Sunderland band Picnic which played Dave Stewart's 65th birthday gig gearing up for string of festival dates

An emerging Sunderland band, who’ve already caught the ear of rock star Dave Stewart and presenter Holly Willoughby, are gearing up for a string of festival dates.

Monday, 17th February 2020, 10:38 am
Six-piece band Picnic. Photo by Issac Johnson

Most of the band members of six-piece Picnic met whilst studying at Sunderland College and Sunderland University and in the four years since forming have already had their music featured on This Morning, where presenter Holly dubbed their music “cute”, and were one of three local bands selected by Eurythmics star Dave Stewart to perform at his 65th birthday gig at Sunderland Empire.

Now, band mates Eddie Scott, Robyn Walker, Kris Gray, Matty Rawding, Olivia Ord and Callum Wilson are gearing up for their busiest spring yet, performing at a number of festivals including Hit The North in Newcastle on May 3 and This Is Tomorrow in Exhibition Park, Newcastle, on May 22, as well as a headline slot on March 14 at Riverside 2 in Newcastle.

This year will also see the release of the band’s first single, I Need Everybody, with new management team, Think Tank? Records, which showcases their sound that blends indie with jazz, funk and pop.

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The band release their new single on March 4

Frontwoman Robyn said: “I Need Everybody appears joyful and rosy. However, dig a little deeper and you'll find that the lyrical content divulges struggles with loneliness and the fear of missing out - a growing concern among the youth culture of today.

“Although they may be among one of the most connected generations of all time, it can be a struggle to find true companionship. I Need Everybody is probably the most personal Picnic song to date. It's about realising how reliant I am on other people, after thinking the complete opposite for many years. It came about when I was planning to move to Japan on my own, and just thinking about the sheer level of isolation and loneliness I'd face. The main message is that it's OK to need people around you, and to ask for help, which I think is still hugely stigmatised and mistaken for weakness.”

Speaking about the band, who’ve also performed at Sunniside Live festival in Sunderland and Lindisfarne festival in Northumberland among other dates over the years, Robyn added: “There's a real buzz within the band at the minute as I think we've really started to think about the bigger picture and dare to dream a little bit.

“We're really focused on setting ambitious goals, but also on making sure that the quality of the songs never suffer because of them. The main drive at the minute is to do more of everything that we've been doing all these years, and making it bigger every time. The ethos that will never change is that everything we do is for the people who support us; we've always been a band that has had the audience experience at the forefront of everything we do, and that will never change, no matter how big or small that audience is.”