Preview: Split Festival 2011

By on Friday, 2nd September 2011 at 11:00 am
 

The fourth Split Festival returns to the Ashbrooke Sports Club in Sunderland on 17th and 18th September. The two-day festival, curated by Sunderland’s own Futureheads, boasts a fine slice of local talent, whilst offering enough international acts to keep even the most jaded festival-goer awake. At the time of writing, tickets are still available at the bargain price of £35 for the full weekend.

For any enthusiast of the vibrant Northeast scene, or fans of its melodic, harmonised sound, the goodies on offer at Split are second to none. Saturday features the sparkly, newly-minted Vinyl Jacket from Northumberland, Sunderland’s ornithological instrumentalists B>E>A>K, the delicate and dramatic Newcastle-bred but L.A. enthusiast Beth Jeans Houghton, and a rare chance to catch Jarrow’s poppy guitarslingers Little Comets. Saturday’s talent from further afield includes 80s widescreeners Spector, the mathy Dutch Uncles, and straight-ahead indie veterans the Rifles, whose new album is due out just a couple of days later. Then there’s a chance to see how the Mystery Jets’ new material is coming along, before headliners the Drums (pictured above) give a masterclass in deceptively simple, melodic New York thought-pop, showcasing new album ‘Portamento’ released the same week.

There’s a distinctly punky edge to Sunday’s line-up: Sunderland’s vintage punk rockers Leatherface, active for over 20 years, are still capable of ear-bleeding intensity, after whom the Dauntless Elite, Dinosaur Pile-Up and the King Blues create a triptych of melodic noise that should satisfy all but the most hardcore of punk fans. Bringing light to the shade are the sunny Tomahawks For Targets from Newcastle, Sunderland’s superb, trippy Hyde & Beast, featuring both a Futurehead and a Golden Virgin, and the jangly Ganglians with their dreamy Sacramento psych-rock. A homecoming gig for pop ‘n’ rollers Frankie and the Heartstrings is worth wearing a quiff for, before headliners the Charlatans put on the granddad shirts and baggy jumpers and shake it like it’s 1990.

If that feast of musical goodness wasn’t enough, there’s a literal feast on offer, with Masterchef finalist Stacie Stewart cooking up a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in honour of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, which, rhymingly enough, was written in Sunderland. Not to mention the superb Fringe Tent, with Beth Orton headlining the Saturday, or Sunday’s enviable comedy line-up. A veritable treat for a modest price – even Geordies must be tempted to cross the river for it.

General Admission tickets are available for Saturday, Sunday and the whole weekend. Prices are £25.00 for a day ticket and £40.00 for a weekend ticket (booking and postage fees apply). There is an additional VIP ticket option called ‘Friends of Split’, giving you access to the festival on either Saturday, Sunday or the whole weekend plus access to the ‘Friends of Split’ area where there will be a dedicated bar service with local Real ales, lagers and spirits and a luxury seating area, you will also receive some Split branded merchandise including a ‘Friends of Split’ t-shirt. Prices for Friends of Split tickets are £44.00 for a day ticket and £71.50 for a weekend ticket (inclusive of booking fees, postage fees apply). For more information, visit the official Split Festival Web site.

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