FEATURE: Sunderland ready for Split Festival + VIDEO

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WHETHER you’re into punk heroes, fledgeling folk acts or the sound of Sunderland, there’s something for everyone at this year’s Split Festival.

The weekend sees the annual spectacular’s most eclectic line up yet, with gig-goers eagerly anticipating what acts including Johnny Rotten’s Public Image Limited and Pulled Apart by Horses will bring to a usually sedate, leafy suburb of Sunderland.

Four years into the festival and Ashbrooke Sports Ground is now well versed on how to cater for thousands of music fans.

The huge tents are already in place and a giant screen will kick off the festivities tonight with a free screening of Shrek at 6.15pm and School of Rock at 8pm.

Though Split will incorporate film, food, art, comedy and even a vintage fair this year, at its core is good music which will take place from noon on Saturday and Sunday.

Fresh from being nominated for Album of the Year in this year’s Mercury Music Prize, Field Music, led by brothers Peter and David Brewis, look set to deliver an electric set on Sunday.

“This year’s line up is amazing,” said Peter. “I really think Ross (Millard) and The Futureheads (who spearhead the festival) have got it spot on. I’m not just saying that because we’re playing, there’s a great mix, from legendary acts that have been around for years such as PiL and St Etienne, to great, new up-and-coming acts and contemporary acts like Pulled Apart by Horses.”

He added: “I really think people should support Split. There’s nothing else like this anywhere, let alone in Sunderland, it really is unique. I’m going to try to see as much of it as I can. Sadly This Ain’t Vegas will be setting up at the same time as us, but I definitely want to try to see them.”

Field Music, who record their music from their studio on the banks of the River Wear, have been nominated for a Mercury Music Prize for their fourth album Plumb which stands alongside offerings from Plan B and The Maccabees in the album of the year category.

 Speaking about being on one of the most prestigious shortlists in the music award’s industry, Peter said: “We kind of didn’t think about it. We always thought as a band heavy on guitar, drums and piano that we kind of fell under the radar for the Mercury Prize. It was a really nice surprise to be nominated though, I’ve followed Mercury since day one.

“The fact that it’s for the album is great because that’s the thing we’re most interested in. The first thing we think about is the album. The album format is still important to a lot of people, it’s a way of entering into another person’s world. You experience music on their terms.”

He added: “I’ve no idea why this particularly record was chosen. I think it’s our best yet, but I think all our records are good. I think it’s probably our best received record and someone judging Mercury has liked it. I’m pretty sure we not going to win it though.”

The band themselves may be modest but they promise to be one of the jewels in the crown of this year’s Split. Catch them if you can.

l Tickets for Split Festival are priced £25 for a day or £40 for the weekend. Under 18 and student tickets are £17.50 for a day or £30 for a weekend. Visit www.splitfestival.com.

Twitter: @sunechokaty