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

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Image: Martha Hill

It’s full speed ahead for Last Train Home festival on Saturday 4th September, and Darlington collective Tracks are on course to provide a first class event for music lovers in the town and beyond (sorry, no more train puns, I promise!)

This year’s event may be slightly pared down but it’s no less mighty, featuring four stages of diverse and exciting music and comedy with an emphasis on the North East’s emerging and established talent. Co-organiser Sarah Wilson explains that the prep for this year’s festival was a little different, for obvious reasons. “It was tricky to plan the line-up for this year as normally we would have spent the last year going to gigs and discovering new bands, seeing how they play live and feeling the buzz about new live music.” The team have kept a keen eye on artists who developed over lockdown, resulting in high profile slots for the likes of Martha Hill and Jodie Nicholson. “We were keen to keep the majority of the festival programme featuring local and regional artists to show off how much amazing talent there is here in the North East.”

The aforementioned BBC 6Music darling Martha Hill and evocative songwriter Jodie Nicholson will both perform at the Hullabaloo main stage alongside fast-rising alt. rockers Pave The Jungle, multi-instrumentalist Dilettante, noisy rockers Scruffy Bear, Sunderland’s riotous girl-gang bigfatbig, esteemed local songwriter Elaine Palmer and hotly tipped talent Lizzie Esau. The Hullabaloo cafe also plays host to stripped down performances (curated by us here at NARC.) from North Yorkshire art rappers Ceiling Demons, talented MC Kay Greyson, spoken word electro artist Faithful Johannes, R&B pop fusion artist Nadedja and Darlington songwriter Scott Wilson.

We were keen to keep the majority of the festival programme featuring local and regional artists to show off how much amazing talent there is here in the North East

Over at The Forum Music Centre festival goers can get stuck into sets from Coventry art rockers Feet, lo-fi punks Mouses, Darlington’s mysterious masked garage rockers Wax Heart Sodality, Mancunian indie rockers Garden Party, hotly tipped noir pop duo ZELA, Newcastle’s fresh neo-soul band LYRAS, superb Middlesbrough rapper Shakk and talented local songwriter Mr Matthew Fisher. Local comedy promoter Hilarity Bites will also be providing giggles aplenty at The Forum, with sets from Keith Carter, Ruth Cockburn, Ignacio Lopez, Jack Gleadow, Deage Paxton, Dean Moore, Lauren Pattison, Tony Cowards, Pete Selwood, Paul ‘Silky’ White and compere Rob Mulholland.

Accessibility has become a key concern for Tracks, and they’re mindful of music lovers who may not be ready or able to join in at a full capacity event, so livestreaming ticket options will also be available. “By providing a livestreamed element, although no replacement for the real thing, it can still offer people a taste of being there to fill that fear of missing out, and a place to chat with others in the live comments.” Says co-organiser Rob Irish.

Sarah and Rob have had a busy summer, hosting multiple events both online and throughout the town, and it’s clear they’re excited to be back to doing what they do best, as Rob enthuses. “Everyone’s eager to get back out gigging, and from our side as promoters it’s like we’ve finally been let off the leash and we’re going wild planning as much as we can to make up for lost time.”

Last Train Home takes place at The Forum Music Centre and Theatre Hullabaloo in Darlington on Saturday 4th September

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