Manchester Academy information

The Manchester Academy is one of the city's most vital live music spaces. It includes the stand-alone building of Academy 1, on Oxford Road, as well as Academy 2, 3 and Club Academy, which are situated in the Students' Union building.

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Manchester Academy reviews

By Serena A.

Great student atmosphere (probably not so good if you're not a student!) although it did make me feel a bit like a geriatric!!

By Zara S.

Totally agree with above review! I am in a wheelchair and despite asking if it was safe for me prior to gig and then sitting to far side of stage to avoid crowd, I and my young daughter we close to being crushed and were stuck unable to get out of the crush which happened because of band leaning into crowd to touch hands and take gifts etc. It was the most terrifying night of our lives, staff were not stopping the pushing and shoving or helping us who were getting crushed. Several girls were carried out after passing out with the heat yet it was not a full capacity gig......wont be returning even though band were great!

By Tim O.

I've been to the Academy now on numerous occasions and ive never been let down! I've seen Rock gigs in all 3 venues (1, 2 & 3) & each time I've come away feeling like ive had 1 of the best nights of my life. I especially like the academy 2 & 3 as they are small & intimate, your close to the stage, the sound quality is awesome and you really feel part of the gig. The guys are always friendly, I've had long talks with the sound & lighting dudes who were more than happy to chat about there experiences, & though the bar is pricey its what you expect to pay at a live music venue. Much perfer it to the Arena. The atmosphere here is amazing.

By A M.

I suppose the venue itself isn't too bad, but the people are just unbearable. We queued outside for 8 hours for a concert, and were very irritated when around 30 people pushed to the very front just two hours before the gig. During the gig itself, there was so much pushing and shoving I was crushed and struggled to breathe, all because the idiot hooligans wanted to get closer to the stage. I was even punched several times by a guy who got separated from his girlfriend and chose to take it out on the nearest person. It is very irritating when you wait tediously in the rain for eight hours, only to be shoved back several rows and almost crushed to an early grave. The staff were also a joke. When the doors opened they screamed "stop running" down my ear several times, even though I was doing nothing of the sort. They are horrid, vile people. I did enjoy the gig, but solely because the band were good, not because of the venue.

By Samantha B.

Anybody who is even remotely interested in music will have reason to visit the Manchester Academy. Some of the best acts from all over the world play here.

The Venue
Set in the Manchester University Students’ Union, and the adjacent building, Manchester Academy has four gig areas. Academy 1 is the large, separate purpose-built, some would say shed-like, area, which annually plays host to the Freshers’ Fair mayhem, but all-year-round offers some of the best bands and performers known to man (and some duff ones too). Academy 2 on the second floor of the Student Union is a sizeable space, if not slightly reminiscent of a church hall. Academy 3 is smaller still and is situated on the third floor, while Club Academy, in the basement, is a small yet perfectly formed area for more dance floor orientated action.

Inside, each area is uniformly dark, with no real decorative leanings, apart from luminous lighting, a stage area and service points for booze.

The People
The crowd that are in attendance depends on what band or act is on. Being a student union expect a large proportion of students, but the diversity of events means that it can draw in anyone. Even Mancs, who can’t stand the sight of students, will have to endure overhearing chit-chat about legends, student loans and how ghetto Fallowfield is to see their favourite band. Priceless. The gigs generally attract like-minded music souls, so expect a friendly vibe and lively atmosphere.

The bouncers and door staff are always thorough with bag checks, but will have a bit of good natured banter with most people on the way in or out. The bar staff are friendly and quick to serve. The only downside is that queues can be obscene, especially during the intervals.

The Music
A wide spectrum of musical tastes is catered for here – hip-hop, indie, metal, reggae, dance, amongst others - and ticket prices are reasonable. Expect to pay a few extra quid for a gig in Academy One (current ticket prices range from £12 to £32 depending on the event). In the other spaces prices are between £5 and £15 on average.

To give you an idea of the selection on offer: Ladytron, The Whip, De La Soul, Obie Trice and Amy Winehouse have all played here. They also have regular unsigned nights showcasing Manchester’s up and coming talent. Check out the listings and you’re sure to find at least a couple gigs worth clearing your schedule for.

The Drink
Nothing spectacular pours from the pumps across these venues. Not that you’d expect a rare Flemish beer to be present, it might be nice, but highly unlikely. You can get Carlsberg or Fosters for £2.65 a pint, Kronenbourg at £3.10 and John Smiths for £2.55 a pint. The student favourite, Strongbow is £2.65 and don’t be surprised to see the little pot-noodle eating academics turning it into a Snakebite. No, surprisingly, they didn’t become extinct in the 80s. Probably your best option is to go for tins of Red Stripe at £3.20. The most popular spirits are Jack, it’ll put hairs on your chest, Daniels (£2.20, double measure for an extra £1) and Smirnoff red (£1.95).

The Last Word
Over its various different spaces, The Academy caters for everything from big name bands to up and coming talent. If you’re into music you’ll see your favourite artists here.