Flying the flag for Sunderland at North East festival

Ross Millard, second left, with Drifts
Ross Millard, second left, with Drifts
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With Sunderland music legends The Futureheads on hiatus, guitarist Ross Millard is set to wow crowds at this year’s Evolution Emerging Festival with his new band Drifts.

 The post-punk project from members of The Futureheads, Rivals and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaind will perform at the event in Newcastle on Saturday, May 28, and will join over 40 artists in a takeover of the city’s top musical haunts.

 Ross said he’s looking forward to hooking up with fellow Sunderland musicians and flying the flag for Wearside.

 Ross said: “We can’t wait to play at Evolution Emerging because it’s a chance to play in front of a different audience. Because of the way each stage is curated, and given that we haven’t done a great deal in Newcastle yet, it’s also a chance for us enjoy playing a show right on our doorstep.

 “I’m also looking forward to seeing James Leonard Hewitson – he has been playing the trumpet on tour with Frankie & the Heartstrings, so he’s a good friend of mine. Evolution Emerging will be one of his first shows.

 “Kingsley Chapman & The Murder will no doubt be another highlight of the festival, and The Welcome Party are also friends of ours, so we’ll be hoping to catch their set as well.

 “Events like Evolution Emerging are important because it’s an inner-city festival that gets people hyped up about local music. It makes good use of available venues and brings a bit of excitement to the local music scene.

 “The North East is currently lacking a high-profile ‘mainstream’ festival, so Evolution Emerging is a good platform for local artists to play to a new audience, and a bigger audience in many cases.”

 Building on two consecutive sold out events, the festival organisers, Generator, have revealed the final line-up for this year’s Evolution Emerging festival.

 The Evolution Emerging team have said they were overwhelmed to receive over 450 artists submissions this year and are thrilled to be showcasing a diverse line-up with 44 artists performing at the 2016 event, including two national acts selected through Generator’s continued partnership with independent music publisher Sentric Music.

 On Saturday, May 28, 44 of the best emerging artists will take over ten venues in the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle, with special guest headliners Cattle & Cane.

 Generator’s artist development manager, Bob Allan says: “Drifts will no doubt be a highlight at this year’s showdown and we can’t wait to see them in action. Sunderland bands have continued to impress over the years and form a crucial part of the region’s musical landscape.

 “Following another sold out year we’re excited to be heading into our eighth Evolution Emerging festival, the event continues to showcase the best new artists from the North East alongside some of our favourites from around the UK.

 “The growth of this event is a testament to the talent that thrives in our region and the appetite of festival-goers to discover the best we have to offer. We’re excited to fill once again the Ouseburn Valley with more than 40 new artists and continue to shine a national spotlight on the abundance of emerging talent that graces our stage each year.”

 Speaking of the current musical scene in Sunderland, Ross added: “I like Rhys Patterson.  He’s a young lad who has already had a good taste of the world of touring with Slug and is now striking out on his own, playing his songs.

 “I think Sunderland is in an OK state music-wise.  There could always be more.  Bands aren’t quite as pro-active when it comes to organising, communicating and working together as they were maybe ten years ago, so there isn’t quite the same strength in the DIY music community, but there are still good bands out there.

 “And with Pop Recs and the Independent music venue in Sunderland, there are the spaces for them to play, too. 

 “I think the MAC fire station project and a new venue might also light a fire under some young kids who are thinking about learning instruments and starting bands – I’m looking forward to seeing what effect that has on the city.”

•For more information about Evolution Emerging 2016 and to buy tickets visit www.evolutionemerging.com