INTERVIEW: LAST TRAIN HOME | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Sunflower Thieves

While last year’s event may have seen the welcome return of Darlington’s Last Train Home festival, the fifth iteration of the event this year will be the first to face a whole other set of challenges that the pandemic brought about. Co-organiser Sarah Wilson from Darlington collective Tracks sounds a note of caution. “Across the industry lots of events are seeing a change in audience behaviour and attendance figures. People’s habits have changed and also the cost of living has gone up so much that not everyone can afford to go to gigs as often.”

Arguably, it has never been more important to support a festival like Last Train Home, which will bring artists from across the region and beyond to five stages across three venues in Darlington on Saturday 3rd September, and Sarah is emphatic that affordable, town-based multi-venue festivals like Twisterella, Stockton Calling and Last Train Home provide an unrivalled opportunity for musicians and fans alike. “They bring more established artists to towns that you might not normally see them gig in – Darlington often gets overlooked on the band touring circuits. They are also excellent for discovering new bands and taking a chance on watching someone play you might not normally buy a ticket to go and see.”

Show us that you have faith in our festivals and that you’re definitely coming along to support, and buy your ticket in advance!

As audiences have come to expect from the festival, the line-up is diverse, balanced and exciting. The Forum Music Centre’s main stage will see a headline set from psych punk rockers The Lovely Eggs, young Leeds’ whipper-snappers L’objectif, Darlo pop/hip-hop artist Luke Royalty, post-punks The Rills, fast-rising Teesside group Komparrison and indie folk songwriter Joe Ramsey among others. At the Noisy Daughters stage at Hullabaloo, performers include alt. pop and lo-fi rock artist Liz Lawrence, indie pop artist ELLUR, ambient guitar project Wyldest, electro folk artist Me Lost Me, neo-soul songwriter Kate Bond, experimental indie pop band Ava In The Dark, up and coming alt. indie songwriter Sarah Johnsone and her band, plus Middlesbrough songwriter Parissa.

We’re getting in on the action once again, with the NARC. stage located upstairs in Hullabaloo’s studio space welcoming glam stomp rockers Rudi Beatamax, fast-rising Teesside rap star Shakk, stirring pop noir songwriter Viia, Darlington’s industrial/guitar EDM band Analogue Blood and grungy alt. rock band Labyrinthine Oceans. St John’s Church will show off its lovely acoustics with performances from Leeds’ dream folk duo Sunflower Thieves, the multi-limbed orch-folk of Nel Unlit, the wondrous folk sounds of Northering, folk rock artist Callum Pitt, the eclectic sounds of The Silver Reserve, Teesside multi-instrumentalist Harriet Bradshaw and songwriter of catchy ditties Caitlin Morrow. And if you need a break from the music, the Forum Music Centre will also play host to Hilarity Bites’ comedy stage, with performances from Duncan Oakley, Dave Johns, Catherine Young, Rachel Jackson, Jack Fox and more.

Festivals like LTH are to be cherished now more than ever, and Sarah has a simple request to music fans: “We all really need music fans to be allies of our little festivals. Share the events on your socials, check out the bands’ tunes before the gig, buy some merch, get a bunch of your mates to come along, get them to bring their other mates too! Show us that you have faith in our festivals and that you’re definitely coming along to support, and buy your ticket in advance!

Last Train Home festival takes place across venues in Darlington on Saturday 3rd September.

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