The home-grown headliners of a popular Sunderland music festival are looking forward to a rare appearance in their home city.
Frankie and the Heartstrings are appearing at this year’s Summer Streets festival, which will be held on Saturday, July 15, in Thompson Park, Southwick.
Lead singer Frankie Francis was excited at the prospect: “The Heartstrings are taking time out from writing our fourth studio album for this rare appearance in our home town. We will be playing a greatest hits set with a full brass ensemble, so it’s definitely not to be missed.
“Summer Streets is an opportunity for the community to get together and enjoy a great afternoon of music and activities. It’s not very often these occasions come along and not very common place to find that these are free.”
The festival is once again being organised by Ross Millard, guitarist and singer for both Frankie and the Heartstrings and The Futureheads.
“The programme is coming together nicely and there’s a great mix of different types of music and activities for the whole family to enjoy,” said Ross.
Northern indie band, Warm Digits, will play the free festival in advance of the release of their new album, Wireless World, in August. The band will appear fresh from their success on the award-winning World War One centenary project, Asunder, on which they worked with Sunderland band Field Music.
Country trio and Summer Streets regulars The Heavenly Thrillbillies are on the bill and also making a welcome return are Hylton Ukes.
Archie Brown and the Prisoners of Fender, Dennis and Sunderland-based up-and-comers Picnic will be playing, alongside other recently-formed local bands Post-Rome and Nostalgia.
North-East folk heroes Cath and Phil Tyler will be performing at the festival, and also getting the crowd involved in some Americana-influenced ‘sacred harp’ harmony singing with a workshop earlier in the day. Other workshops on offer around Thompson Park will include have-a-go sessions on Caribbean Steel Pan drums, West African djembes and bass drums, and Jennie Brewis of The Cornshed Sisters will be running a drop-in choir session, where audience members can have a go at singing a medley of classic pop hits in easy-to-learn four-part harmony.
“We’ll be learning new arrangements of one or two pop classics in a very social and relaxed atmosphere,” explained Jennie.
Summer Streets has always been a festival of musical variety and this year’s event will be no exception. As well as rock, jazz and folk, the Oompah Brass Band will bring the sounds of a ‘rock and roll German oompah band’ while there’ll also be the more soothing tones of Sunderland Symphony Orchestra Strings section.
Food and drinks stalls will include Holmeside Coffee and Wylam Brewery.
This year’s Summer Streets is being funded by the Cultural Spring, Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts scheme, Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust and Sunderland Music Education Hub.
The Cultural Spring is an Arts Council funded project working to increase participation in the arts on Wearside and South Tyneside.
Emma Horsman, Project Director of the Cultural Spring said: “The spectrum of different types of music that Ross has put together for this year’s festival is really impressive and I’m sure music fans across the north east and beyond are very much looking forward to July 15.”