PREVIEW: Louder Than Words festival, Manchester, 14 - 16 November 2014

PREVIEW: Louder Than Words festival, Manchester, 14 – 16 November 2014

With the winter indoor festival season gathering pace, Manchester’s Louder Than Words literary gathering returns to the rainy city with a promise of music-themed Q&As, workshops, book signings as well as live performances and DJ sessions.
It is the only festival that celebrates the special relationship between music and the written word; and with this year’s event a third bigger than the inaugural 2013 party, the line up offers not only an eye-popping array of big name artists ‘in conversation’ but also a colourful pick’n’mix of discussion panels around subjects as diverse as goth subculture and The Beatles, Manchester lyrics, Bob Marley, record shops and ’the Golden age of music journalism’.
The 3-day literature and music jamboree kicks off this Friday, 14 November. The centrepiece of the first evening are ‘in conversation’ interviews with a 6 Music DJ Mary-Ann Hobbes and the legendary Mancunian Charlatan Tim Burgess. There will also be a live acoustic set from the bluesman Tom Attah and a Late Night Music Quiz hosted by one of the festival organisers, Manchester music scene icon John Robb.
Saturday morning dives straight into the deep end with an panel of academics debating ‘popular music, club culture and ‘deviant’ youth lifestyles’. The next slice of action comes in the form of workshop lectures from the festival partner, The Quietus. It feels odd and somewhat limiting to refer to The Quietus as a tastemaker publication. Yet, this culture and music webzine has not only seen a dramatic rise in its fortunes over the past 18 months, it has become virtually synonymous with intelligent erudite culture journalism and defiantly unrepentant attitude to music coverage. And as it seems to be acquiring a deeper political edge, The Quietus’ alliance with a festival curated by veteran music maverick John Robb seems to confirm its reputation as a cauldron of ideas and locus of music discovery. As well as Saturday morning lectures dedicated to the art of music writing and interviewing, The Quietus editor John Doran will be reading from his new book, Jolly Lad, followed by a Q&A with his co-pilot Luke Turner. Being the main festival day, Saturday also sees Q&A events with Slits guitarist and writer Viv Albertine, John Bramwell from I am Kloot and Kevin Cummins, whose latest book is the ultimate photo portrait of Manic Street Preachers.
Marcus O’Dair, whose authorised biography of Robert Wyatt was published last month, is a Sunday morning Louder than Words guest talking about the book, playing key tunes from across Robert’s career and showing many previously unseen photos from Robert’s personal archive. Sunday afternoon is the time for another contribution from The Quietus team, who will be showcasing their Leisure Films series introducing the non-music hobbies and pastimes of their favourite artists. A must if you want to find out what CrassSteve Ignorant would have done had he found Margaret Thatcher drowning, Joy Division’s Stephen Morris views about a festival where ‘policemen like to dress as Nazis’ and Tim Burgess’ coffee recommendations. Other Sunday highlights include ‘a literary and literal celebration of the legendary Fall’, a stage interview about Frank Sidebottom and a celebratory exploration of Greater Manchester’s song lyrics featuring Elbow’s Guy Garvey and Everything Everything’s Jon Higgs.
And as if this music VIP roster wasn’t sufficiently impressive, Wilko Johnson, the legendary guitarist from Dr Feelgood returns to the festival to present an award to this year’s young winner of the music writing prize named in his honour. Last year Wilko was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given months to live, but this year he returns having been given the all-clear from cancer. Good things can happen to good people!
If you love music, and the way people writIe about music, Louder Than Words provides a unique opportunity to spend time with key voices, such as Will Hodgkinson, Michael Spencer, Nina Antonia, Peter Berbergal, Lloyd Bradley, Rosie Wilby and Paul du Noyer.
Whether your interest is Bob Marley or house music; Stevie Nicks or calypso, there is sure to be something of interest, with an ace line-up populated by some of the best names in music, and music writing.

Click here to buy weekend passes, day passes, or event tickets.

Full festival programme can be found here.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.