FEATURE: Hartlepool Live | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Caoilfhionn Rose

Continuing the trend for multi-venue festivals in the region, Hartlepool Live makes its debut on Saturday 15th June, bringing a host of performers to the town’s burgeoning collection of venues and arts spaces. Supported by Hartlepool Borough Council, and spearheaded by Hartlepool musician James Leonard Hewitson, five venues will welcome performances across a range of genres and styles.

James explains his inspiration behind curating the festival. “I feel there has been an absence of a live music event in Hartlepool that showcases our local artists to the wider musical community and gives them the platform they deserve. Out of the 35 acts on the line-up, 23 feature someone from Hartlepool, so it’s a great feeling to be able to pull this kind of thing together and it’s a cultural collage that I’m very proud of – I’m not sure anyone even knew that there was this many bands from our town! It will be a fantastic day with plenty to do for everyone – I’m beyond excited!”

Live music kicks off from 1pm, with the supreme talents of atmospheric performers Spell Token at Town Hall Theatre, which also plays host to songwriter and regional favourite Elaine Palmer; Leeds-via-Hartlepool’s punky girl gang Venus; the increasingly vital sound of singer-songwriter Michael Gallagher; fun slacker pop from festival organiser himself, James Leonard Hewitson; experimental folk-electro fusion from Caoilfhionn Rose; The Jar Family’s Max Bianco returns with his band The BlueHearts; Hartlepool lads done good Para Alta return to home soil before headliner Paul Smith, Maximo Park’s frontman and songwriter par excellence, brings his affecting and lyrical pop to close the stage. If you can’t bear to go home, a Reverend & The Makers DJ set will keep you on your toes into the night.

The excellently named Hops & Cheese venue features sets from songwriter Danny Devon; newcomers Methodical Beast, who are quietly making a name for themselves as ones to watch in the region; ‘Boro punks Pellethead; the gorgeous indie pop of Mt. Misery; plus The Mighty Chihuahua and Palace Watson. At Chilli Cake, performers include the experimental sounds of Leeds’ Meltwater; Newcastle rapper Sagaboi; husband and wife duo Detweiler; Tees garage rockers Onlooker and songwriter Madeleine Smith.

The ConTemporary hosts a cracking line-up featuring some real local favourites including Sad For Life Records’ post-grungers Heel Turn; disco punk kings Be Quiet. Shout Loud!; electroacoustic soundscaper Late Girl; eccentric art rockers Shy-Talk; alt. rock trio Swine Tax and noisy lo-fi pop duo Mouses, who take on headline duties. At The Studio, Hartlepool quartets The Warrens and Marketplace kick proceedings off, followed by ‘sad dance’ pioneer Straight Girl; indie rockers Leopard Rays; prog-electro connoisseurs Lost State of Dance; the beautiful arrangements of Shamu and indie band Plaza, with Wrexham’s experimental electronica band Gallops on headline duties before DJ collective Late Night Drum Club see the night off in style until the early hours.

An industry seminar will take place at The Studio in the morning, with panellists on hand to discuss the trials, tribulations and successes of life in the music biz. Panellists include CEO of Distiller Records John Thompson, Frankie & The Heartstrings’ frontman Frankie Francis, Crosstown Concerts promoter Sally Rafferty, venue manager Susan French, staging and crew production manager Jamie-Leigh Hunter, live music security specialist Shed Coulthard, live music programming specialist Ben Yeowart and director of EventCover Education Peter Hardy.

Image: Gallops

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