Live music event celebrates 21 years of making people Smile

Dave Murray, right, with young musicians at a previous Smile concert
Dave Murray, right, with young musicians at a previous Smile concert
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An inspirational music project which has fostered some of the city’s brightest talents is turning 21.

Live music will ring out at Mowbray Park on Saturday for the annual Smile Concert, which provides a platform for young people who attend the Sunderland Music Workshops.

Over the past two decades, the project, which has seen members of Field Music and The Futureheads pass through its doors, has helped scores of young people to write, record and perform their own music.

Recent success stories from the workshops, based at Deptford and Millfield Community Centre, include Ian Black, the lead singer of Slug, who this year released their debut album, and young band Fire Lady Luck, who’ve just been signed to an independent record label. Ian will welcome everyone to the concert, which runs from noon to 4pm, while Fire Lady Luck will be one of the bands performing.

The bill also includes Tammy Proctor, Bad Love, Peter Carmody, Trinity, Corine Andrews, North Divide, Illuminate The Abyss and The Mackem Folk Singer.

Youth worker Dave Murray, who founded the Sunderland Music Workshops, said: “The show gives young musicians and artists the chance to perform in front of the local community, parents, friends and the general public.

“The idea of the workshops was always to get young people to socialise with each other, rather than standing about on street corners.

“Music is a good vehicle, but the idea is to boost their self-esteem and confidence and to make them a positive part of society.”

This Saturday’s concert, which is being staged in partnership with Sunderland City Council and the Museum and Winter Gardens, will also feature free face painting and family crafts.