News: Summer Streets Festival Unveils Lockdown Anthem | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Summer Streets, Sunderland’s annual not-for-profit music and arts festival, run by The Futureheads’ Ross Millard, was unable to take place at its usual spot at Cliffe park in Seaburn this year (goddamn you COVID-19). However, thanks to an Arts Council Emergency Fund grant it was able to take place virtually last week (Wednesday 15th – Friday 24th July) and was a huge success.

The festival was drawn to a close with a specially commissioned song by award-winning musician Bridie Jackson (Bridie Jackson and The Arbour) and Aukestra, a Birtley-based band made up of mostly autistic musicians. It’s called Togethern: Apart and is a song about the importance of connection and what has been keeping people and communities together.

Despite the challenges of a global pandemic and social distancing artists were all able to rise to the occasion as Bridie Jackson explains: “This project has been a challenge, but a completely delightful one. We all found creative ways of collaborating using technology, such as Zoom meetings, sending recordings back and forth and making videos to explain our ideas. The short film shows the one brief time we actually met. Despite the masks and the need for social distancing, there was such warmth and excitement in the room. 

“The way we worked and the piece we wrote together is something I know I will reflect on when we are (hopefully) looking back on this weird time. I think it shows a determination to stay connected and creative, whatever the circumstances.”

A special music video to accompany the song, made by filmmaker Jason Thompson, is available to view below and for those who missed the festival you can relive the performances here. 

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