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

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Image: LIFE

Tracks’ flagship festival Last Train Home rolls into Darlington again on Saturday 2nd September, offering an eclectic programme of live acts across the town.

Once again, it’s jam-packed with regional and national artists and comedians, with five stages across Darlington Hippodrome, the Forum Music Centre and Theatre Hullabaloo. The brainchild of Tracks directors Rob Irish and Sarah Wilson, the festival is an inclusive event, offering something for everyone, running from 1pm and finishing in time to catch the last train home.

There have been a few changes this year, as Sarah explains: “We have had a change in venues this year with St John’s Church unfortunately closing, which was a shame as it’s a beautiful space for live music. However we weren’t sad for too long as we managed to add the stunningly beautiful Darlington Hippodrome to our venue list, and we will have artists playing in the main auditorium. The NARC. stage has a new home too, in the deceptively blandly named Education Room!”

We’re a bunch of underdogs who are hungry to show the world what we’ve got and represent where we’re from

With tickets from £20 and more than 25 acts to see, this year boasts a stellar line-up. Headliners include hotly tipped indie band English Teacher, local folk ‘n’ rollers Holy Moly & The Crackers, post-punkers LIFE, and Tyneside fuzz rockers Pit Pony. Elsewhere on the line-up, expect performances from the likes of indie rock artist Tom A Smith, masked garage rockers Wax Heart Sodality, harmony-drenched pop act Mt. Misery, odd-ball rock band The Peevie Wonders, incredible songwriter IMOGEN, artist and producer Cortney Dixon, art rockers Cat Ryan, expansive bedroom pop artist Trunky Juno, pop punks bigfatbig, unruly guitar band Hotwax and many more.

You can also catch musicians welcoming people onto the platform with an acoustic stage at the railway station, or catch some live comedy in between bands at the Hilarity Bites Comedy Stage, compered by Rob Mulholland.

Keen to remove as many barriers as they can for fans who want to see live music and comedy, Rob and Sarah were set on making this year’s festival as accessible as possible to everyone. “Many multi-venue festivals take over whatever spaces they can to make the event happen and to give audiences a good choice, but too often this means at least one or two stages are inaccessible to those with access needs. We are so pleased that this year every stage is accessible, and every venue has accessible toilets.”

Also new this year is the Last Train Home ‘zine, created by Françoise Harvey. The free ‘zine features articles, information on festival performers, art and creative writing from Darlington and Tees Valley artists including Meg McArt, Lisette Auton and Dan Walls.

A riotous celebration of independent music and comedy, Rob and Sarah want Last Train Home to be a tribute to the North East. “There’s a spirit up here that we all share; a togetherness and a proudness of being Northern that you don’t get anywhere else, and it makes the North East feel like its own little world. Artists all know and support each other around here, and there’s a real sense of community. We’re a bunch of underdogs who are hungry to show the world what we’ve got and represent where we’re from.”

Last Train Home festival takes place at various venues in Darlington on Saturday 2nd September.

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