Mathew Street FestivalAugust Bank Holiday – always a full-throttle kind of weekend around here. But if, like us, the parallel universe of Beatles tribute acts doesn’t rock your submarine, try the real world: it’s far more exciting out there…

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The Mathew Street Fringe Festival is definitely worth a shout. As a long-needed antidote to Chilean Beatles combos, ‘Crowded Scouse’ tribute acts, decent local and national acts will be doing their bit for real music in a handful of city centre venues: check out 33:45 Parr Street, Bad Format Social Club, The Bluecoat, Heebie Jeebies, Leaf, Mello Mello and Zanzibar – there’s hundreds of bands, playing Saturday, Sunday and Monday: for free, for your delectation. The more you support them, the better, more musical, and more essential this festival can become. We’d love it if Arcade Fire were on too, but Leeds has nabbed them. Wonder if Liverpool tribute band, Our Kid’s Fire, are playing anywhere in town? Or if they even exist?
Matthew Street Festival: August 29/30
Throughout the city

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Hardman Street’s The Magnet relaunches this Sunday, 29 August. And we’re a little bit intrigued as to its new direction: under the leadership of new owners Steve Smith and Paul Morgan (ex of BabyCream and Alma de Cuba).

Their new roster of talent, turns and themed nights features Leed’s VeryVeryWrongIndeed’s Tim Sheridan – who always promises the kind of wonky, dirty weird, warehousey and ravey stuff that brings a smile to your gurning chops. So that should be good.

Smith says he plans to update the musical direction but maintain the underground, retro vibe. And with that Funktion 1 Soundsystem still blasting the fishtanks we think he might just do it.
Magnet Re-Launch Party: August 29
Magnet, Hardman Street

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Technically, it’s sold out (but there are a few tickets for Sunday, last-minute rave heads), and is guaranteed to be a blinder. It always is. Highlights over the years? Scissor Sisters, Chemical Brothers, Tiësto,  Basement Jaxx… far too many to remember without going to find that important part of our brain somewhere, somewhere in a field in Speke (or Warrington). This year, it’s gotta be Deadmau5, Leftfield, PVD, Sven Vath, and Tiga. 98,000 people ‘like’ Creamfields, according to Facebook. Think dance music’s on its last legs? That’s a pretty persuasive argument to the contrary.

Creamfields: August 28/29
Daresbury Estate, Cheshire

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Cream teas more your thing? The Wirral Food and Drink Festival is what August Bank Holidays were made for, then. And even if you’ve larged it up in Daresbury, there’s no better way to recover than sitting atop a bale of hay, looking down on Wirral’s fields of gold, flagon of ale in one hand, a plate of lamb tagine pie in the other.

Wirral Food and Drink FestivalLook out for the Brimstage Beer and Cider Tent (try their Trapper’s Hat bitter), cakes from Flintshire’s Anne’s Patiserie, the German Bakery (that rare thing, a decent bakers in Liverpool), Orchard Pigs’ pork pies from Wales, smoked mackerel from Port of Lancaster, and Lunya’s excellent Iberico ham.
Wirral Food And Drink Festival: August 29/30
Claremont Farm, Bebington

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So, grab your produce, take it home, have a picnic and, instead of braving the crowds down Mathew Street, turn on Radio Merseyside, who are playing Mersey music from Atomic Kitten to the Zutons all weekend long, and a roll-call of guests, live OBs and, later, Dave Monks’ excellent The Pool (Sunday 8pm) is showcasing the best of the local bands.
Radio Merseyside, 95.8FM, DAB and online

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Now, we’ve already said a big ‘no’ to tribute bands, but somehow ‘Italy’s Number 1 female Police tribute band’ makes us almost tempted: not that we need any encouragement – to try Liverpool Acoustic Live, at the excellent View Two Gallery, this Friday. Miss Gradenko (named after a great track from their Synchronicity ablbum) are on with a host of excellent local singer-songwriters, from 7:30.
Liverpool Acoustic Live: August 27
View Two Gallery, Mathew Street

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FACT is staging ‘Splattered Stories and Urban Games’ an outdoors-only digital art event linking cities across Europe, from 27 August – 3 October: at sites throughout the city. We’ll have more on this, and an interview with FACT’s Patrick Fox in a bit. Stay tuned.
Wood Street, Liverpool

bluecoat craft fair

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On the last Saturday of every month LOACA.ART hosts a contemporary craft & art fair in the front courtyard and garden at the Bluecoat. Head here for glassware, prints, chocolate, jewellery, ceramics, textiles…excellent, handmade and unique.
Contemporary Art Fair: August 28
The Bluecoat, School Lane

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Leaf offer two events this weekend: The Vinyl Swap record fair on Saturday brings record collectors, sellers, and DJs together in the name of hidden rarities and a shared love of stuff that you simply can’t download. Then, on Sunday, it’s a Bank Holiday Retro Sunday Special: bringing you, basically, the same: only, instead of crackly old Fairport Convention LPs, think cracking old Mary Quant trouser suits and Harris Tweed jackets going for a song. On both days, the bar’s open for Leaf’s excellent teas, proper drinks, and tasty food. Long live leaf, we say.
Leaf Vinyl Swap and Retro Sunday: August 28/29
27 Parliament Street, Liverpool

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Last chance to see time… Picasso, Peace and Freedom finishes Monday 30 August. If you’ve not already visited, go. It’s great. Even we think so. But, while you’re there (or, even if you can’t afford to visit the exhibition) do visit the free video installation: I See A Woman Crying, by Rineke Dijkstra. It’s bloody brilliant.
Tate Liverpool: Until 30 August
Albert Dock, Liverpool

Images by Somedriftwood and Theaardvark

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