It’s time to get your Lindisfarne on
I swear that during 2016’s Lindisfarne Festival I could actually feel the nuts and bolts of my whole body loosening. I totally bought into their chilled ethos (while still getting stupidly excited to see the likes of British Sea Power, Kathryn Tickell and The Cuban Brothers). Maybe it was the eclectic line-up of bands, DJs and other acts that got me, or the good vibes emanating from everyone else who was in attendance, or the spectacular location, but whatever it was, I was on Cloud 10 throughout the whole weekend (which is a significantly better cloud than Cloud 9).
If you’ve never been before, the first thing that will strike you about the festival is the stupendous view with the site being plonked bang in the middle of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty overlooking Holy Island, with breath-taking vistas stretching from Goswick Sands to the north and Bamburgh Castle to the south.
And speaking of views, scheduled to headline on Friday night are, yep, The View (pictured). The indie rock band exploded on the scene back in 2006 with their chart-topping Hats Off to the Buskers album which also snared them numerous hits singles including Same Jeans. The band’s anthemic power-pop was made for the live arena and, indeed, they have played T in the Park a record eight times with organiser Geoff Ellis commenting: “The View can play every year under my watch if they want to.”
Taking the headlining reins on Saturday night will be The Fratellis, another band who burst onto the charts in the mid noughts with singles such as Chelsea Dagger and Whistle For The Choir hitting the top ten. The band have released four well-received albums to date and recently announced that they’re busy working on a fifth.
The festival is renowned for its party vibe and among the DJ talent lined-up this year will be Norman Jay MBE. One of the most respected and popular DJs in the world, the man helped build the funk, soul and disco scene in the UK, also fostering the rare-groove craze (a term which he coined). He is also responsible for the ‘Good Times’ club nights and good times are certainly guaranteed when he visits the north-east once again.
Another man who will be keeping that party pot stirring just nicely is Fun Lovin’ Criminals frontman Huey Morgan who will be playing a set incorporating the kind of block-rocking sounds that have made his BBC 6 Music shows so popular.
In all over 100+ different acts are scheduled to appear, over seven stages, but here are a few that we’d particularly like to flag up.
Beans on Toast is Jay McAllister, a bit of a cult singer/songwriter, who has released eight studio albums since 2009, each one winning him over a new army of fans who can’t get enough of his spiky folk which overflows with passion, politics and humour. A supreme storyteller, his songs are made to be played live, so make sure that you check him out.
Another band who knock it out of the park in the live arena are award-winners at the world renowned Celtic Connections Festivals, The Langan Band. Their Celtic Folk encompasses Balkan, Roma and Flamenco elements – all fuelled by a punky spirit – that never fails to get people up on their feet.
A pair who need to be seen to be believed are The Showhawk Duo who first made a splash on the busking scene with their astonishing renditions of dance classics played on acoustic guitars. They quickly won an audience leading to an appearance on BBC Radio 1 (their Live Lounge clip has now been viewed over half a million times on YouTube) and they have been asked to play everywhere from Glastonbury to the Secret Garden Party.
The cream of local talent will also be represented by outfits such as Smoove and Turrell who continue to take live audiences on a real trip with their funk-fuelled spin on northern soul which has won them huge respect on the scene (including BBC 6 Music DJ Craig Charles who can’t get enough of them). Crack faves Talk Like Tigers will also be getting people up and moving with the kind of electro pop that feels like it has been constructed from neon and chrome. Comprising of twins Charlotte and Stephanie, the pair write the kind of infectious hooks that sweep all before them. Another act we’ve given well-deserved column inches to is Beth Macari. This Newcastle soul singer has a fabulous voice and was handpicked by the highly acclaimed music director Nigel Wright to front the house band of Sky One’s music and comedy TV game show ‘Bring the Noise’.
The festival consists of so much more than musical talent, however. There will also be comedy with performances from the best local stand-ups as well as contributions from those from further afield. Spoken Word is enjoying something of a real renaissance of late and once again we’ll get the chance to enjoy everything from thought-provoking poetry to hip-hop hollering. There will also be yoga and meditation sessions, Holy Island walks, holistic therapies, a silent disco, local food and drink, creative workshops, and art and culture taking in everything from Tibetan Monks to the Lindisfarne Graffiti Gospels…
The capacity is around 2500 meaning that you won’t be standing a quarter of a mile from the stage wondering just who it is that you’re supposed to be watching. At the Lindisfarne Festival you’ll be up close and personal with the acts; and isn’t that the way it’s meant to be?
Lindisfarne Festival, Thursday 31 August-Sunday 3 September, Beal Farm, Northumberland. A range of tickets are available from £47.20-£99 depending on whether you want a day pass, weekend pass, or the full three nights (includes camping). lindisfarnefestival.com