Manchester has always been a place where technology, innovation and radical thought have shaped industry, politics, music and culture.

Artists and innovators see the power of technology as the ultimate enabler of new music, art, and design, it gives emerging talent the means to both produce and distribute experimental music.

This is the core value of new festival Distractions, which is a brand new three-day summit in Manchester that debates the future of entertainment, featuring talks, panels, content and a new music showcases with some of the world’s leading tech companies, artists and producers. Created by a serious team of heavy weights including FutureEverything, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Manchester International Festival, Modern Designers, Rose Marley Management, Peter Saville, Liverpool’s Sound City and the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham who had this to say about the festival;

‘Distractions is everything Greater Manchester is about – innovative, forward thinking and radical. We have a pioneering digital, technological and music history. Whether that’s building the first computer, the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the Spinning Jenny, or the home of Factory Records; our progressive past should be seen as a great foundation for the future.

Distractions is all about showcasing the future of Greater Manchester and asking the moral and ethical questions about how technology is both a fantastic opportunity, but also a distraction from reality in an increasingly troubled world.”

The unique format of the three day conference is that a different festival take the lead each day.

18 July: FutureEverything

FutureEverything will kick start this three-day summit by bringing artists, makers and industry together with the people of Greater Manchester to connect their ideas for the future. Through the demonstration of innovation, collaboration and debate, the aim it to showcase Greater Manchester as a pioneering, global testbed in digital leadership.

Including a program of inspiring discussions, creative thinking and hands-on prototyping alongside future leaders and creative practitioners working across art, digital culture and technology.

The day will end with a showcase of prototypes created during a rapid prototyping event run in parallel with this symposium, followed by a short creative summary of the day’s activities. Attendees can then join producers as they visit a new artwork, ‘Invisible Faith’ by artist Jiayu Liu, commissioned by OPPO, a leading global smart device brand.

19 July: Sound City Manchester

Bringing their expertise in music festival and conference delivery, Sound City have joined forces with Distractions to create a new, music and tech focused conference.

Tech is driving the future of entertainment. AR, VR, MR, 3D immersive, facial recognition in stadiums, ticketing and social media, global entertainment is bigger and more innovative than ever. The new talent of the future is as likely to be a digital designer as much as a DJ or performer. It all raises questions and invites opportunity. These topics and more will be debated with some of the world’s leading tech companies and artist managers through panels, in conversation sessions and a key-note speaker.

Alongside the conference will run a diverse and exciting music program at Festival Square in collaboration with MIF, curated by an independent A&R panel made up of some of Manchester’s most influential in the music industry.

20 JULY: Manchester International Festival

Taking inspiration from key commissions and events at this year’s Manchester International Festival (MIF19, 4-21 July) talks will feature world-class artists and futurists visualising new worlds and the thinkers tackling the big ideas. Featuring demos alongside debate, this event forms part of Interdependence, MIF19’s ideas programme. Contributors include, games director and animator Paloma Dawkins; Claire L Evans, writer, musician and the author of Broad Band: The Untold History of the Women Who Made the Internet; pioneering computer scientist  Dame Wendy Hall; Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, artist and creator of Atmospheric Memory; media artist Refik Anadol; experience design studio Marshmallow Laser Feast; Ash Sarkar, Senior Editor at Novara Media; and TEM, creative studio for Skepta’s DYSTOPIA987, which has its world premiere at MIF19.

For further information about Distractions visit here