Review : Manchester Turns Up For The Size ? Sessions Festival In Collaboration With Jordan and Mixtape Madness

Harvey Marwood

By Harvey Marwood

Harvey Marwood

24 Aug 2022

Last Saturday marked the very first Size? Sessions Festival in collaboration with Jordan and Mixtape Madness, and Manchester sure turned up for it. Having been announced a couple of months ago, it’s safe to say that this was one of the most highly anticipated events this summer, especially outside of London. With a top tier lineup including that of Nines, Knucks and AJ Tracey, as well as M1llionz, Clavish, Kwengface and many more on the Mixtape Madness Stage – this event was not one to be missed.

Hosted at the O2 Victoria Warehouse in Manchester, the 5000 capacity venue was home to three individual stages. People came down in their thousands to show support for an excellently curated lineup of the UK’s finest talent. Honing in particularly on the Mixtape Madness stage – a busy lineup started with exhilirating sets from Juice Menace, Tweeko and Friends, Kenny Allstar, Cristale, Arz and Jbee, all proving why they deserve to be there and at the top.

What stood out as being so refreshing at this event was how diverse the lineup was. With not only some of the biggest names in the industry, the dynamic of the event allowed some of the newcomers and rapidly growing artists from around the country to continue to throw their names out there. The set from Tweeko and Friends for example, saw the multitalented engineer, producer and DJ bring through some of the new wave of UK talent. Kairo Keyz, D1, Young LS, Rose as well as Js x Yd all came through to shell down the stage – charging up the crowd to an atmospheric frenzy.

Photo Credit : Akeal Iqbal

What made this event so special was the reciprocated energy from performer to the crowd – something that Kwengface and Clavish did amazingly. Even though I didn’t catch the whole sets, it’s clear that these two are born peformers – and as the Mixtape stage was smaller than the main, it was easier to feel connected with the audience. The excitement and anticipation of fans felt tangible; there was a collective sense of togetherness which is the best thing about intimate parts of venues such as this one.

Photo Credit : Oliver Buckle

The Main Stage hosted some incredible acts on the day including AJ Tracey, Backroad Gee, Mira May, but the two sets that stood out as my favourite were Knucks and Nines. What became so evident to me was the impression and rapid growth that Knucks has foreseen over the past year or so. Having been listening to him since the run up to NRG 105 which dropped in 2019, you sometimes have to take a step back to realise the achievements one’s made in their career. Back then, if a Knucks tune came on the aux, I’d have had a car full of people asking me who the song is by. Now, he is one of the finest talents the UK rap scene has to offer. A venue filled with thousands of people singing and vibing the ‘Los Pollos Hermanos’ and ‘Home’ at the first note of the tune was all you needed to experience to realise it. An incredible performer with a great stage presence, Knucks was the real deal.

Along with Knucks, Nines headed to the main stage and made his first live appearance since Wireless earlier on this summer. With a reputation for being one of the best and highly respected rappers in the scene, the room flooded with people who all collectively came together to sing ‘NIC’ and ‘I See You Shining’. Having grown up listening to Nines during a period where I was just falling in love with the UK rap scene, it was almost a true fanboy moment to see him live and back doing what he does best.

Photo Credit : Oliver Buckle

The Mixtape stage main headliner however was M1llionz, who delivered one of the most lively and energetic performances of the day. The Birmingham rapper unveiled himself from backstage to a crowd filled of glowing camera lights – coming out to the energetic and popular Y Pree. By staying true to his original sound whilst also demonstrating ability to be dynamic and versatile, M1llionz has showed the country and others that he is one of the best in the business – and this live performance only supported that.

Photo Credit : Oliver Buckle

Speaking about the event, our team of writers said :

“I can truly say Mixtape lived up to their name, the stage was a madness. Most definitely the most lively energetic room out of the event! Thanks to the outstanding lineup, that performed spectacularly. Considering this was the first Size? Festival, I’m excited to see how it will be topped? From the staff behind the scenes to the artists themselves and not forgetting the crowd, the event was amazing! I can’t wait to see what’s next to come from MM. Last weekend won’t be forgotten easily”. – Hollie May

“The festival was a fantastic event that showcased some of the top tier talent in our scene. It was great to see Nines back on stage doing what he does best, while the Mixtape Madness stage brought the energy as Clavish and M1llionz demonstrated that they are here to stay”. – Joe Simpson

“The thing that made this festival one to remember was the energy of the crowd. From backstage it looked like it was heaving and whether a DJ playing 50 Cent’s ‘Many Men’ or M1llionz’s set at the end, they were here for it. The artist highlights on the Mixtape Madness stage were Kenny Allstar who knew how to get the crowd going with his selection of tunes or M1llionz showing why he’s one of the biggest artists to blow up from Birmingham, bringing the energy and performance skills to the stage. A personal moment that stood out was two guys noticing my press pass and trying to impress me with their rapping abilities, which was quite surreal. But a solid line-up with a great crowd, what more could you ask for?” – Tom Atkinson

This event was truly one you couldn’t miss. Testament to the organisation and great roster of artists, this one is going to go down in the history books. Not only the lineup but the venue was so perfectly picked, allowing the audience to explore and digest new music, whilst not being restricted to one position in the crowd. Onto the next one…