SummerTyne 2017 (PREVIEW)
OOOHEEEEE….it’s that time of year again…..they’ve just announced the headline acts for the three day SummerTyne Americana Festival in Gateshead and I couldn’t be more excited.
OK, it’s not Glastonbury nor Cornbury or even the Cambridge Folk Festival; but it’s on my door step and every year brings more and more music fans to the music I love.
I’ve seen loads of film over the years of the Bacchanalian and bucolic scenes from Woodstock, the Isle of Wight and more latterly Glastonbury but SummerTyne is different, very different and probably different from anything else in the world, as it is split into two actual Festivals on the same site. Both are timed with military precision and cross over from the outside concourse to the inside rooms and back again,’ plus this weekend is aimed at families just as much as music bores like me; plus the visitors from outside the area get to stay in hotels or BnB’s rather than tents 5 miles away from the main stage.
I wasn’t there when SummerTyne started in 2006 in a typically understated way; we are like that in Geordieland (eh???) but that first year saw the likes of Seasick Steve, Kris Kristofferson, Laura Veirs, Nanci Griffith and the Blind Boys of Alabama perform across the venue.
I turned up for the first time in 2008 to see Eve Selis on the JHC Outside Stage and fell in love with the whole concept and stopped back that night to see KD Lang (paying hard cash on the door). Checking back now I appear to have missed Jim White and Brandi Carlisle too that year……different times and money was tight in those days.
Since then I’ve seen world famous Roots acts like the James Hunter Six, Martin Stephenson, Willy Vlautin, The Handsome Family, Slim Chance,Tom Russell, Justin Townes Earle and Danny & the Champions of the World and not forgetting the evening the Ian McLachan Band ripped it up for FREE on that JHC Stage as the sun went down; the sun always shines……apart from the year it rained in buckets for an hour, but Otis Gibbs carried on regardless as the umbrellas and mackintosh’s came out and the show just went on.
There are too many acts over the years who have played that ‘free’ stage that are etched in my memory bank to mention; but some of the best were seeing Larkin Poe, Ward Thomas, the Toy Hearts and a young Pete Molinari but not forgetting Bap Kennedy’s last appearance in the area with 6 old ladies in head scarves dancing in front of the stage. Everyone else will have their own memories of a band or singer I’ve forgot about (David Wax Museum? The Bikini Beach Band? John Turrell? Elizabeth Cook? Sarah Savoy Cajun Band?)
Sadly some fans who set up camp on the concourse for the Jumping Hot Club’s ‘free stage’ never venture indoors to experience the delights that are on offer there; and vice versa plenty of music snobs arrive at tea-time for the evening show and look down their noses at the oiks on Shipcote Hill having the time of their lives seeing artists they’d never heard of that morning but leaving with memories of the greatest band or singer they’d ever seen in their lives!
During the afternoon there are numerous pop-up stages inside the Hall; and this is where I first saw The Shires play in front of only 50 people, Yola Carter with a choir and Norrie McCulloch entrancing 1,000 people into silence.
The concourse stage and the Sage Rehearsal Room are taken over by the Americana Association UK and experience tells me these 15 and 30 minute showcases are not to be missed.
But, it’s really the evening shows that the SummerTyne Festival is all about, and often the first time music fans ever visit this magnificent music centre.
First and foremost the sound quality in both Hall 1 & 2 is truly exceptional and the seats are comfortable too!
Over the years I’ve lost track of the acts I’ve seen and loved; as you’d expect they are as diverse as John Hiatt, Solomon Burke, Lucinda Williams, Wanda Jackson, Irma Thomas, Emmylou & Rodney, Roseanne Cash, Lyle Lovett, Abigail Washburn, Dan Penner & Spooner Oldham and Imelda May.
Plus one of the joys every year is when the Sage utilises it’s phenomenal Classical musicians to bring us something really special……does anyone else remember Raul Malo and the Royal Northern Sinfonia Orchestra recording a live album? Or the mind blowing night Chuck Prophet was joined by their String Section? I do and will never forget either night.
This year the list of runners and riders inside and outside the Sage is truly amazing; starting on the Friday afternoon with the quaintly named Home Fries stage full of extremely talented local acts including Big Ray & The Hipthrusters who will…..well; once seen is never forgotten!
Then the big party starts with the welcome return of the Shires who will no doubt sell out Hall 1 (again); but you will also find me nipping in to Hall 2 for a half hour of Merle Haggard’s Strangers featuring his sons Ben and Noel; then later in the same room Marlon Williams who I’ve been waiting to see for ages.
Then on Saturday lunch time…..YippeeWhyEye Music Lovers……on the JHC Stage it’s only my tip for ‘Next Big Thing’ status Dexeter……the fabulous Vera Van Heerigan showcasing Proper Brew, Howlin’ Ric with his hi-octane Rock & Roll and the afternoon will be wrapped up by the legendary Earl Thomas bringing the show home with some delightful Souly Blues.
All for free money and a panoramic vista of the Newcastle Quayside as a backdrop.
Then just when you think things can’t get any better…. I will have to move inside at 2pm to finally see Angaleena Presley! Yes! Guitar Leena finally comes North….mmm…mmmm….mmmm.
Saturday night on the main stages will be as good as SummerTyne has ever been…..in my humble opinion; in Hall 2 it’s a double header with Jim Lauderdale and Sam Outlaw who both have outstanding albums out at the moment; but in Hall 1 it’s a real bona fide music legend when William Bell and the Stax Revue come to town. As far as I know this is another SummerTyne ‘Once in a Lifetime’ evening……and a guaranteed Sell-Out.
Sunday; and I promise the sun will be shining.
If you are coming get there early, as Bradley Creswell, one of the finest violinists of his generation and leader of the RNS will be on stage with the ‘Western Swing Orchestra’ playing the ‘hits and more’……trust me; you will be stunned and amazed.
He is followed on stage by young Rob Vincent; making a fleeting visit and playing tracks from his
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/robert-vincent-ill-make-the-most-of-my-sins/ album which will feature in my end of year Top 10.
Also wooing the fans on Shipcote Hill will be harmonica player supreme Errol Linton, the gritty Country of Jonathan Terrell and closing the free stage, the welcome return of the Savoy Family Cajun Band.
As that shuts down at 7 things move indoors to the magnificent Sage Music Centre itself, and things get really interesting.
Beth Neilsen Chapman with Callaghan as support will fill Hall 1 and along the passageway our hero Chuck Prophet will be….doing what Chuck Prophet does; which is better than what just about anyone else of his ilk does and is another show that will sell out pretty damn quickly.
There will be numerous acts popping up all over the site across the weekend and I haven’t even mentioned the River Cruises which are now going down in local legend.
The North East of England never really had a quality Music Festival before SummerTyne and our little world is all the better for it.