Split Festival – Sunderland
9th and 10th of August
Having taken a year off the North Easts biggest festival is back with an astonishing lineup, featuring some brilliant national bands and a plethora of local North Eastern talent.
After a year away, they’re back and bigger and better than ever. Taking over Mowbray Park in the centre of Sunderland, a new venue and bigger stages this years is set to see Split Festival cement itself as the North East’s top festival. Last year saw a huge hole in the North East’s music scene with the absence of Split, but we’d like to believe they were hiding away preparing.
With the lineup announcements coming thick and fast it’s clear to see they weren’t resting on their laurels. Headed up by Dizzee Rascal and Newcastle’s finest Maximo Park, there is a supporting cast of the highest calibre. With the likes of The Cribs, Gruff Rhys and Tom Vek all making an appearance across the weekend.
However, what Split Festival does so well is promote the local music scene, this year is no different featuring some fantastic local acts. Local lads Frankie and The Heartstrings play an exciting hometown show on the Sunday afternoon, with soul and funk superstars Smoove and Turrell occupying the same slot on the Sautrday afternoon.
For us though the really exciting bands are those bolstering the lower part of the lineup, don’t get me wrong though we cannot wait for Maximo and Dizzee tearing apart the main stage. However, the return of Newcastle’s post rock behemoths Young Liar is an event we seriously do not want to miss.
Similarly the return of The Lake Poets to Sunderland, this promises to be a fantastic show for a guy who is seriously on the up. As are local duo Gallery Circus, a band with roots in both the North East and Chicago. Their sound has certainly benefitted from this, they make an enormous amount of noise for two people it is truly very impressive.
Alongside these great local artists a number of the festivals organisers will be taking to the stage. Although The Futureheads are not playing together on the weekend, they’re bringing their current endeavours to Mowbray Park. Barry is playing tracks off his debut solo record. Whilst Jaff is accompanying David Brewis of Field Music in his School of Language guise. Ross is moonlighting with Frankie and The Heartstrings, Dave is playing as part of his collaboration with former Golden Virgins drummer Neil Bassett.
So whilst The Futureheads won’t be taking to the stage collectively there will be plenty of Futureheads infused music to satisfy festivalgoers. All in all Split Festival is shaping up to be bigger and much better than ever before, we cannot wait to get down to Mowbray Park to check out all of the action.
All words by Lee Hammond whose Louder Than War archive can be found here.