A Wearside schoolboy raised the roof at Kendal Calling after being invited to perform by The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess.
Tom Smith, 12, from East Rainton, followed in the footsteps of Pete Doherty by packing out the Tim Peaks Diner stage at the annual Cumbrian music festival, which was headlined by Rudimental, Madness and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at the weekend.
The Houghton Kepier School pupil caught the ear of indie hero Tim after tweeting him in April with his cover of David Bowie track Lazarus.
Tim was so impressed he invited Tom to play his Tim Peaks Diner stage, which has become famed for its intimate acoustic sets at the festival, with highlights also including a secret set by Pete Doherty and a set by Blossoms.
Performing to a packed house with two of his own songs, as well as covers of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger and Tightrope by The Stone Roses, which he performed with sister Hannah, ten, is the latest coup for talented Tom.
Not only has he already shared the stage with chart-topper James Bay, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Hyde & Beast, Tom has also appeared at festivals including Glastonbury and T in the Park, as well as a show-stopping set at the SAFC Fan Zone.
Tom often uses his gigs as a platform to promote the Little Hearts Matter charity, which has helped him to live with a rare heart condition.
Being born with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome, which means the left side of his heart is severely underdeveloped, has put some limitations on Tom’s ability to play sport. So he’s thrown himself into his other passion: music.
Proud dad Andrew Smith, who runs car dealership TRG Houghton, said: “Aside from Pete Doherty and Blossoms, Tom probably drew the biggest crowd to the diner stage, the atmosphere was amazing. He’s played bigger stages at O2 Academy but he prefers the more intimate venues.
“He had a great weekend and everyone at the festival was brilliant with him. We had artist wristbands and hospitality and they’d arranged for drummer Blair Murray from Twisted Wheel to perform with him.”
Speaking earlier in the year about booking Tom to perform, Tim said: “Tom tweeted me his David Bowie cover and asked if he could come and play at Tim Peaks. It’s as simple as that sometimes – he’s really talented, so we found a space on the bill for him. Twitter’s good like that.”