One of the festival line-ups that has just been announced and got me fairly excited is the one of Stockton Calling. The festival has proven itself to be the inner city that is a buzzing hub to discover up and coming artists from the North East and around. I was interested to hear more about how the festival came together and where the organisers find their favourite yet undiscovered acts. My questions got answered by Paul Burns of Tees Music Alliance.
How did Stockton Calling come together?
The Georgian Theatre and Ku Bar held separate all day events over the Easter weekend of 2009 – and people seemed to enjoy them. Rather than repeat another set of competing gigs the following year, we decided to join forces and invite ARC to take part… and it’s grown from there!
What was the inspiration for an inner-city festival instead of just one location?
The collaborative approach, we all had our own venues and we wanted something greater than the sum of the parts. Using our own venues keeps costs down, for example; we didn’t have to build an outdoor festival site from scratch. It’s also a bit quirkier to encourage that walking tour of venues.
How much time do you take for every edition to organise the festival?
We usually start in about September – once the summer festivals have ended and we can begin talking to booking agents again.
Where do you find bands to play the festival?
We make lots of notes throughout the year of who is doing interesting things. Locally, we have a number of promoters who we bring in to curate line ups and we use events like Songs From Northern Britain to bring new artists through.
How do you keep improving the festival and how do you keep it refreshing?
We try not to have the same artists playing more than two years in a row and we always want to feature new artists. In terms of structure and layout it’s pretty much a case of not tinkering unnecessarily and making sure people know when and where everything is happening.
Your top three bands to keep an eye on in 2020?
Get your tickets for Stockton Calling here: www.stocktoncalling.com, the place where you can also find the artists and locations that have been announced so far!