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

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Image: Maximo Park

From Thursday 6th July and across the weekend, the world-famous Tall Ships will be berthing in Hartlepool Marina as they race across the North Sea. The celebrations will include four days of live music across two stages, all with free entry.

Seasoned music promoter Andy Kelly has spent the last 10 months curating an eclectic music programme that promises to showcase some of the finest emerging and established regional bands and exciting national acts.

Andy’s passion for the event is evident: “I’m incredibly happy to have landed huge headliners for Friday in Maximo Park, who have earned the title North East legends, with a fantastic back catalogue and brilliant performance, plus The Wailers for Saturday, who are iconic – and many of the current members have links to the original band.”

Andy is also thrilled to land The Mysterines, fresh from supporting Arctic Monkeys on their recent tour. “They’re one of the hottest bands in the country right now and they have a real ‘edge’ to them, I’m so looking forward to catching them on Saturday night.”

Musically and creatively, Hartlepool really seems to have magic in the air right now, the local scene is thriving

Further artists on the line-up include The Magic Numbers, with their sunshine pop songs and beautiful West Coast harmonies; I Am Kloot front man John Bramwell; Newcastle’s finest soul and funk band Smoove & Turrell; high-octane folk rockers Holy Moly & The Crackers; psych pop act She Drew The Gun; swing, honky-tonk and rockabilly band Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra; indie rockers The Sherlocks; BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards winners The Young’Uns and many more. Performances not to be missed from Hartlepool’s homegrown pool of talent will include James Leonard Hewitson, Burn The Valley, The Woven Project, Michael Gallagher and many more acts.

The event will feature two main stages located at Navigation Point and Victoria Quay, plus a smaller stage will focus on local community music performers. The whole four days promises to be full of fun and celebration, with the programme on Friday closing with the fantastic Tower of Light, which will include a dazzling display of pyrotechnics, performance and music. As well as the music, there’s a spectacular array of dance performances, market stalls, giant puppets, as well as the iconic Tall Ships themselves.

Discussing how he planned out such a varied line-up, Andy explains the thought that went into it, from considering the demographics of who would normally go to a Tall Ships event, to what goes down well in the town. “You’ve got to look at those peaks and falls throughout the day. From having something on that’s beautiful, stripped back and ethereal to something with a bit of punch.”

Having been involved in Hartlepool’s music scene for over 20 years, and Hartlepool-born himself, Andy is emphatic that it’s an exciting place to be right now: “There’s so many emerging young artists and bands and established talent in Hartlepool now. I’ve never seen as many accomplished musicians who are great at what they do, and are all working hard and developing fan bases, our town is awash with talent!” The event will provide a real profile-raising platform for local bands to play alongside household names. “Musically and creatively, Hartlepool really seems to have magic in the air right now, the local scene is thriving.”

Festivities for The Tall Ships Hartlepool take place from Thursday 6th–Sunday 9th July.

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