INDIE rockers The Charlatans will headline this year’s Split Festival, the Echo can reveal.
The band, who enjoyed huge success in the 90s with their anthemic tunes, will take to the stage at Ashbrooke Sports Club on September 18 as part of the weekend-long music bonanza.
Organisers of the annual festival, now in its third year, say this will be the best Split yet with appearances from dozens of acts including local favourites Frankie & The Heartstrings; Saturday headliners and American indie pop band, The Drums; Hyde & Beast, The Dutch Uncles and more.
Barry Hyde, from The Futureheads, who has helped to drive the festival since its inception, said: “In a way this is the first ever Split Festival. What I mean by that is that we have never had at our fingertips the world-class facilities that we have now.
“Previously, we had a soulful festival, but its facilities were limited. Now we are able to make this a truly brilliant event.”
He added: “I think Sunderland has always struggled in the past to get exciting bands to come here. But if we can make that happen, we can make them experience Sunderland at its best, which is at a big gig.”
Thousands are expected to descend on the sports club over the weekend of September 17 and 18.
As well as top-of-the-range sound equipment, the festival will include a black-out marquee used at large-scale festivals such as Glastonbury.
The family-orientated festival will also feature comedy and acoustic artists and a gourmet tent hosted by BBC Masterchef finalist Stacie Stewart.
Martin Blunt, from The Charlatans, said: “We’re really looking forward to playing at The Split Festival and I think that it will be one of the last festivals we’re doing for some time because after that we’ll be in the studio.
“But we’re looking forward to playing Sunderland as our take-up has always been really good in the North East.
“We’ve got Frankie & the Heartstrings on before us and I’ve heard a lot of good things about them and I think we’ll be up early doors anyway for Split, so I’ll go and have a wander round and check out the up and coming acts, as I know there will be some good ones playing.”
Tickets for the festival, which will also include sets from Leatherface, Ganglians and We Beat the System, are priced £20 for a day or £35 for a weekend ticket. After August 31, the price will increase to £25 for a day ticket or £40 for a weekend ticket.
Ross Millard, Split Music programmer and The Futureheads’ guitarist, said: “We’re incredibly excited about The Drums.
“It was really important that on the Saturday night we’ve got a new band that has an immense level of excitement around them and they are the band that is summing up the modern element of Split Festival this year, with the other side of the coin being Sunday night’s headliners, The Charlatans, who have innumerable anthems.
“At the end of the Sunday when everyone is getting a little bit emotional and a little bit carried away with themselves, on come the Charlatans to play you through a greatest hits set and it couldn’t really be better. That’s something which is really important about Split. We have got someone valid to close the festival on Sunday night. It’s Glastonbury-esque. ”
* See the Echo later in the week for more on the festival.
* For more information visit www.splitfestival.com