First published by The Independent, 19th October 2015

Much like Dot to Dot before it, A Carefully Planned shows that Manchester’s Northern Quarter is the ideal location for urban festivals. With 150 bands scattered across multiple indie venues, the two days of breakout artists felt organic and celebratory, and provided an opportunity for attendees to a take a chance on previously unheard acts.

Several Manchester bands gave standout performances, including the urgent, affecting Goda Tungl, with their haunted frontman bringing to mind a contemporary Ian Curtis, and sunny surf pop three piece Blooms, their atmospheric, shoegaze sound drawing one of the larger crowds for an early-evening set. With an EP in the works, Blooms are definitely one to watch for fans of Surfer Blood and fellow Mancunians Horsebeach.

Some of the strongest performances of the festival came from women rocking out, with London three piece The Tuts headlining Gullivers on Saturday night and whipping up the crowd with a high energy, ska/punk influenced set. On Sunday, Liverpool-based band The Orielles gave an impressive performance at Texture, their female drummer and bassist contributing to the tightness of their set as much as the male guitarist. They might be only just eighteen, but The Orielles demonstrated technical skill and an ability to write catchy garage rock tracks that put many older artists to shame.

A Carefully Planned festival is in its fifth year now, but shows no signs of unwanted commercialism or creative stagnation. Long live the urban festival in Manchester

Posted by:harrietpwilliamson