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Fantastic festivals in Liverpool during 2020

Liverpool is one of the UK’s leading festival cities with something happening almost every week of the year.

From music events like Sound City, LIMF and International Beatleweek to arts festivals like Threshold and the Liverpool Biennial, from food and drink events to the spoken word and the psychedelic, there is something to suit every type of festival goer.

Liverpool also lives up to its title of ‘World in One City’ with a host of events which celebrate the talents of diverse cultural groups including Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, the Festival of Reggae, Africa Oyé and Liverpool Irish Festival.

Meanwhile the talents of the city’s LGBT+ community are showcased through the annual Homotopia and Pride events.

Here are just some of the city’s myriad of festivals to check out during 2020.

Liverpool International Jazz Festival

February 27-March 1

The eighth edition of the city’s jazz festival takes place at the Capstone Theatre in Everton over four days this spring.

Featured artists include London based jazz collective Cykada, Netherlands innovators Tin Men and the Telephone, Indo-jazz Sarathy Korwar, Belgian iconclasts Blow 3.0, a concert of groove based music from Martin Archer’s Anthropology Band, and a closing performance from saxophonist Tony Kofi whose quartet’s set will focus on his work with Ornette Coleman.

Fans can also expect support sets from up-and-coming bands with a strong focus on original music.

More from the Capstone website HERE

Threshold Festival

April 3-4

Liverpool’s grassroots festival of musical and arts takes place over the first weekend in April.

Artists, musicians, promoters, academics and enthusiasts will descend on the Baltic Triangle for what festival founders Kara and Chris Herstad Carney call “the alternative, experimental and fresh in music and arts.”

The focus of the festival – now in its 10th year - is collaboration, grassroots music, first view visual arts and innovative performance.

More from the website HERE

Sound City

May 1-3

Sound City takes over the Baltic Triangle for three days this May, with a top line-up of talent headed by Pale Waves, The Blinders and Tim Burgess.

Stealing Sheep, The Mysterines, The Lathums, Jamie Webster and The Lottery Winners are also among a packed schedule of music, with many more artists still to be announced.

Sound City is the UK’s leading independent music festival and conference and sees established names performing alongside local, national and international emerging talent.

More from the website HERE



May means WoWFest, the month-long celebration of the spoken and written word by the city’s Writing on the Wall organisation.

WoWFest is the longest running and most successful literature festival in Liverpool, with an average of 35 events in venues and spaces across the city including the poplar annual Pulp Idol competition.

The 2020 dates and programme are yet to be announced by Toxteth-based organisation Writing on the Wall which marks its 20th anniversary this year.

More details from the website HERE

Abandon Normal Devices (AND)

May 14-17

AND Festival returns to Liverpool for 2020 when it will take to the water for its 9th edition, transforming waterways, ports and docklands into temporary creative zones.

Expect four days of unusual and unexpected experiences – immersive installations, augmented reality seascapes, virtual environments, floating experiments and immersive field trips – on ferries, steamships, docks and ports.

The festival will be based around the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal, bringing into focus global trade industries and infrastructures largely hidden from sight.

AND is the UK’s only roaming digital festival.

More details from the website HERE


May 16

Formerly known as Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, PZYK takes place in the North Docks, promising a “14-hour high definition dream-state”.

The festival, billed as the UK’s largest celebration of psychedelic sub-culture, celebrates artists operating at the cutting edge of today's global psychedelic renaissance, alongside visual art, film, performance and “mind-expanding visual delights”.

More details from the website HERE

Positive Vibration – Festival of Reggae

June 12-13

Positive Vibration is back for 2020, promising two days of the best of reggae bands and beats.

The music festival takes place in the Baltic Triangle.

This year’s line-up features Hollie Cook + General Roots, General Levy + Joe Ariwa, Neville Staple Band, Mungo’s Hi Fi featuring Charlie P, African Head Charge, Mad Professor, Tippa Irie, Horseman, DJ Vadim + Jman, The Upper Cut Band, Kiko Bun, Don Letts, Sinai Sound System and Levi Tafari.

More details from the website HERE

Africa Oyé

June 20-21

The UK’s largest free celebration of African and Caribbean music and culture takes place in Sefton Park each June.

The 2020 date has been revealed although the line-up is still to be announced, but expect some exciting talent.

