Inaugural Nordoff and Robbins Northern Music Awards supported by Ticketmaster launches to celebrate breadth of musical talent across the region

Inaugural Nordoff and Robbins Northern Music Awards supported by Ticketmaster launches to celebrate breadth of musical talent across the region

Date published: 20/04/2023

The UK’s largest music therapy charity has announced the launch of its new Nordoff and Robbins Northern Music Awards supported by Ticketmaster, which will honour artists, festivals, venues and industry figures from across the North of England at a star-studded award show.

The legendary Spice Girl, Melanie C, is set to receive the Special Recognition award for her outstanding contribution to music, and will perform at the awards show, with many more acts to be announced. The performance-packed show will be the first event of its kind to celebrate the Northern music industry – taking place on Thursday 30 November 2023 at Factory International’s landmark new arts, music and culture space, which has its official opening in October.

Tickets go on sale soon and registration for pre-sale tickets is open now at Money raised will help to fund the opening of a new Nordoff and Robbins dedicated music therapy centre for Greater Manchester – based in Salford. 

Announced at a launch event on Thursday 20 April which included live performances from Antony Szmierek, Joash, The K’s and The Mysterines at iconic live music venue, Band on the Wall, the Nordoff and Robbins Northern Music Awards supported by Ticketmaster will be hosted by BBC Radio 6 Music presenter, Chris Hawkins, and will recognise and celebrate the breadth of musical talent across the North of England, from up-and-coming musicians to established and legendary artists. 

Award categories* range from Newcomer of the Year to Artist of the Year, Band of the Year, DJ of the Year, Maverick in Music, and the Northern Music Award. A diverse selection of shortlisted Northern artists will perform at the glittering event alongside Melanie C, who was born and raised in the North West. Category shortlists and further artists will be announced in the lead up to the show. 

Live music venues (small and large) and festivals will also be recognised, with their own individual award categories. A special Music and Culture for Wellbeing award will showcase outstanding and innovative creative arts provision in the North, that uses music and culture to support and connect with people that face health, wellbeing and socio-economic challenges. 

Supported in 2023 by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and City of Salford Mayor, Paul Dennett, the awards will move to a different city in the North each year to shine a light on music from across the region and underline the powerful impact of music on all members of our society.

Through these awards, Nordoff and Robbins is continuing its close partnerships with the UK music industry, developed since the creation of its annual Silver Clef music awards in 1976. The judging panel comprises industry heavyweights including Ticketmaster, SJM Concerts, GigPig, Music Venue Trust, Live Nation, BIMM Institute, Kendall Calling and Sound City Liverpool, as well as BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Chris Hawkins.

Nordoff and Robbins delivers music therapy to clients across the UK from bases in London, Croydon, Newcastle, Dunfermline and Glasgow, and its biggest service area is currently the North of England, with 45 music therapists and 118 partner organisations providing nearly 20,000 sessions of vital music therapy to more than 4,300 people in the region.
The new Greater Manchester centre based in Salford, will be a multi-disciplinary music making and therapy space, housing a high spec recording studio with interactive, accessible music technology throughout, serving the needs of individuals and diverse Northern communities.

Sandra Schembri, CEO, Nordoff and Robbins said: “We see music as a superpower, so we’re incredibly excited to launch the Nordoff and Robbins Northern Music Awards supported by Ticketmaster in Manchester and can’t wait to honour such a broad range of talent – from artists to venues, festivals and those who’ve really made a difference with music - the event is going to be unmissable. The support of the public, artists and the wider music industry is absolutely vital - all the money raised from ticket sales will enable Nordoff and Robbins to help more people in the North to access music therapy through a fantastic new centre. Music therapy is the act of supporting people to connect and communicate through music who otherwise are unable to; such as those living with autism to dementia, learning difficulties to brain injuries, life-limiting illnesses to mental health issues, grief and trauma. We believe that everyone who needs it should have access to music therapy, because it can, quite simply, transform people’s lives.”

Chris Hawkins, BBC Radio 6 Music presenter and Northern Music Awards host said: “The North provides such a rich source of incredible music. The diversity and international acclaim of this huge asset needs to be showcased, and that’s just what the Northern Music Awards can do. 

“Music and celebration go hand in hand, and we all know celebration is good for the soul. The Awards will shine a light on extraordinary talent; from Salford to Newcastle, Liverpool to Bradford, Manchester to Sheffield and everywhere in between, all whilst inspiring the next generation of artists. It’s about giving the music community in the North a chance to celebrate them too.”

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “I’m delighted to be helping to bring these inaugural awards to the North – and what better city to launch in than Manchester? Historically Northern music has always been a cut above, especially the music from working class communities.  There is a strong, talented and passionate musical heritage here that deserves to be celebrated. 
"I have seen for myself how Nordoff and Robbins’ trained music therapists are able to harness the power of music to evoke different responses in people - for many, this can give them a sense of calm or joy, and an ability to connect with others through musical melodies and lyrics. It is so important that funds raised from the Northern Music Awards will go towards providing essential music therapy to people, right here in the North, who need it most.”

Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett said: "We all know the power of music, whichever genre or period it may be, it has the ability to resonate and really mean something to all of us. The wide-ranging positive impacts of music therapy for those most isolated and vulnerable within the community have been well documented. So, I'm extremely glad to be working with Nordoff and Robbins so that our residents here in Salford and indeed right across Greater Manchester will have access to a music therapy facility and the many benefits its services will provide. The music therapy support we're looking to bring to Salford has the potential to truly change the lives of those who need it the most. As a city with a proud musical heritage, it is great to see how music is now being used in such an innovative way and I'm committed to help bring this approach to Salford."

Nordoff and Robbins is pleased to announce partners for the inaugural Northern Music Awards, including headline sponsor Ticketmaster, StreamGM – producing the live-streaming of the awards, Notion magazine – sponsoring the Maverick in Music Award category, and The Manc – sponsoring the Festival of the Year category. 

Find out more about music therapy at

*Full list of the 2023 Nordoff and Robbins Northern Music Awards supported by Ticketmaster categories:

Festival of the Year - Sponsored by The Manc    
Best Venue - Live music venue split into two categories: under 500/over 500
Newcomer of the Year    
Breakthrough Act of the Year
Music Moment of the Year    
Artist of the Year
Industry Icon 2023    
Band of the Year
Music and Culture for Wellbeing    
DJ of the Year
Maverick in Music Award - Sponsored by Notion magazine
Northern Music Award 2023
Special Recognition Award