INTERVIEW: A STONE’S THROW FESTIVAL | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Sam Tompkins

We love a good multi-venue festival here at NARC. they allow audiences to get their fill of loads of live music in a short space of time in one location, and also provide an ideal opportunity to try something new. The region has its fair share of big hitters – Stockton Calling, Generator Live, Twisterella and Last Train Home to name a few and now there’s a new kid on the block, this time taking over the coastal gems of North Shields and Tynemouth.

Taking place on Saturday 28th May, A Stone’s Throw festival is run by Notion Live Events, Shin Gigs and 456 Live, and will bring 60 acts to 11 venues in the towns, making for a delightful coastal music trail. The route between venues, which includes The Engine Room, Karma Coast, Salt Market Social, BARCA, Three Tanners Bank and Tynemouth’s Grand Hotel among others, will be plied by a special double-decker bus provided by Go North East, meaning you don’t even have to walk between venues if you don’t want to.

Everyone enjoys spending a day at the seaside, right?” Says festival co-founder Anthony Thompson. “Tynemouth and North Shields are lovely towns with stunning scenery and fantastic independent venues. We’ve all gone to a concert in the city centre – this is a completely different experience.”

We’re very proud of our first year line-up, and we hope to continue showcasing the next generation

The line-up includes a superb mixture of established names and up and coming talent. Headliners include contemporary pop artist Sam Tompkins, rapper and producer BERWYN, slacker pop sensation Lauran Hibberd, highly rated singer-songwriter Frankie Beetlestone, North East indie star Heidi Curtis, synth pop band Deco and indie maestros Second Thoughts, with further performers including wych elm, Rudie Edwards, The Michaels, The Gulps, Swannek, Hi Sienna, Ellur, Bandit and more. We wanted to curate a line-up centred on showcasing artists at critical junctures in their careers. Since booking the first artists, Sam Tompkins has had a number seven album, Berwyn has been named ‘Best New Act in the UK’ at this year’s NME Awards, and other acts have sold out tours. We’re very proud of our first year line-up, and we hope to continue showcasing the next generation.”

There’s a healthy dose of North East artists performing too, with sets expected from the likes of Benjamin Fitzgerald, Jango Flash, Kate Bond, Club Paradise, FEVA, LYRAS, Hector Gannet, Lizzie Esau, Luke Royalty, Moon Wax, Frankie Jobling, ZELA, Pave The Jungle, Ten Eighty Trees, Finn Forster and heaps more. Anthony is emphatic about the importance of giving a high profile stage to local artists. It is, in my opinion, critical. We worked hard to strike a balance between touring and local talent. We hope to contribute to the long-term development of local artists by providing a platform for them. I hope that this encourages artists to stay in the region rather than moving to cities like Manchester or London for opportunities.”

Anthony refuses to be drawn on his personal highlights, and is keen for audiences to broaden their horizons and take a chance on something new. “I wish I could catch every performer! Unfortunately that’s not possible, but I believe that is part of the festival’s charm. Every punter has the ability to plan their own day. My advice would be to see a mix of locals and touring acts.”

A Stone’s Throw Festival takes place at various venues in Tynemouth and North Shields on Saturday 28th May.

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