there is so much talent emerging not just from London, but in every region of the UK and Ireland.

Off The Record takes place in Manchester on November 15th and 16th 2018.