Yoko Ono, Skepta and Idris Elba lead line-up for Manchester International Festival 2019

"Peace is power".

Yoko Ono, Skepta and Idris Elba will lead the line up for next year’s Manchester international Festival.

The event will kick off next July with Ono’s Bells for Peace, which will see 8000 members of the public forming a bell orchestra in Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens.

“The beauty of this piece will break the sky and more”, Ono said of the event. “More than ever, we must come together to heal each other, and the world. Peace is power!”


The fortnight long festival will also see Skepta presenting Dystopia987, an immersive rave which he describes as “real-life magic”.


The performance will see the Mercury Prize winning rapper appearing alongside a selection of DJs for an experience that is billed as reflecting the future of rave culture.

According to festival director John McGrath, the performance is “somewhere between an immersive theatrical experience and a futuristic rave. The idea for Skepta is: what is the future of the space that has been called a rave over the years? Where might it be heading, and what kind of experience might that be?”

Elsewhere, Idris Elba’s 2014 album ‘Mi Mandela‘ will be transformed into a musical theatre production, after the actor and DJ joined forces with Kwame Kwei-Armah, the artistic director of London’s Young Vic theatre.  


Manchester international festival runs from 4-21 July 2019. Tickets go on sale from November 1 and you can buy them here.