Festival artistic director Paul Duhaney says: "In 2019 we focused on the amazing music from across the wider African diaspora, so this year we'll be looking at a more traditional Oyé line-up.

"Local artists will once again open the music offering each day via our Oyé Introduces programme, and we'll again be showcasing community acts, giving some Liverpool creatives the chance to share the stage with world music stars."

Africa Oyé was founded in 1992 and seeks to highlight the fantastic range of cultures, foods, music and artists that make the continent one of the most vibrant and inspiring in the world.

Liverpool Biennial

July 11 – October 25

Liverpool Biennial 2020 will be held in venues and unexpected places across the city – including the Fabric District - and will be curated by Manuel Moscoso and the Biennial’s new director Fatoş Üstek.

The 2020 event is titled The Stomach and the Port, and will look at the body and ways of connecting with the world.

More than 50 leading national and international artists are set to take part in what is the UK’s largest biennial of contemporary art, including Liverpool-born photographer Linder Sterling and American artist Judy Chicago.

Read more about Liverpool Biennial

More details from the website HERE


July 12

Colourful carnival celebrations hit the streets of Liverpool again this summer as Brazilica returns to the city centre.

The festival reaches a crescendo on July 12 when the annual Brazilica carnival parade takes place, with irresistible samba beats and plenty of Rio-style glitz and glamour.

The full festival schedule is yet to be revealed but previous years have included a film festival and music programme as well as the crowing of the carnival queen.

Photo by David Munn

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival

July 9-18

The UK’s leading Arab arts festival celebrates its 22nd anniversary in 2020.

Expect 10 days of the best of music, dance, drama, debate, films, talks and visual art from the Arab diaspora under a festival theme yet to be announced.

LAAF is a registered charity delivering arts and community programmes that bring diverse cultures together, increasing appreciation and awareness of Arab culture and arts at a local, national and international level.

More details from the website HERE



Liverpool International Music Festival is expected to return to its home in Sefton Park this summer for another weekend of top tunes from music stars and up-and-coming acts.

Thousands of festival goers are promised two days of the best in contemporary music, while the event also features future talent through the LIMF Academy.

More details from the website HERE

Photo by Mark McNulty

International Beatleweek

August 26-September 1

May Pang, Neil Innes, Earl Slick, Mark McGann, Mark Lewisohn and Hunter Davies are among the special guests due to appear at this Fab Four favourite festival which has been going for the best part of four decades.

The 2020 event will also mark the 50th anniversary of Let It Be, and the break-up of the band as The Beatles pursued their own musical projects – highlighted in a special Solo Years Concert.

The annual festival, which attracts thousands of fans from all over the world, also features the Sunday Beatles Convention at The Adelphi.

More details from the website HERE

Smithdown LitFest


Dates are yet to be confirmed, but the Smithdown Litfest is promising a fourth year of talks and readings by leading local and national literary figures.

Previous years have involved names like Vera and Shetland creator Ann Cleeves, actor John McArdle, stage and screen writer and author Jonathan Harvey, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool writer Peter Turner and Harry Potter illustrator Jonny Duddle.

Ian Skillicorn founded the festival in 2017, with events taking place in venues along the Smithdown Road corridor between Toxteth and Allerton.

Liverpool Irish Festival

October 15-25

Liverpool Irish Festival returns with 10 days of music, drama, talks, walks, films, food, drink and exhibitions.

The festival was founded in 2003 as an “appreciation and celebration of the unique links between Liverpool and Ireland” and to highlight the Irish contribution to the city’s heritage and culture over more than a century-and-a-half.

The 2020 programme is yet to be announced.


October 29-November 8

The UK’s longest-running annual festival of LGBT+ arts and culture returns for a 17th year.

The theme and programme is yet to be announced, but organisers strive to bring the best of LGBT+ culture to city audiences.

Homotopia was launched in 2004 with a grant from Liverpool City Council. The first pilot festival featured 16 events in four venues in Liverpool and was enjoyed by an audience of 2,500 people.

Since then Homotopia has achieved significant growth and development, welcoming some of the biggest names in LGBT+ arts to Liverpool including John Waters, Boy George, Maggi Hambling, Armistead Maupin, Sarah Waters and many more.

Photo top: Ines Doujak, Masterless Voices (film still) 20214.

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