Sunderland's Kubix music festival is coming back for a second year, despite heavy losses
A retro music festival which made its bow in Sunderland this year is coming back in 2019 - and it hopes to be here to stay.
Kubix Festival, which was held at Herrington County Park in August, has announced another two-day extravaganza, on July 5 and 6, 2019.
Despite some teething problems at this year's inaugural event, and having to heavily discount tickets, the organisers are determined Wearside should have its own music festival, and believe they can make a success of it.
This year's line-up included Ronan Keating, B*witched and Peter Andre on the pop night, and Adam Ant, Boomtown Rats and Buzzcocks on the second, more alternative, day.
Alex Hutchinson, one of the directors of Wannasee Ltd, which organises Kubix, said: "We got a lot of flak over this year's festival, and my initial reaction was 'we've tried and it didn't work' and to walk away, but I didn't want to do that.
"By the time we paid all the bands, we knew we were going to lose a lot of money, as it didn't sell like we had hoped, but a lot of people had bought tickets, so we thought we'd go ahead with it anyway, so those people could have a good time.
"Yes, people who had bought full-price tickets weren't happy when we discounted them just before the event, and when we gave some away, but we had 5,000 people a day through the gates, and most of those people had a great time.
"We did some negative feedback in the immediate aftermath, and yes, we did get some things wrong. But we were two local guys who wanted to give Sunderland a music festival to be proud of, not some big company.
"The negative comments died down after a few days, and it started to emerge on social media that a lot more people had had a great time, which persuaded us to do it again, even though we lost a lot of money.Friday, July 5, will be Kubix's Friday Night Party, when the park will hold Wearside's dance-pop party of the summer.
Pop legends S Club are the headliners, and the bill also includes Five, 911, Whigfield, and, headlining the new dance tent, The Artful Dodger.
Also appearing are Eurodance hit makers Technotronic and Snap, and rounding off the night, flying in from Chicago, ‘Boom Boom Boom’ - it’s The Outhere Brothers.
The next day will again have a much more alternative and rock feel, and the main stage headliners will be 1970s punk icons The Stranglers, featuring local musician Baz Warne.
They will be joined by Echo & The Bunnymen and Embrace, while Peter Hook & The Light will return from this year, and other bands appearing include Cast, Black Grape, The Alarm and Big Country.
The new Big Top Second Stage will feature a number of local bands, to be announced soon, plus some great names. The first bands announced for the stage are The Farm and The Sex P*ssed Dolls.
Tickets for Kubix 2019 are batched into releases (early bird, first, second and third releases) which have fixed prices. Early bird tickets are Â£20 per day - "it would cost you that to see one of the bands alone," says Hutchinson.
"The early bird tickets are a sincere and genuine gesture to all those local music fans who kindly supported us in our first year - it was the least we could do," he added. "Sales have already been good, even though most people's money is spoken for at this time of year.
"We're thinking of it as a three to five-year plan, and I'll be happy if we can make a smaller loss in 2019 and then see Kubix pay for itself and even make a small profit by year three.
"There'll be various announcements in the coming weeks about changes and improvements that we've made to the festival based on everyone's feedback from last year.
"I missed out on Sunderland's phenomenal live music scene of the '80s and '90s, but I think the city has enough people who are passionate about music to support a festival like this."
Early bird tickets for Kubix 2019 are Â£20 per day, or Â£33 for the weekend, and are available online at www.kubixfestival.com or from the ticket hotline 0844 249 1000.