This year, the festival season is starting a little earlier than usual. And with the sun starting to fight away the winter blues, what better time for it. Having said that, for the inaugural 6Music Festival, most of it will be indoors anyway (hosted at Manchester's Victoria Warehouse, the most recent home of Warehouse Project, this weekend) but whatever! With 30 artists and DJs spread out over 3 stages, and a bunch of other surprises thrown in, 6Music have put together a tidy little festival in the heart of Manchester for a ridiculously good price at that. If you were one of the lucky bunch who managed to bag a Friday or a Saturday ticket for this weekend before they sold out after, what seemed like, a billionth of a second, then here's who you should make the effort to see.


The National
The National are basically the quintessential 6Music band. Ask anyone who listens to 6Music if they like The National and you could probably place a safe bet on the answer being a resounding "yes". So it makes sense for the best dressed American rock band of the moment to headline the festival. Having released their sixth album, Trouble Will Find Me, last year, The National have had plenty of time to fine tune a really great live show. Anyone who saw them at their sell-out dates at London's Alexandra Palace (which was great not just because the whole room smelt of hog roast thanks to the food stand at the back) will know how good a show they can put on, so this should be yet another cracking show.


Lykke Li
The Swedish chanteuse has been absent from the UK live scene since 2011 when she toured her last album, the brilliant Wounded Rhymes. Since then, Lykke Li has sort of been floating around in her mysterious way; cropping up on a Fleetwood Mac tribute album with a cover of 'Silver Springs' and featuring on David Lynch's second album while also dabbling in acting and modelling. Now, with a new album on the way, she returns to the UK to bewitch us all once more in the way that only she can. Expect the usual enchanting tunes with hopefully a little taster of what's to come.


Kelis
Kelis has come a hell of a long way from her Neptunes produced debut album way back in 1998. She's forced boys all over the world to descend on her yard for milk-based drinks, sung about money with Andre 3000, and went all crazy fever dream in the video for the absolute club banger that is 'Acapella'. She's recently signed to Ninja Tune of all places, home of Bonobo, Machinedrum et al, and has already given us a flavour (pun intended, yes I'm ashamed of that) of her new album Food. It's a step back to her alternative side and her Friday set will whet the appetite for her, hopefully, brilliant return.


Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand are the band on the bill with probably the longest association with 6Music ever since they headlined the first ever Lamacq in the City gig in 2003, back before their Mercury Prize winning self-titled debut was even released. Since then, they had a bit of an inconsistent period where they hit a rough patch personally and musically but they came back with a bang last year with their fourth album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. For their Saturday night set, they're planning on doing something a little different. They've let the fans pick the first 6 songs for the night's setlist. Voting closed a while ago but they aren't revealing the results until the actual gig itself so who knows what obscure b-side (because, come on, it's the 6Music crowd; they love nothing more than a good b-side) will kick off proceedings. It'll be worth seeing just to witness the no doubt hodge podge setlist that will come as a result.


Silent Disco
I've always been a fan of silent discos as both an observer and a participant. Standing at the sidelines, it's always fun to hear people screaming along without a care in the world to songs that you can't hear and generally looking like a twat dancing along to what looks like the beat of your drum. Whack those headphones on, though, and you realise why people just decide to lose control, to the bafflement of anyone walking past who can't hear whatever you're hearing. The silent disco at the 6Music Festival is a bit of a belter too, with the likes of Kwes, Manchester's own Mr Scruff, Peter Hook, and Gilles Peterson taking to the decks to blast an eclectic mix of brilliant tunes directly into your ears. Definitely not the silent disco of chart hits and R&B classics that appear at almost every university's fresher's week.


There's plenty of other stuff going on over the course of the weekend too. With the likes of HAIM, Damon Albarn, Metronomy, The Horrors, James Blake, and Wild Beasts taking to the stage over the two day festival, and a special Fringe event featuring John Cooper Clarke, Adam Buxton, live interviews with some of the bands and karaoke, you're spoiled for choice really!

For more information on the festival, head here.