A city which has been built on foundations of music, from the halcyon nights of the Hacienda to the working class anthems of Oasis, Manchester really has got it all to answer for.
The tragic events a week prior shook those very foundations to the core, but in true Mancunian defiance a city came together more so than ever. In doing so, this Dot to Dot festival took on a whole new level of importance, more than a showcase of the finest new bands, now a celebration of solidarity, of everything that makes such a wonderful city just so wonderful.
That very defiance was unavoidable, walking through the streets of the Northern Quarter to the soundtrack of impromptu chants of “Manchester na na na” from early afternoon right through to the small hours of the morning. There was no fear to be seen or heard, just welcoming, enthusiastic, sarcastic and unrivaled Manc charm.
Of course, there was once again an abundance of talent on show, reinforcing the boring sentiment that “real guitar music is dead” is not only a completely untrue opinion but one that genuinely is saddening when these are the sort of bands that are playing the unsigned nights and tiny venues across the UK. Only many publications in the position to give them such credit are too close-minded or simply too lazy to make the effort to get out and see them.
Bands like Ist Ist, who filled 'Dive' effortlessly with their dark, Joy Division inspired bass riffs to a rousing response. Or to Puppet Rebellion who have been playing Manchester and sounding absolutely massive for years now, seemingly getting better and better with each show.
A huge high point in the day came courtesy of Slow Readers Club, fittingly set in The Albert Hall, a venue of which anyone would be hard-pressed to find one with as much character. With such an atmospheric and dramatic sound with a venue to match, everything came together for the lads to give a set which felt genuinely special.
Following a spate of guitar-driven bands coming from the North West, Kashmere have been tipped to be the next to follow the likes of Blossoms in being a huge deal. Their set at Cooper Hall reinforced this, making a huge, fantastic racket.
Rivet City, another immense local talent topped the bill at Cooper Hall. A band who with funk heavy riffs and clever wordlplay also stand out in such a rich music scene. Wherever they play they crack the tough task of getting a city centred around being so cool, up and dancing and their headline slot was no different.
A wave of new venues over the past year supporting new music shows Manchester has no signs of slowing the nurturing of up and coming artists, the likes of Jimmys and Cooper Hall who weren't even here this time last year being key venues for the day. Despite a lot of the headlines about the demise of decent music, it's as healthy as it ever has been.
This was a festival that Manchester not only wanted, but probably needed. Dot to Dot more than delivered and so did the people. The video of thousands arm an arm belting out 'Don't Look Back In Anger' during Sundara Karma's sums up the impact music has on the city and just how important it is, even in the darkest times.