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

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Image: Declan Welsh & The Decadent West

The second iteration of Waves, the Sunderland multi-venue all-day music event, is coming up on Saturday 5th November, and this year they’ve expanded in both size and in ambition.

Independent’s Ben Richardson is one of the driving forces behind the event, he explains that after a highly successful first year which saw a host of regional artists pack venues in the city, they’re raring to go for the next event. “We had to do that first year with regional bands we’ve worked with before and could trust, more than anything to make sure we could do it and I guess also to make sure there was an appetite for something like this in Sunderland, and we know there definitely is now.”

This year they’re branching out considerably with their line-ups, and Ben is really proud of being able to draw international artists to Sunderland. “We’re bringing Dutch indie outfit Pip Blom back to headline the Independent stage; to have international bands playing Waves on just the second year feels mint. Alongside this we’re still fighting hard to support the local scene and get some of our favourite and the most exciting artists from the region on the festival.”

Over the last few years Sunderland has come a long way in terms of its music infrastructure in the city. We want to celebrate this and shine a light on what’s happening in Sunderland

The line-up is impressively diverse, with headliners including the likes of aforementioned Dutch indie quartet Pip Blom, jazzy electronica group Ishmael Ensemble, Leeds’ disco-fuelled dancefloor fillers Galaxians, Newcastle alt. rock trio The Pale White, fast-rising local indie songwriter Tom A Smith and indie post-punks Declan Welsh & The Decadent West. There’s more delights in the form of Bull, The Dream Machine, Ghost//Signals, Hivemind, Luke Royalty, Vandebilt, Wax Heart Sodality, Yaatri, Dead Wet Things, The Neolectrics, The Peevie Wonders, Nadedja, Eve Cole, noprism and more performing at Independent, The Fire Station, The Peacock, The Ship Isis, The Bunker and Live Lounge.

Collaborations are also a key part of this year’s event, as Ben explains: “We’re super excited to be partnering with BBC Introducing for a stage at Waves, the line-up is stacked with some amazing regional talent hand picked by Nick Roberts himself. I’m also pleased to have it in The Bunker; what they’ve been doing has been going somewhat under the radar, there’s a great 40-ish capacity live room in there and they have the ability to record audio and visuals, so you’ll be able to enjoy it on the radio and social media afterwards, which is really cool.”

They’re also partnering with We Make Culture for a day of free all-ages activity at Pop Recs Ltd. too, which includes family-friendly performances, an early years music session and music-based crafts.

There’s a plethora of well-respected multi-venue events in the region, and Ben is proud to be able to add Waves to the region’s music calendar. “Over the last few years Sunderland has come a long way in terms of its music infrastructure in the city. We want to celebrate this and shine a light on what’s happening in Sunderland; it’s not just about Waves on the day, it’s about getting people into these venues and realising how good they are and hopefully going back there in the future. We’ve seen other great multi-venue festivals in the region develop into permanent fixtures in our calendar, particularly in the Teesside region, and there’s no reason why we can’t have the same thing in Sunderland and people from Newcastle and Middlesbrough can travel to our city instead!”

Waves Festival takes place at various venues in Sunderland on Saturday 5th November.


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