Focus: Clare Hargan (Middlesbrough Gigs) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Who are you and where are you from?
I’m Clare Hargan and I’m from Middlesbrough.
What is it you do?
I’m part of the teams that run Sofar Sounds Middlesbrough and the newly formed Middlesbrough Gigs. I’m also a singer/keyboard plonker in Nel Unlit.
How long have you been doing it?
I’ve been involved in local bands for over 10 years. I joined the Sofar Middlesbrough team when it started in 2017 and Middlesbrough Gigs was formed last year (2023) in the wake of the Westgarth closing.
What inspires you?
I’ve always loved watching and being involved in live music. I’m a pretty stressy person and sometimes the prep that goes into putting on gigs can feel overwhelming. But it all comes together at the gig. I see musicians getting to showcase their work, audiences coming out and enjoying themselves and it’s all happening in Middlesbrough – that’s the bit that keeps me going.
Tell us about your work/music.
Middlesbrough Gigs is a project funded by Arts Council England. We’ll be putting on a series of 20 shows over 2 years with partner venues in the TS1 area of Middlesbrough. We want to bring exciting national and international touring artists to Middlesbrough and aim to showcase emerging and developing grassroots talent from the area, rostering them alongside these established artists. We’re also collaborating with Musinc to provide opportunities for young people to gain experience in the delivery of events. It’s a really exciting project and we hope that we get the support of local audiences so we can continue it after the funding finishes.
With Sofar Sounds Middlesbrough, we put on intimate shows in unique venues across the region. They’re ‘secret concerts’ so you apply for a ticket, don’t find out the venue until the day before and don’t know the artists until you get there (sometimes we’ll hint at who’s playing in our socials). It’s a really interesting concept for a gig and we have an amazing loyal audience who trust us to curate a good show for them. We’re always looking for new venues so if you’ve got a space we can use to put on a show, get in touch!
What have you got coming up in the future?
Middlesbrough Gigs: Porridge Radio (solo) + Naima Bock at Town Hall Courtroom 19.05.24
Jimmy Whispers + Faithful Johannes x Neocia at Cafe Etch 05.09.24
Sofar Sounds Middlesbrough: Keep your eyes peeled for a July event.
Nel Unlit: We’re working on album 3 so hopefully that will be released next year!
Where can people find out more about you?
Instagram @mbrogigs@sofarmiddlesbrough
You can find us on Facebook too.

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