INTERVIEW: MUNRO Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: SWEARS by Claire Allport

Over the last weekend of May, Stockton’s Georgian Theatre will be once again filled with glorious (socially distanced) sights and sounds, as promoters Famous Last Words bring 10 of the region’s most exciting emerging artists to the stage for MUNRO Festival.

Organiser Adam Gallagher is filled with a quiet optimism, as he talks about the evolving attitude towards live music after its prolonged absence: “Everyone has been coming together and moving forward in the right avenues. People have approached gigs differently and artists and promoters have been a lot more understanding of each other.”

This is the third incarnation of MUNRO Festival in the flesh, with the organisers also bringing together a virtual festival in the interim. The line-up boasts an impressive array of genres across the two days. Saturday headliner comes in the form of anthemic stadium indie rock from Sunderland’s Plastic Glass; plus sets from Trunky Juno, who provides an injection of tongue-in-cheek slacker pop; the delightfully feel-good indie sounds of Komparrison; North East synth pop veterans Twist Helix and the haunting sounds of singer-songwriter Lottie Willis.

Sunday’s headliners are nostalgia pop specialists Club Paradise, who join devilishly catchy punk popsters bigfatbig; shimmering indie pop band Marketplace; Middlesbrough’s fuzz rock kings SWEARS and the infectious R ’n’ B pop sounds of Nadedja.

The line-up boasts an impressive array of genres across the two days

It’s clear the line-up has been a labour of love for Adam. “It’s about trying to work with the artists that I like. We’re already looking at 2022 and seeing how they’re going to develop and I think they deserve credit to be on stage and playing a live gig.”

Aside from creating an impressive genre spread, MUNRO also succeeds in providing a gender-balanced line-up, something which Adam explains has become second nature to him when booking for Famous Last Words; he notes how important diversity and inclusivity is to him as a promoter: “When there’s so many female artists out there, to not acknowledge them or to put just three or four artists on is just wrong. The promoters need to work harder to include these artists. When that happens it’ll be better for everyone.”

With a line-up of local talent as strong as MUNRO’s it was particularly hard for Adam to pick his ‘must see’ act; he gives special mention to Komparrison as a sure-fire audience favourite: “I’ve seen them practice, I know what’s to come so I’m excited for people to see them, and I’m also excited for Trunky Juno, he’s just got that ‘something’ and he’s class to watch.”

MUNRO Festival takes place at The Georgian Theatre on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th May

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