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

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Image: Skinny Girl Diet by Katinka Herbert

In this modern age of ours, with endless social media platforms, blogs and ‘tastemaker’ lists, it can be hard to cut through the bullshit of the music industry to find genuinely exciting new music.

Thankfully, we’re blessed in our region to have some truly forward-thinking promoters and music lovers who put the hard work in so you don’t have to. Step forward The Kids Are Solid Gold and Pay For The Piano, the brains behind metropolitan music festival Twisterella, who have their digits firmly on the pulse. The festival was nominated in the Best New Festival On The Block category at the 2015 and 2016 AIF Festival Congress Awards, and co-promoter Andy Carr is justifiably proud of the festival’s progression. “In terms of ticket sales and stature it’s grown significantly year on year. In terms of the previous line-ups there are a huge number of Twisterella alumni who have kicked on and are making an impact and that is particularly pleasing. It’s been brilliant to see how much the festival has embedded itself into people consciousness. People are always very keen to ‘talk Twisterella’ and that makes us both very proud.”

The fourth Twisterella festival takes place across various venues in Middlesbrough on Saturday 7th October and, as always, the line-up is chock full of top emerging talent.

High on the ‘must-see’ list are pop punk trio Dream Wife, melodic indie Scots Neon Waltz, pop songwriter Kyko, enigmatic duo Bossy Love, quirky Dutch songwriter Pip Blom, gritty alt. rockers Life, hotly tipped riot grrrl duo Skinny Girl Diet and shoegaze quintet Colour of Spring.

It’s always nice when people stumble upon a new act that’s maybe taken them out of their music comfort zone

The local contingent is well-represented too, with BBC Tees broadcaster Bob Fischer selecting four emerging local acts to open each stage. “We’re always keen to ensure that there is some local and regional representation and we’re fortunate in that Bob Fischer puts forward a number of acts to open each of the main stages. This adds an important element of quality control in so far as the acts need to be working hard and recording and releasing in order to be considered. At the end of the day we have a limited number of slots available so we have to set the bar high.” Bob’s picks this year showcase some of the very best and most eclectic talent to come out of the region; post-rockers Figmennt open up proceedings at Teesside University, singer-songwriter Eve Conway plays at The Townhouse, slacker-pop supremo James Leonard Hewitson kicks things off at Westgarth Social Club, while alt. pop oddballs Ridley Woof perform at TSOne. Add to these slots from highly regarded acts including garage rock party starters Avalanche Party, hip-hop artist Jister, cinematic folk from Tom Joshua and Hartlepool rockers Para Alta, plus Cape Cub, Llovers, Eat Fast, The Old Pink House, Desperate Journalist, Hayley McKay and Soham De.

For musicians looking to break into the industry, the festival is accompanied by (Un)Conference, an informal panel event which focuses on providing invaluable advice to musicians. Offering up pearls of wisdom this year are BBC Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway, Rianne Thompson from Amazing Radio/BBC Introducing, James Bay’s tour manager Ross Lewis, Michael Lambert from A Modern Way Management, Julian Ive from The Cluny, Joe Coates from promoters Please Please You and little ol’ me, attempting to help bands avoid the pitfalls of the media game.

According to Andy, variety is key at Twisterella. “It’s very important that we are showcasing a wide variety of talent and hopefully at the same time exposing the crowd to some new acts and sounds that might ordinarily pass them by. It’s always nice when people stumble upon a new act that’s maybe taken them out of their music comfort zone.”

We like to think of Twisterella as our music-obsessed mixtape-making friend, who has diligently tracked down some amazing new music to immerse ourselves in. “Ultimately we will continue to cultivate the festival’s reputation as a key event where music fans go to hear the latest exciting new music.”

Twisterella Festival takes place across various venues in Middlesbrough on Saturday 7th October.

For a clash checker and full stage times click here

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