My Inspiration: Rock On The Hill | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Rock On The Hill is a music and poetry festival in Durham taking place from 1st-4th June. Here, event organiser, Asa Williams, tells us more about the festival, including the inspiration behind it…

In essence ROTH was born during my time as an undergraduate at Durham where, as someone interested in alternative music (folk-punk, spoken word, metal), I felt that all bands hired by the university were the same. They would play the same covers of the same artists at every event, and all bands merged into one. Students would talk of the ‘biggest bands in Durham’ as student bands and were totally unaware of artists like Onsind, who were from the area and on a national scale. 

By the time of my MA, I was interested in performing more, both poetry and punk music, often with socio-political connotations, and struggled to find university venues that would take us. This led to us putting on our own DIY events where anyone could play songs for themselves rather than the request of a university board. 

This grew and grew until I left Durham for my PhD (about French poetry and counterculture music), but I returned for Midsummer of 2022 and put on the inaugural Rock on the Hill at the Angel. Over 200 people attended, both student and non-student bands played, and all proceeds were donated to the Durham foodbank. In September of the same year, we went further and put on three nights, an indie night, a hard rock night and a night headlined by Call to the Faithful, a Peterborough band doing a UK tour. Once again everything was DIY, supplied by volunteers and with the objective of creating a musical community for those who had felt otherwise ostracised. Other events, although smaller have been held at independent bookshops, in nightclubs in support of the LGBTQA+ community in Qatar, and we do similar events in London on a regular basis. 

This ROTH, we decided to focus on what we believed to be one of the greatest issues in Durham, women in music. Our opening night, on 1st of June, will be an all-women’s band night, many of them formed especially for this occasion. Georgia Richardson, a member of the committee is in charge of the night and all the men on the committee are her ‘minions’ for the day. 

On the 2nd we will be having a hard-rock night at Van Mildert College, and on the 3rd an acoustic-poetry night with artists coming from as far as Inverness and Brighton to perform. The 4th is an indie night, headlined by Newcastle’s Labyrinthine Oceans, and with a number of rising Durham bands featured.  

The line up for Rock On The Hill is as follows…

1st June: Katie O’Briens-Women in music
  ‘Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything’
Artists: -Ingalill
             – Rosary
             – Grace Harvey and The Marigolds
             – The Fire Department

2nd June: Van Mildert College- Rock & Grunge
‘From here to utopia’
Artists: -No Clue
            – Void State
            – Elvet
            – Mirror Image

3rd June: Coviello’s Coffee & Barber- Poetry & Folk
‘National Anthems of the Damned’
Artists: -Bethany Blackwell
             – Tia Bulgen
              – Eden Cain
              – R.W Thorne
               – James Pickersgill
               – Yesterday’s Leftovers

4th June: Holy Grale- Indie Music
‘Tie-Dye Blues’
Artists: -Mother
             – Ivies
             – Orchard Thieves
             – Moonstag
             – Labyrinthine Oceans

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