Damon Albarn to headline first BBC Radio 6 Music Festival in Manchester

The Blur frontman will unveil his debut solo album at the two-day event

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The Independent Culture

Damon Albarn will be the headline act at the first festival staged by BBC Radio 6 Music.

The Blur frontman will unveil his debut solo album at the two-day event, staged at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.

Thirty artists, including Jake Bugg, The National, Kelis and Haim, will perform across two stages at the event, which takes place on February 28 and March 1.

The festival, which includes DJ sets from Craig Charles and Don Letts, is designed to bring together bands and artists who “share the alternative spirit of the network”.

Tickets will cost £25 for the event, held in the UK’s “biggest nightclub”, with a capacity of 5,000 people.

A free “fringe festival” running alongside the same event, will include talks, a photographic exhibition and a record fair bringing together independent record shops from across the UK.

Live performances will be broadcast on 6 Music, streamed for desktop, tablet and mobile viewing and made available on the BBC Red Button.

Peter Salmon, Director BBC North, said, “The North West music scene is vibrant and eclectic, with Manchester and BBC Radio 6 Music at its heart. We are thrilled the network's inaugural festival with its imaginative programme is based here and shared with the nation.”

At £25, “great value for money given the multi-artist line up,” the BBC said, the ticket price could undercut commercial festival operators who will be competing to fill venues with the same headline acts on the BBC bill.

Critics may ask why the BBC is creating its own festival brand featuring many of the artists tipped to perform during the corporation’s extensive coverage of this Summer’s events such as Glastonbury and Reading/Leeds. Radio 1 already stages its own free Big Weekend event featuring major stars.

Tickets go on sale from Friday via bbc.co.uk/6music