The inaugural festival had to be postponed twice due to the pandemic, but has been rescheduled for summer 2022, when it will bring a host of top live music to Mowbray Park on August 5-7.
An additional third date of August 5, headlined by Jack, means he joins previously announced headliners Kaiser Chiefs (Saturday, August 6) and Deacon Blue (Sunday, August 7) for this three-day celebration of music.
Ahead of the festival, the singer / songwriter, who has two No 1 albums under his belt, Europiana and Singing to Strangers, chats to We Are Sunderland.
Everything you need to know about Sunderland's Summer Streets as family festival returns this weekend
Superfast full fibre broadband coming to Seaham as Grain announces town about to 'go live'
New exhibition raises a glass to the colourful history of Pyrex in Sunderland, one hundred years on
Review of Spent Grain as it helps change the face of dining out in Sunderland city centre
Meet the new Top Model of Sunderland as she lifts the crown at annual contest
Q: How did it feel to see Europiana debut at number one last summer?
A::It’s safe to say it was nuts having an album called Europiana get to number one. And I think it was the fifth anniversary of Brexit, but this isn’t a political album. There’s nothing political about this album whatsoever. It was just a celebration of a culture that I grew up in. I put British music in European music.
I don’t separate the two which is exactly why I wanted to make the album here because I think Abbey Road is the mecca of European music.
I just wanted to celebrate the variety of aspirations of European music and how it is different from American music, African music, South American music, and I feel like it doesn’t really get represented in a weird way. We have all these names for these other genres. But there wasn’t really a name for European music.
Q: It’s definitely got that holiday feel to it…
That was the point of reference. During lockdown I was really heartbroken that my children weren’t being able to have this sort of experience as I did at their age. It took me back to being their age and having holidays with my parents and my parents were living either in the mountains or by the sea and there is a soundtrack to that.
And it’s still fundamentally the same soundtrack, you’ll still hear the same music from the last 60 years creep in even when you go now. I just wanted to play that today.
It was escapism; it was a way of giving them this kind of holiday through music. And it made me ‘wonder why don’t we play this music more often?’ ‘Why do I only listen to this when I’m on holiday?’ It makes me feel so good. Why don’t we do this all the time? Why don’t I make an album like that? So that’s what I did.
Q: It must feel amazing to be back performing together imminently?
A: Last summer, we did a few festivals and it was scary. Questioning are we good enough? Do we know how to do this? And then, not to be cliche, but it’s like riding a bike. It was just amazing to be reminded about why we do this. We can sit here all day, isolation or not, music is always going to be there for us. I can always sit at a piano and play, I can always grab a guitar and just walk through a room and sing, we can all do that.
But that connection you have with a group of people that you don’t know - with an audience and to suddenly feel that energy again was so overwhelming. We might have got to a point where we took it a little bit for granted, that.
We’ve been touring for 15 years - not that it ever got old, we always loved it. But we forgot how powerful that connection and that energy can be.
For us as well for us, the audience gives us so much, which we might have taken for granted; how much we need an audience as much as the audience needs music.
It’s the greatest feeling in the world having the audience joining you. There’s nothing better than a sing-along because you all jump onto the same wave and it’s very bonding, it makes you feel very safe.
Q: Are you looking forward to coming back to the North East and what can the audience expect from your set at Lamplight?
A: We’re about to go on tour in the next month and we’ve just put out an album, but it’s actually been almost a year since the album was written and conceived. So we are going to go out and play loads of stuff from Europiana.
But this isn’t a promotion tool; we want to go out and play music. We miss a lot of the old stuff.
We want the show to be a show, we really want it to be something where people can reconnect as well as hear new stuff. And we’ve always been like that. I never forget old friends is what I always say.
There are some songs that you just know feel amazing when you play because people will know them. It’s such a luxury and a pleasure and an honour to even have that opportunity that you might have a song that people know. And I never understand why some people take that for granted where they’re like, ‘oh no, I’m only playing the new stuff’.
Q: Are you touring throughout 2022 or will you have space to write?
A: I’ve been writing quite a lot in the last two months and we’re releasing a follow-on from the last album called Europiana Encore. It’s almost a new album so it’s definitely not just an acoustic version of the songs on the album.
But Europiana is more of a film than an album in a weird way. This is like the soundtrack of a film that I would love to make and Encore is a sequel to it.
*Lamplight Festival is at Mowbray Park from August 5-7. Tickets from seetickets.com