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

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Image: Dream Nails

If you thought October was too late to get into the festival spirit, think again! Metropolitan music festival Twisterella returns to venues in Middlesbrough on Saturday 9th October and promoters Andy Carr (The Kids Are Solid Gold) and Henry Carden (Pay For The Piano) are raring to go after last year’s false start.

We were in such a great place after the last Twisterella. We’d picked up a prestigious award and had our first five star review in a national newspaper. In every respect we felt on top of our game.” Says Andy, “Now, as the big day gets closer, it feels as though we can now really crack on and deliver the best possible event once again. In terms of acts rolling over from 2020, pretty much most of them have, which we’re delighted with.”

With 2020 seeing many artists remain in stasis, seeing them live will be even sweeter this year. Musicians like alt. songwriter Lauran Hibberd, riot grrrl punks Dream Nails and erudite soul singer Jordan Mackampa have gone from strength to strength over the last year, while their fellow headliners, ‘miserable disco’ band The Howl & The Hum and Scottish rockers Fatherson, remain as popular and as vital as ever.

Andy explains that the festival’s booking policy extends beyond just having a great sound – it’s a connection with an audience that’s paramount. “First and foremost, we have to be into the act. If we don’t like their music then it’s not happening. Ultimately, we’re looking for the act to have demonstrated good progress and have a clear plan. After that, it’s about making the bill as musically diverse as possible – we want to expose people to a range of new acts and allow them to make a connection.”

we want to expose people to a range of new acts and allow them to make a connection

Further highlights include the likes of electro pop duo HYYTS, the shoegaze lushness of Bored At My Grandma’s House, the raw emotion of MarthaGunn, London-based Spanish folk songwriter Odina and angsty songwriter Jack Whiskin. Unsurprisingly, the line-up also features some local heavy-hitters including indie pop band Marketplace, Durham/London’s power popsters Fortitude Valley, ‘sad dance’ artist Straight Girl, synthy favourites Moon Wax, electro gems Twist Helix, the sardonic sounds of James Leonard Hewitson and fast rising R&B songwriter and producer Phibi, among many others. “A number of local acts have made huge progress, not just regionally but nationally, over the past year or so which has been no mean feat in these crazy times. Jodie Nicholson has led the way with Luke Royalty and Mt. Misery also really putting markers down.” Andy says.

The 1,250 capacity festival will include four main stages based less than a minute’s walk from eachother at Teesside University Students’ Union, The Townhouse, TSOne and Westgarth Social Club, plus pop-up sessions taking place in cool spaces in nearby Baker Street and Bedford Street. The community aspect of the event is something that Henry and Andy don’t take for granted. “Live events like ours can be inspiring and incredibly uplifting, not to mention bringing in important revenue to the local businesses. We want Twisterella to be the best it can be and we want it to feel like an essential experience for both crowds and artists alike.” Andy is emphatic that the festival is successful because it’s a real team effort. “Twisterella is really rooted in its community and we are incredibly proud of that.”

Twisterella takes place at various venues in Middlesbrough on Saturday 9th October

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