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“We’re in a region with a strong culture of artists”

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Published on 31 July 2023

Barry Hyde (right) and Dan Donnelly
Barry Hyde (right) and Dan Donnelly

Futureheads frontman and University of Sunderland programme leader Barry Hyde has joined forces with one of the north-east’s biggest new music festivals to help boost local talent. 

Generator Live, which has been the springboard for talent including Sam Fender, has announced the line-ups for a series of warm-up gigs (Generator Live Fringe) in Sunderland, Stockton and the Ouseburn taking place throughout August 2023 – as it gears up for an all-day showcase at Boiler Shop, Newcastle, on 16 September.  

Drawn from an overwhelming response to an open call to play the festival, the line-ups for the gigs at Newcastle’s Tyne BarSunderland’s Pop Recs and Stockton’s Georgian Theatre feature some of the region’s most hotly tipped new talent.

The gigs all take place in the month prior to the main festival day:

  • Tyne Bar – 12 August
  • Pop Recs – 18 August
  • Georgian Theatre – 26 August

Enlisting the help of the region’s successful music talents to curate the three stages has provided an opportunity for these music legends to give back to the burgeoning music industry in the area.  

Sunderland quartet The Futureheads, alongside Newcastle-based rock band Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs and Teesside indie legend Paul Smith from Maximo Park, have been working diligently to whittle down the applicants into an eclectic line up for each stage, with acts ranging from ranging from electronic showstoppers to experimental rock, catchy indie-pop to harmonic hip hop. 

The full line-ups can be viewed at www.generatorlive.org.uk 

Futureheads frontman Barry Hyde, who leads the University’s Modern Music Industries degree alongside singer-songwriter Dan Donnelly as part of the Northern Academy of Music Education (NAME), said: “The north-east music scene is the most eclectic it’s ever been, and we’re pleased to be involved in bringing some great bands to Pop Recs as part of the Generator Live Fringe.

“We’re in a region with a strong culture of artists doing their own thing - not getting caught up in the industry rat-race. It means that the bands usually sound unique and have some proper personality.” 

For more than 30 years Generator has been at the forefront of growing and nurturing music talent across the region and ensuring that the industry is sustainable for the future. 

The festival has grown out of two previous events – Evolution Emerging and Tipping Point – with the former giving a then relatively unknown Sam Fender one of his first live performance opportunities back in 2014.  

Generator Live has been created not just to show the vast amount of musical ability that exists in the region, but to also ensure that it represents diversity and gender balance through its commitment to the Keychange pledge.  

Along with the main event, the festival will also see a conference attended by hundreds of key players in the music industry the day before, giving the region’s musicians unprecedented access to movers and shakers through a series of workshops, masterclasses and seminars.  

The festival’s lead producer and Generator’s Head of Creative Development, Helen Walkinshaw, said: “We are really excited to share this year’s line-up of incredible north-east artists, who represent such a wide range of genres and influences, from across the region.

“Generator Live Festival is our annual opportunity to shout about some of the north-east talent we're working with through our multiple ongoing talent development programmes, we also discover new talent through artist submissions and curated stages and platform artists who we feel are at a tipping point in their career trajectory.” 

University of Sunderland students will receive 10% off festival tickets when using the code STUDENTS23.

Full price general admission is £15 plus fees and tickets include access to the main stage at Boiler Shop, all three fringe gigs and the World HQ electronic stage afterparty. Tickets for individual fringe gigs can also be purchased on a ‘pay what you can’ basis.  
Tickets are available from www.generatorlive.org.uk

Tickets are also available for free for registered NHS users of Tickets For Good and via charities who are part of the Tickets For Good platform.