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Gossip to headline BBC Radio 6 fest in iconic queer line-up with CMAT

This year’s BBC Radio 6 festival line-up is looking queer AF. Cracking open International Women’s Day with their first UK show in four years, indie-rock band Gossip, headed up by Beth Ditto, is set to headline BBC Radio 6 festival on 8th March 2024, alongside fellow queer country-pop queen CMAT and with a DJ set and highlight reel from writer, performer and presenter Amy Lamé. All of the aforementioned are LGBTQ by the way, making the Friday line-up set to be a day of queer magic. 

Gossip are set to headline the festival with Young Fathers and The Smile. Taking to the stage at O2 Victoria Warehouse on Friday’s line-up will be Gossip, CMAT and the multi-hyphenate DJ AFRODEUTSCHE, also known as Henrietta Smith-Rolla, Manchester-based, British-born Ghanaian-Russian-German composer, and acclaimed producer and DJ. Presenter Amy Lamé will be joining other 6 Music Presenters in broadcasting live from MediaCityUK, including Nathan Shepherd, Lolly Adefope, Lily Fontaine of English Teacher. 

Lauren Laverne kicked off her Thursday morning radio show this week breaking the news of this eclectic line-up on air. For its second consecutive year in Greater Manchester, the station’s flagship event consists of world-exclusive performances, music debuts, unique collabs and surprise guests spread from day to night over four days, from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th March. 

Since it began in 2014, BBC Radio 6’s festival has taken place all over the UK, including in Manchester, Tyneside, Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, Camden (London) and Cardiff. It has showcased stellar performances from artists including Anna Calvi, Bombay Bicycle Club, Depeche Mode, Ezra Collective, Goldfrapp, Hot Chip, Johnny Marr, Kae Tempest, Khruangbin, Little Simz, Pixies, Primal Scream, Róisín Murphy, Self Esteem, Wet Leg and many more.

We headed up to last year’s festival, which featured performances from Loyle Carner, joined by the AMC Gospel Choir, Christine and the Queens and Arlo Parks, with the world-exclusive performance of her latest music and guest appearances from Romy and Tom Coll of Fontaines D.C. 

Gossip returns to the stage after four years

Having formed in 1999 in Washington (while three original band members hailed from Arkansas), Gossip rose to fame with the insatiable hit ‘Standing in The Way of Control’ and the album of the same name released in 2006. Three years later, they followed up with Music for Men. The band play a mix of indie rock, and dance-rock. Now they return in 2024 with their forthcoming album Real Power, set for release in March, 12 years since their previous album, A Joyful Noise, was released in 2012. Having split in 2016 but reunited in 2019 for a reunion tour, it will be the first time in four years for Gossip to take to the stage, giving 6 Music the global premiere of unreleased material as well as celebrating International Women’s Day. 

“We’re so excited – Manchester is going to be the first to hear our new record live! Such a special crowd, we’ve missed you so much and can’t wait to be back!” said Gossip, having recently announced their reunion with new single, ‘Crazy Again’. 

CMAT is here to stay

Backing Gossip in the bill is CMAT; Dublin’s Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson, whose infectious Americana-infused country-pop took 2022 and 2023 by storm. Having built momentum with new music released in 2020, her debut studio album, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, was released in February 2022. Featuring bangers such as ‘I wanna be a cowboy, baby!’, it entered the Irish Albums Chart at number one. The album garnered excellent critical response, and in October 2023 her album Crazymad, for Me, proved that CMAT is here to stay. 

“My performance at the 6 Music Festival will be the best show you’ll see in your whole entire life!” CMAT attests. “Expect camp, gay people, energy, country music as well as mediocre guitar playing from me and very good guitar playing from other people,” she says, as if we needed any more encouragement to cop tix. 

“When I was making my first album and listening to 6 Music most days, Iggy Pop played one of my songs on his show,” she said. “I heard it from the other room and ran in to hear Iggy Pop’s mouth forming my name – it was a crazy day for the parish.”

Highlights from Amy Lamé

Where to begin with what Amy does? From serving as Mayoress of London Borough of Camden in 2010-11 to London’s first Night Czar since 2016 as a key collaborator in culture and creativity, Amy has been busy platforming the history and culture of live music and nightlife, with a focus on safeguarding venues. She also co-founded one of London’s most iconic club nights, Duckie, which she hosted for over 25 years at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), London’s iconic queer venue. She has also authored her debut novel, from Prjudice to Pride: A History of the LGBTQ+ Movement, which is the first LGBTQ+ history book for children published in 2017. Among so many other things, she is a presenter, writer and performer with many accolades. 

On Friday 8th, Amy will be performing a DJ set at Band on the Wall as part of the 6 Music’s Indie Forever club night. Following this, she will be presenting a special programme on Sunday 10th from 6-8pm celebrating 10 years of the festival’s highlights.

Who else can we expect? 

Thursday 7th March will see the Mercury Prize shortlisted Young Fathers bringing their latest LP ‘Heavy Heavy’ and performing a unique collaboration with the Hulme and Moss Side-based NIA community choir, supported by Hak Baker and SHERELLE (DJ set). 

On the Saturday, prepare for The Smile and the London Contemporary Orchestra with a world-exclusive performance and the first time the Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner project have performed with an orchestra. The Smile will be supported by Jordan Rakei and Mary Anne Hobbs + Anna Phoebe (a unique hybrid performance featuring a DJ set from Mary Anne and Anna playing live violin and viola)

What else is in store? 

Further shows include a BBC Music Introducing night at Band on the Wall and New Music Fix Live at YES, the first time the 6 Music Festival has visited the venue. Club nights will include Indie Forever at Band on the Wall and Rave Forever at Archive, Depot Mayfield Manchester in partnership with the Warehouse Project. There will also be Morning After Mix Live events on the Saturday and Sunday at RAMONA: Jamz Supernova will broadcast her 6 Music show from the venue on Saturday 9th March (1pm-4pm), which will feature a live DJ set from Children of Zeus, and Cerys Matthews will present from RAMONA on Sunday 10th March (10am-1pm), with a live DJ set from Femi Koleoso of Ezra Collective.

Other events around the city that weekend will involve Space Afrika, 96 Back, Daphni, Mary Anne Hobbs, I. JORDAN, Femi Koleoso (Ezra Collective), LCY, Mica Levi, Rainy Miller, Not Bad For A Girl, DJ Paulette, Emily Pilbeam, salute, DJ Seinfeld, Nathan Shepherd, Iceboy Violet, Yyre and Children of Zeus.

Where can I tune in?

Highlights from the festival will be broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio Manchester from MediaCityUK in Salford, as well as on BBC Sounds, BBC Four, BBC iPlayer and BBC Music’s YouTube channel.

Tickets for each separate event were made available at 10am on Thursday 18th January via

Love Team Nonchalant xx

Lauren Hurrell
Lauren Hurrell

Lauren is a writer and editor based in Peckham, covering all things queer culture, books, travel, arts and lifestyle, fashion and creativity. She is also a features editor at New Statesman Media Group, writing on sustainability, cities and tech. She most recently had a chapter on Reykjavik published in an LGBTQ+ travel book published by Rough Guides.

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