Friday, 5 February 2010

Bag Thing

If you were to ask 100 people of a musical leaning what they think Manchester is missing (à la Family Fortunes), then somewhere in the answers is likely to be comprehensive and homogeneous listings regularly distributed around the city. For a short while Shipping Forecast made waves but they’ve since discontinued, and elsewhere there are only venue or scene-specific listings (Northernights springs to mind), so the void remains.

The creators of Bag Thing are hoping to fill that void. Their modus operandi is to build up a distribution network that includes all gigs, big or small, and hand out the flyers in a brown paper bag outside relevant gigs across Manchester.

Outside of the bag they have a website, featuring daily listings, cartoons and competitions with prizes of free gig tickets (for those signed up to the newsletter). In addition, there’s a hugely helpful playlist, which puts a sound to the names you may see on the flyers but never get around to listening to. Or, worse still, by the time you’ve got around to listening to them their Manchester gig has long since passed, and their next tour has already sold out. I digress, but you know the scenario!

Bag Thing have already promoted events at Deaf Institute, URBIS, Manchester Cathedral, Dulcimer, Manchester Camerata, RNCM, Night&Day Cafe, Nexus Art Cafe and more, but encourage anyone and everyone to get in touch with their events to help bring Manchester’s musical (and some generally cultural) offerings as a whole to a wider audience.

Words: Ian Pennington


  1. The listings idea is a good one, but personally I think they should concentrate more of their efforts on setting up a decent and comprehensive listings website, and less on the distribution of little bags outside gigs. Why bother to print loads of crappy little flyers for people to throw in the bin? Is there money in it or what, I can't think of any other good reason?

  2. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the comment. We do concentrate heavily on our website in order to make it the most comprehensive listings website available on Manchester events. Please have a look - - and get back to us with any suggestions.

    We still give out the bags after gigs & in racks around town because even though we are moving ever closer to a completely digital age, promoters still like to hand people flyers for their gigs. After all, not everyone spends a lot of time online. And hopefully not everyone throws them in the bin! :-)