Skepta at MIF: A glimpse of the future of gigs?

Grime star Skepta’s contribution to the Manchester International Festival was part gig, part immersive theatre, and offered hints of how technology may change our experience of live events

The build up to Skepta’s gig at the Manchester International Festival was shrouded in secrecy, of the fun kind. Titled Dystopia987, audiences were told little of what to expect, beyond the event being described intriguingly as a “waking dream” on the MIF site, and the invite instructing that we should come dressed for a rave. Even the venue remained hidden to attendees – instead they were told to congregate at a meeting point, from which they were walked to the site.

The setting turned out to be the Mayfield, an old railway depot currently undergoing a huge redevelopment. In its somewhat bleak current state though, it was the perfect venue for both a warehouse rave and to showcase Skepta’s attempt to tackle the dystopian times we are living in, while offering us a bit of hope for the future.