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

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Image: Charmpit

In just two years, Mousetival has established itself among the North East’s premier DIY gatherings, showcasing the best our region has to offer alongside likeminded favourites from across the country. Organised by Billingham rabble-rousers Mouses, the all-dayer returns to Stockton’s Georgian Theatre for a third round on Saturday 10th August, backing the duo’s customary headline set with another stacked bill of friends and contemporaries – all for the frankly nonsensical price of £6.

“We don’t have any set rules when picking the line-up really,” reveals Hana Harrison, Mouses’ manager and de facto third member. “We get lots of messages every year, but it’s basically as simple as us putting on bands that we love! There is a huge DIY/safe space/inclusive feel to Mousetival; some will be bands Mouses have played with, but some are just bands we adore. We’ve never seen some of them live either, so it’s super special watching them for the first time with everyone else!”

Although all performers share a common ethos, this year’s bumper 10-act bill contains no shortage of musical diversity. This much is apparent from the local offerings alone, with Mouses’ inevitable barn-storming set supplemented by colourful art-punks GGAllan Partridge, gothic indie-pop stalwarts Ghost Signals and jovial folk-pop outfit Eddie & The Valkyries.

Elsewhere, there’s a strong contingent from Leeds’ thriving DIY scene in the shape of cult lo-fi post-punks Crumbs, fiery, visceral power trio Dead Naked Hippies and surf-tinged garage rockers Nervous Twitch. Sheffield is represented by wonky noise pop oddballs Duck; ‘avant-garde-punk-slash-jazz-pronk’ outfit Unstoppable Sweeties Show travel across the Pennines from Liverpool; while jangly indie ‘anarcuties’ Charmpit make the trip north from the capital.

Mousetival is an amalgamation of all the things we care about; equality, social progress, individuality, fucking with gender stereotypes, race, sexuality, amongst a load of other things

As significant as the bands is the venue itself which, as Mouses drummer Nathan Duff explains, has become one of the event’s principle components: “The Georgian Theatre has meant a lot to us ever since we held our first album launch there – it’s got a lot of history and feels like an iconic venue for the local music scene. TMA have always been a pleasure to work with and let us do our own thing with displaying safe space signs, making toilets gender neutral and providing free sanitary products – which we’re very glad they’ve kept going as a permanent feature!”

“Mousetival is an amalgamation of all the things we care about; equality, social progress, individuality, fucking with gender stereotypes, race, sexuality, amongst a load of other things,” continues singer/guitarist Steven Bardgett. “Everyone is welcome – we just want people to come and be themselves or be whatever they want to be and feel totally comfortable doing so. We hand out flyers for local charities, we collect donations for our local food bank, we put on bands that share our ethos, that shout about the same things we do and we try and make it the most fun that we can for everyone involved. I suppose it’s our little vision of how we think the world should be!”

Mousetival takes place at The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Saturday 10th August from 2pm.

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