One of the city’s most important industrial history monuments will form an imposing backdrop to a new music festival.
As well as the spectacle of the Ryhope Engines Museum’s steam engines being fired up, visitors to the site on August 28 can look forward to a day of free music.
The Heavenly Thrillbillies and Auld Man’s Baccie are among those who will take to the stage at The Station Steam Up and Americana Roots Music Show which will features a range of genres, from folk, blues and gypsy jazz to bluegrass and ragtime.
Phil Wynn, from Tunstall, banjo player with The Heavenly Thrillbillies and one of the organisers of the event, said: “I’m good friends with one of the trustees at the pumping station and it’s a fascinating place. But it always seems to attract a set type of visitor.
“There’s a lot of music and cultural activity taking place in the city to tie in with the City of Culture bid so we thought we’d have a go at organising something ourselves.
“We thought that staging a festival here would help attract a new audience to the site. It’s amazing how many people still don’t know it’s here. It could also help to introduce the existing visitors to a different type of music.”
Each act will be performing a 30 minute set over the course of the festival, which runs from noon until 5pm, and all have given their time for free.
Phil added: “We’re dipping our toe in the water this year but we really hope it will take off and become bigger next year.”
The line up so far at the festival includes: Pipedream, Auld Man’s Baccie, George Pallas, Will Blyth, Gypsy Jazz with Marc Playle and Phil Wynn, John Wilkins, The Heavenly Thrillbillies and Jim Bullock on harmonica.
Built in 1868, Ryhope Pumping Station once provided clean water to the people of Sunderland.
Though the station ceased operations in 1967, its two 100 horsepower beam engines are kept in working order by volunteer members of the Ryhope Engines Trust and are steamed only a few times a year.
•The Station Steam Up and Americana Roots Music Show takes place on Sunday, August 28, to coincide with a steaming day at Ryhope Engines Museum. Entry to the gig is free.