LIVE REVIEW: Lindisfarne Festival (03-06.09.21) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Spark LED drummers at Lindisfarne Festival 2021, image by James Duncan

After a year away because of something or other that happened in 2020, the little festival that could blasted the cobwebs off the beautiful Northumbrian countryside once again. With three days and nights of music, dance, comedy, spoken word, food and frankly more stuff than seems possible to fit into such a small space in such a short time, Lindisfarne Festival was frothing once more with everything any festival-goer could want.

With something on offer at seemingly every time of day, this thing truly never slept. The mood was electric as revellers of all stripes came from across the land, threw off the pandemic pent-up-ness, and immersed themselves in what continues to be one of the star attractions of the North East cultural year.

Headlining Friday, an electric show from rapper-songwriter Dizzee Rascal blew the flaps off the main tent (and featured some uproarious call-and-response with the crowd I overheard someone brilliantly label ‘pantogrime’), while Saturday was led by a genuinely transcendent and nostalgic set from gorgeous English electronica duo Groove Armada.

Always a self-proclaimed genre-hopping mishmash, turn one way at the festival, and you’d find stellar spoken word turns from Nicola Montalious, Rowan McCabe, and Tahmina Ali, turn another, and you’d be shaken by dub-blaring speakers, bump into graffiti artists making over some cars, or encounter a spontaneous brass ensemble takeover of a seating area. The Shanti-Bee chillout tent also – perversely but brilliantly – got less chill as the night went on, moving steadily from gong baths and drum circles to industrial techno as the clock drew closer to 3am.

As ever, the music programming offered a little bit of everything all of the time from morning through to, well, morning again. Newcastle’s very own folk rockers Holy Moly and the Crackers returned for some searing tubthumping; Glasgowites Colonel Mustard and The Dijon 5 brought happiness and joy with their blend of alt-comedy-dance-rock; dark Northern brat-poppers ZELA bathed us in gold and warm synths with a belting set straight from an alternate 1985; producer-DJ Leeroy Thornhill, formerly of The Prodigy, brought along a pair of light-covered raver androids for a sweaty late-night set; and an unforgettable show from Spark! (the LED drummers from Worldbeaters Music) saw high-impact drumming, beautiful choreography and spectacular lighting design draw in and immerse merrymakers from across the site.

All in, this sixth year lived up to its reputation as the ultimate end-of-summer party festival; friendly, welcoming, and with a uniquely Northern flavour, Lindisfarne offers true escapism and a festival experience to remember. So here’s to year seven and many more to come.

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