Wearside Matters: Emerging artists set for battle at Sunniside Live

Social Room on stage.
Social Room on stage.
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Emerging acts are once again being given the chance to take to the stage with some of music’s biggest names, after the launch of Sunniside Live’s Battle of the Band competition.

Sunniside Live, Sunderland’s only city centre music festival, returns on Friday, July 7, with a host of musical talent, including headliner, Heather Small singing the hits of M People.

Indie fans of all ages will also enjoy the line-up, with Saturday’s headline act - a band that helped define Manchester’s music scene – The Happy Mondays, fronted by Sean Ryder.

This year, event organisers Helen Davies and Sean Maddison are appealing for up-and-coming acts to join the line-up and have opened up an online Battle of the Bands competition to find the best undiscovered talent to take to the stage and entertain the crowds.

Helen, who also runs Bar Justice and Gin & Bear It, in Sunderland, said: “This is an opportunity for up-and-coming acts to hit the stage in front more than 4,000 music lovers and share the bill with some of the industry’s finest artists.

“We have been inundated with acts wanting a chance to perform at this year’s festival. We couldn’t possibly have chosen out of them all, so instead we want to let the public decide.”

Entries are open to solo performers and bands of all genres, featuring up to eight members, though all participants must be at least 16 years of age.

Applicants can complete the online form at www.sunnisidelive.co.uk along with a video clip of a previous performance by no later than Friday, April 14.

All submissions will be uploaded to Sunniside Live’s website, where a public vote will run from April 15 to June 2.

The overall competition winner will be announced on June 3, and will go on to open the two-day event on Saturday, July 8, leading a line-up that includes The Happy Mondays, The Farm, Chris Helme (The Seahorses), Social Room (Battle of the Band Winners 2015) and local band Lord Swans.

Matty Smith, lead vocals from Social Room, who won the first Battle of the Bands at Sunniside Live 2015, said: “It was a great opportunity to have a chance to play at Sunniside Live. We had a great night and the place was packed.

“The gig opened up a lot of doors for us and gave us a chance to showcase our music on a big stage in front of a massive crowd.”

Sunniside Live 2017 will run from 4pm to 11pm on Friday, July 7 and noon to 10pm on Saturday, July 8, with a number of food stalls, licenced bars, a VIP area, retro a Pimm’s van and a bottle and spirits stall open throughout the day.

Gemma Dishman, marketing and communications manager at Sunderland BID, said: “This is set to be a fantastic event, with phenomenally talented artists, and that can only be enhanced by adding some of the incredible local talent we have to be part of the event.

“We have a fantastic music scene in the city, something that is evident in our city centre on an evening, when many of our pubs and bars feature live local talent.

“To have them take to the stage at an event like Sunniside Live is great, and I am sure this will be hotly-contested.”

Tickets are priced from £17.50 each, to £35 for the full weekend. There are also limited VIP tickets available.

Ticket are on sale now at www.sunnisidelive.co.uk/ or in person at Gin & Bear It, 200 High Street West, Sunderland, or Bar Justice, 47 West Sunniside, Sunderland.

More about the event can also be found by emailing info@sunnisidelive.co.uk following @SunnisideLive on Twitter or searching SunnisideLIVE on Facebook. Entry to Battle of the Bands is free.

Award-winning Asian superstar Gurdas Maan to sing in Sunderland

One of the most influential artists of his generation is coming to Sunderland for the first time in more than a decade, in an event that will celebrate vibrant Asian culture and traditions.

Gurdas Maan, a high profile multi award-winning artist and actor, lyricist and producer is coming to the city on Sunday, May 21, for a concert that is expected to bring together Asian communities from across the region.

The artist, who has written over 300 songs, boasts a fan base across the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, and will be performing at the Sunderland Empire Theatre, at an event organised by Sunderland businessman Kam Chera and VIPs Entertainment in association with UK Box Office.

Gurdas Maan’s loyal fans span four generations, and it is thought they will flock in their thousands to see the Indian-born singer perform some of his best-known hits.

Maan shot to fame with his hit song ‘Dil Da Mamla Hai’ and has since enjoyed a string of successes, even staring in blockbuster Bollywood hits during a star-studded career.

Kam Chera, founder of TFI Events, has made the event possible, and said it is fantastic to see Gurdas Maan performing in Sunderland.

Mr Chera said: “Gurdas Maan has incredible appeal in Asian communities – he is an iconic figure, and one that will be of interest to people of all ages and backgrounds.

“We are incredibly excited to be bringing him to Sunderland, to perform in one of the city’s most stunning venues, and we’re sure it will bring fans from across the North East, keen to catch a glimpse of an Asian superstar.”

He added: “Gurdas Maan’s music appeals to people of all cultures; we expect this to be a very popular event, so I would urge people to get booking. They’ll be in for a fantastic night.”

Gary Hutchinson, chairman of Sunderland Business Partnership, said: “Sunderland is a diverse, culturally vibrant city, and it is great to be able to attract an artist like Gurdas, who celebrates this diversity through his music.

“Sunderland has grown a reputation for its ability to stage national and internally significant events, and this is one that will have real significance to our Asian communities, who will know and admire his great work.”

Tickets from Sunderland Empire Theatre Box office, via their website or telephone. Prices start from £25 to £75.