The festival goes from strength to strength as Scouting For Girls play to a record crowd at Northumberland Live Festival 2016.
This festival is still in its infancy but is growing very fast as the word is spreading on just how much quality music and fun is to be found here! It’s been in existence for only three years with The Christians headlining on its debut back in 2014. Last year was an overwhelming success with over 10,000 revellers enjoying the day’s music and activities at one of the best locations for any music event; it’s on South beach in Blyth on the North East coast of England. Local girl Melissa Rose from Blyth got the opportunity to share the stage with some chart topping acts like Doctor and the Medics and also Top loader who have had over 2 million album sales to their credit and a host of top 20 hits internationally. Also on last year’s line up was Driven Serious, Muddy Line, Shaw:Clarke Project, Tony Bengtsson, Rose Parade, The Caffrey’s and Kosoti.
Now to this year’s proceedings, the weather was looking quite good for the festival with the odd shower predicted! I arrived just before midday to see the crowds were gathering for the first bands to play and already it looked as if more people where here at the start than last year’s successful event which was very promising as there already looked to be rain heading this way and there was also so much else happening in the region on the same day!
Local trio Percy And The Piglets from Blyth opened up the festival with their rockabilly swing style sound and immediately got the crowd dancing, Jiving and tapping their feet. They sang some classic Rock ‘n’ Roll with even a Jungle Book favourite thrown in to the audiences delight! The party had begun in great fashion and if this is what the day has in store I think everyone is going to have a fantastic time! You can catch the band supporting the legendary Dr Feelgood on their U.K. Tour! Happy 50th anniversary gig lads!
Next up was Cortney Dixon from South Shields who has been doing the gig circuit for quite awhile now which is quite surprising as she is only nineteen! I manage to ask the award winning Cortney how she was feeling on the eve of the festival and this was her reply; tomorrow is my debut gig with my band showcasing what I have been working on for the past year and my first major gig since supporting Sophie Ellis Bextor and The Feeling last year. I couldn’t think of a better way to be kicking off my summer gigs with a fun, free, local festival! We are all of course slightly nervous but we are also very excited. Cortney and co hit the stage and as usual Miss Dixon was flamboyantly dressed in red flared trousers and a black flowing sleeved top with big hair and retro style rainbow sun glasses! She’s got a great bubbly personality and this came through on her performance with big smiles aimed at the audience, this was the new Cortney and I liked what I was seeing and hearing very much! She danced around the stage in between playing her guitar and singing with her unique voice which could have caused the down pour of rain half way through her set as it resembled a Stevie Nicks type of rain dance! The rain continued into the next couple of sets but it did not dampen any spirits for long. Cortney has been working and co-writing with Mark Stoney and she gave an impressive set with songs such as Anywhere Home, Rebound, Summers Eyes and King Pin which were very much appreciated by the crowd as she delivered her original songs in a style of her own one after another! Hopefully Cortney will release some of her music very shortly! You can catch Cortney on the main stage at the Corbridge Festival 9th July.
David Neil was a name I was not familiar with and I didn’t know why he has gotten under my radar for so long because he was also out standing in fact my wife liked him the best from the whole festival. He’s a singer songwriter from Whitby and you can just tell he is influence by some of the best in the business like Paul Simon, John Mayer, Neil Young and Johnny Cash. This guy oozed quality as he went through his captivating set. He has a very good self written debut E.P. which he co-produced called Cataway! I recommend you check him and his band out as soon as you can!
The Dust Town Dogs are a 6/7 piece band from Consett who I would describe as a chaotic up-beat band, a cross between The Drop Kick Murphy’s and Madness. They consist of drums, guitar, harmonic, and banjo and even have a trumpet player! The singer was fluent in German and continually switched languages while conversing with the crowd as he was building up to doing a cover of The Model by Kraftwerk. They hammered out cover after cover with great expertise singing Queen, U2 and surprisingly Ace of Spades by Motorhead. They were joined on stage by The Van Donk Brothers who are synchronised swimmers all the way from Holland wearing swimming costumes, rubber rings and bathing caps. This just gives rise to even more comic antics on stage! The audience loved them as they could relate to every song they played, very entertaining indeed
Now for something completely different from the first few acts Shields are a 5 piece from Newcastle and are fresh from their Camden Rocks festival the other week! They are now being noticed and recognised for their talent from all aspects of the music world such as Tom Robinson. They managed to secure a headline slot at the Rabbit Hole venue at Glastonbury Festival 2015. They class themselves as alt pop but it’s a lot more than that, I think they are just being modest because their sound has a much more to offer with the music fusion of catchy harmonic potent tracks! These guys are a bit special and they are predicted to do very well. The Northumberland crowd loved them as they powered through their set with so delightful ear blowing tracks! Alive was one of their outstanding tracks which reminded me of The Two Door Cinema Club but with a turbo boost! You can catch the guys next at The Mouth of the Tyne Festival in Tynemouth Sunday 10th July.
