UK's biggest music-literary festival, Louder Than Words, returns for its 11th year

Glen Matlock is among the guests at Louder Than Words festival. Picture: Tina Korhonen
Glen Matlock is among the guests at Louder Than Words festival. Picture: Tina Korhonen

The Louder Than Words Festival of music and writing grows louder each year. Now in its 11th edition, this remains the only festival that truly interrogates that enduring love affair between music and the written word.

The Louder Than Words team, led by Jill Adam and John Robb, are delighted to announce this year’s festival programme, all taking place at the Innside Hotel on Tony Wilson Place, Manchester – appropriately located in the shadow of what was Manchester’s Haçienda nightclub.

The festival kicks off on Friday November 10 with a typically elastic, eclectic collection of events, from Daryl Easlea and Don Powell talking all things Slade, Trevor Horn and John Robb talking ABC to ZTT, and Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman in conversation.

Paline Murray of punk band Penetration will talk about her new book.
Paline Murray of punk band Penetration will talk about her new book.

A skanking DJ set courtesy of Daniel Rachel will close the evening, following his discussion of the 2-Tone story with Horace Panter of The Specials.

Saturday sees Ian Broudie discussing his book Tomorrow’s Here Today; Derek Forbes, of Simple Minds fame, in conversation with bass riff treats, Jacqui Wicks with a live Blues performance embracing the Sadness Paradox and Eddie Piller talking about his life as a Mod – from the Revival to Acid Jazz.

As for musical genres, is it possible to get a more varied selection than one that runs from Throbbing Gristle to Napalm Death; from Buzzcocks to arranger John Philip Shenale; and from Fanzine founder Tom Vague to Eddie Cochran via rave and club culture?

And Sunday rounds things off in the same spirit, with panels discussing subjects as varied as gender representation in the music industries, the history of Goth, music journalism and music writing, Pulp, Pop and an A-Z of The Cure. Louder Than Words Fest brings renowned authors on all these subjects including John Robb, Lisa Torem, Nick Banks, Simon Price, Michael Cragg and Tommy Sissons.

If that wasn’t enough, Louder’s Sunday – and the weekend Festival as a whole – is drawn to a close by Sex Pistols and Rich Kids legend Glenn Matlock in conversation.

And that is merely to scratch the surface, as elsewhere numerous academics and music writers gather for panels, discussions, Q&As, workshops and… dancing, skanking and more!

Jill Adam said: “As well as hearing their stories, the festival also offers a unique chance to get up close to people often only seen on the stage; in the much more social, conducive atmosphere of The Innside Hotel. We have sole use of the three fully accessible adjoining function rooms of the hotel over the entire weekend, giving visitors the best experience of comfortably moving between events.

“With all three rooms operating throughout the weekend, there is obviously plenty to choose from and we will also have a dedicated book shop via our partners Blackwells, Manchester, book signings and, of course, socialising in the hotel bar and social spaces before and after the events.

“We work in partnership with a number of local, regional and national organisations including Omnibus Press, The Blacka Group, P-C Press, Manchester Digital Music Archive, Nine Eight Books and Melia Hotels.”

Since its first incarnation in 2013, audience and contributor numbers have more than doubled at Louder, which in turn has only increased the variety of talks, panels and workshops programmed over the weekend.

Over those years the festival has welcomed music characters such as Rick Buckler (The Jam), Guy Garvey (Elbow), Edwyn Collins, Viv Albertine, Mary Anne Hobbs, Woody Woodmansey (The Spiders From Mars), Wolfgang Flur (Kraftwerk), Brix Smith (The Fall), Tim Burgess (The Charlatans), Miles Hunt (The Wonderstuff), Bob Geldof, Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers) and Alan McGee (Creation Records).

Attendees come from as far as San Francisco and Moscow to engage in a weekend that includes panels, Q&As hosted by Louder’s John Robb, amongst others, and some very special performances from all four corners of the musical world: from rave to metal; ska to punk.

As well as looking back with some of the most significant music personalities of past decades, Louder Than Words also celebrates future voices, with a continuing focus on the role of education in music and music journalism, involving students as volunteers and panellists; arranging workshops on everything from writing and getting published, making music, voices in music and music law.

The Wilko Johnson Writing Award makes a welcome return – this year presented in partnership with Northern Gravy and the University of Huddersfield – celebrating young music writers under 25, and there’s always much to be enjoyed on the Festival fringe.

Jill Adam added: “Expect music… expect conversation… expect laughter… expect things to get loud.”

Louder Than Words runs at the Innside Hotel, Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, from Friday November 10 to Sunday November 12. For details visit: