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

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Image: Smoove & Turrell

When I asked Futureheads guitarist and Summer Streets organiser Ross Millard about this year’s festival, he was obviously delighted to have the event back in real-life Cliffe Park in Sunderland, after two years of online activities and smaller-scale live shows. “It’s a chance to bring the full audience together for a day of live music, performing arts and good food and drink. There are plenty of things for kids to get involved in as well this year, with lots of programming aimed especially at children. I’m also hoping that the gig-going regulars of the North East turn out for it too, because we’ve got some brilliant artists on. It’s the first time Stage 2 has been run in partnership with BBC Music Introducing NE, so we’ve got plenty of great emerging talent on that stage as well.”

The free festival, which takes place on Saturday 9th July, will include music from folk pop legend Martin Stephenson and the Daintees, psychedelic punk rock band The Lovely Eggs, soul and funk legends Smoove and Turrell, dynamic Afro-Latin percussion and brass duet Ladies of Midnight Blue and fast-rising Sunderland singer Faye Fantarrow, who has recently signed to Dave Stewart’s Bay Street Records. BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown will host Stage 2, which includes electronic folk from Me Lost Me, Middlesbrough MC Shakk, neo-soul artist Kate Bond, alternative rockers Labyrinthine Oceans and soulful songstress Beth Macari. All this alongside the traditional mix of street performers, arts and crafts, and food and drink. The line-up will be completed by performances from Sunderland Youth Choir and Orchestra, Sunderland Guitar, Ukulele and Bass (GUB) Club, Sunderland Young Musicians Project and Right Track, a local project to help develop young, creative and inspiring musicians.

It’s a chance to bring the full audience together for a day of live music, performing arts and good food and drink

Ross further explained. “After the frustrations of the last couple of years, we’re excited to be delivering a fantastic range of live performers, and Summer Streets has always been about providing a platform for new and emerging talent as well as community musicians and singers. A big part of Summer Streets is providing a platform for these local performers to showcase their talent.” Ross has also been working with Helen Green, Head of Performance at Sunderland Culture, to put together a programme of street theatre performances. These will include Patrick Ziza’s Dandyism Dance, the aerial theatre company Uncaged Aerial, a Time Machine Disco from Glass House Disco and Space Camp, a brilliant immersive experience that takes audiences into space. Nrithta-Maya Dance Team and Inspire Stage School will also be performing on the day.

Activities for children include Tiny Tweeties musical workshops and a Mini Pride delivered by Curious Arts with family-friendly workshops from Infinite Arts and Chalk. A co-commission with The Cultural Spring was also launched to find a community group, creative company or individual to decorate the site ensuring the park will look its best on the day.

In addition to all this, and perhaps not for the children, Pop Recs Ltd., in their amazing new High Street West spot, will host Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs on Thursday 7th July with support from heavy rockers Pit Pony and visceral post-punks TV Death. There will also be an exclusive free show from the warm and wondrous Kenneth Ishak and Newcastle rock super-group Weekend Faithful at the same venue on Saturday 9th July.

Summer Streets takes place on Saturday 9th July at Cliffe Park, Sunderland.

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