Field Music to headline Sunderland music festival

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Homegrown talent Field Music will headline a free music festival in Sunderland this summer.

It’s been announced today that the band, who recently released their sixth album, Commontime, will take to the stage at the Summer Streets festival in Southwick.

The Mercury Prize-nominees will play on the Saturday of the festival, which will be held over the weekend of July 16 and 17 in Thompson Park.

The event, now in its third year, is being delivered on behalf of the Cultural Spring by Futureheads and Frankie & the Heartstrings musician Ross Millard.

Ross said: “We’re thrilled Field Music will be appearing at Summer Streets – they are a treasured band in Sunderland. They have a large and loyal following in their home city and beyond and have a well deserved reputation as fantastic musicians and arrangers.”

Field Music was formed in 2004 by brothers David and Peter Brewis and were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2012 for their fourth studio album, Plumb. The band are also known for their collaborations with other Wearside bands and musicians.

Another highlight of the weekend will be the Royal Northern Sinfonia (RNS) who will be performing on Sunday, July 17.

RNS, a chamber orchestra based at the Sage Gateshead, will be performing Schubert’s Death and the Maiden.

Emma Horsman, project director at the Cultural Spring, said “What we’ve tried to do with Summer Streets is showcase local bands, groups and musicians, while at the same time exposing audiences to types of music they may not have heard before.

“Through Ross’s excellent programming, that’s exactly what we’ve managed to do at our first two festivals and I’m sure this year’s event will be equally successful.”

Summer Streets will start with a parade from Southwick Primary School to Thompson Park on Saturday, July 16. The procession will start at noon, and will have a rolling roadblock behind it as it parades along the Green and on to Thompson Park Road.

The musical programme on the Saturday will run from 1pm to 7pm, with Field Music being the last performers to appear.

Ross added: “Saturday’s bands will also include the folk harmony group Cornshed Sister; the indie band Martha from Durham and South Shields band the Heavenly Thrillbillies. Other acts will include Whitburn Singers and Ed Pickford, a local singer who has been writing songs about our heritage for many years.

“There will be many more artists announced in the coming weeks – this is our first wave of performers to whet the appetite – we’re really excited about our headliners this year.

“The Sunday will have a different feel to it, with what I’m sure will be a memorable performance from Royal Northern Sinfonia. There’ll also be a theatre performance from the Putting the Band Back Together project that has been working in the Cultural Spring wards for many months.”

The BBC’s Jeff Brown and Ray Spencer from the Customs House, South Shields, will be hosting the festival and introducing the entertainment.

Street food stalls will be on site on both days, Wylam Brewery will be serving refreshments, while workshops will provide the opportunity for people to learn to play the spoons, the penny whistle orthe drums.

The Cultural Spring, an Arts Council-funded project, is working in ten wards across Sunderland and South Tyneside to boost participation in the arts.