The Sleeze Sisters a four piece based in the N.E. of England and are just totally mad! If you want to party these are the guys to hire! They are the hottest glam band around and are well established and experienced musicians! The bassist had the best pink beard I have ever seen! I was told by a friend that they are good and they took me back to my youth by singing some classic 70’s tracks like School’s Out by Alice Cooper, Bay city Rollers and T-Rex to name a few! They were dressed in bright colours with big heels and big hair as they knocked out hit after hit as the crowd danced away! You can catch them again playing the free festival at Northumberland Live 2 in Bedlington 16th July.
Sarah Holmes is a local singer songwriter from Ashington which is just down the road from the festival she has studied a BA (Hons) Music Enterprise at Newcastle College! Sarah does not conform to any modern trends as she has her own style and unconventional dress! Sarah stepped onto the stage dressed in her adaptation of the 1950’s wearing denim shorts, a checked tied shirt with a red head scarf. This was the only solo act of the day and she carried it off perfectly with her strong vocals and catchy songs! Her set list consisted of At The Bottom, Page 2 (Sign), What You Deserve, Wall Away, Ally’s Song and Excuses which was her CD and a cover of Livin’ La Vida Loca put into the fray! Sarah was a former music youth worker and is now putting on her own gigs to promote live music in the area!
Just So are a guitar and piano duo from Tyne and Wear comprising of David Stanyer (lead guitarist of the Longsands) and singer songwriter Olivia Morley. They had a drummer and bass player join them for this performance which they played some very popular covers like OneRepublic’s Counting Stars, The Beautiful South’s A Little Time, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper who was playing in Newcastle that very night and to my wife’s delight a Fleetwood Mac song! They played old and new which certainly pleased the mixed age crowd immensely!
Hailing from Darlington in the U.K. Hayley Mckay was the main support for SFG!!! She is a very talented young lady and I could see clearly why she had been selected for this event. She has a number of accomplishments under her belt from a very young age winning a national competition that funded a scholarship to study vocals at a top academy in Brighton where she graduated to an artist development course in London! In 2015 Hayley was invited to perform in Nashville and recorded an album, she has supported some top artists and played on some of the biggest stages in the U.K. Her music has also been used on a film soundtrack and in a chain of stores worldwide. I spoke to Hayley before the festival and she told me that she is very excited to be performing at Northumberland Live, it is my first festival this year and a beach gig (Blyth Beach) and to be supporting SFG is amazing! Miss McKay + band opened her set with “You Make Me Feel”; she sang Please Press Delete and Matching Suitcase from her album and also “One” which has just been released on the 22nd June on iTunes! To the crowd’s pleasure she threw in a cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene midway through which had the revellers screaming! She had the most difficult job trying to keep the attention of the audience as they were getting excited about SFG but she passed with flying colours and won over lots of new fans. I think 2016 is going to be a very interesting year for Hayley as she is already getting some very good offers from people in the music field!
This is what the main crowd of the mixed revellers had come to see with young and old gathered together and waiting in anticipation! Scouting For Girls have sold over 2 million records and been nominated for The Brit Awards no less than 4 times to date! The way the audience were feeling I don’t think SFG could do anything wrong. They were announced and would be gracing the stage any minute, the crown were starting to get agitated with what was about to happen over the next hour or so and started cheering as the intro music played. This began to build the tension and excitement and on they came to a loud cheer of approval, arms waving as they burst into their first song Bad Superman! It could not of been a better opener with Roy Stride donning a pair of Clark Kent nerdy glasses to make him really look and feel the part, he tossed his glasses into the crowd mid way through the song. Lead singer Roy told the audience that they were now the fifth member of SFG, which went down very well and the revellers took to it straight away by singing to every word and bouncing up and down. They played an array of new and old songs with a couple of covers thrown in like “Live and Let Die” and “Livin’ on A Prayer” which were very popular. Their set also included Heartbeat, Elvis Ain’t Dead, Home and finished with She’s So Lovely which had the whole crowd from the front of the stage to the very back at the beach huts clapping!
The festival also included art, craft, street theatre and food stalls around the surrounding area! The staff where all very helpful and friendly as for the weather we can’t complain because it did not spoil the day!
There is another Northumberland Live Festival 2 at Bedlington on the 16th July and it’s also free!
There is another Northumberland Live Festival 2 at Bedlington on the 16th July and it’s also free!