INTERVIEW: The Gathering Sounds | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Sophie & The Giants

If there’s ever been a festival to find your new favourite band at, it’s The Gathering Sounds. With artists desperate to show off new material and stretch those lockdown-weary performance muscles, the chances are good that every set will be a roof-raiser.

Taking place across six venues in Stockton on Saturday 25th September, the all-day festival’s line-up reads like a ‘who’s who’ of exciting emerging talent – fair warning, the clashes are going to be impossible to avoid with so many great artists taking part!

KU Bar owner and promoter Jimmy Beck explains how this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever, with fresh faces on both the performance and promoting side. “As well as being promoters we also run venues here in Stockton and we wanted some of the stages to be curated by promoters who are doing good things from outside the region to introduce them to the Teesside gig crowd. This year’s guests are This Feeling, famous for their good work on the tour circuit and festivals, plus Under The Influence from Hull who are well known for unearthing top talent.”

It’s this collaborative nature that helps to keep the festival fresh, KU’s events manager Simon Shaw explains. “I love the dynamic of collaborative efforts from the venues, agents, promoters and bands. Having lots of input into a pot does create something unique.”

I feel more confident in putting on regional bands knowing they’re connected to the local area and that’s because it’s so welcoming

Over 40 bands will be performing across two stages at both KU and ARC, as well as The Georgian Theatre and The Green Room. Headliners include the thrilling sounds of genre-blurring artist Du Blonde, exciting indie rockers Crystal Tides, Sheffield’s upbeat indie popsters Sophie & The Giants, alt. sextet Red Rum Club, Welsh atmospheric rock band Himalayas and powerful rockers The Mysterines. The supporting cast is just as impressive and Jimmy tips the 60’s influenced sounds of Weird Milk, classic rockers Kid Kapichi and danceable garage rock band Low Hummer as particularly worth catching. Our money is on the likes of Scottish post-punks Dead Pony, emo-tinged rockers Sad Boys Club, elegant songwriter Hamish Hawk and the ferocious sounds of Sky Valley Mistress to provide explosive sets.

The local scene is typically well represented, and both Jimmy and Simon credit the town’s supportive venues and promoters for helping to put Stockton on the North East’s musical map. “Events like The Gathering Sounds can only happen with a good reputation for the scene and that’s down to the hard work from all the venues and promoters on Teesside.” Says Jimmy.

We all succeed together, seems to be the feeling.” Simon adds. “I feel more confident in putting on regional bands knowing they’re connected to the local area and that’s because it’s so welcoming.”

At the top of your ‘must see’ list when it comes to local artists should be newly expanded intelligent popsters Komparrison, honest songwriter Finn Forster, the ‘kamikaze pop’ of Jango Flash, Hartlepudlian songwriter Michael Gallagher, Sunderland indie upstarts Plastic Glass, lush indie popsters Marketplace, exemplary South Shields songstress Cortney Dixon, thrilling alt. band Motherland and rock ‘n’ rollers We Tibetans.

With much more besides on a line-up which is bursting with talent, The Gathering Sounds more than delivers on its promise to bring thrilling live acts to Stockton.

The Gathering Sounds takes place across various venues in Stockton on Saturday 25th September


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