However this is Hardwick Live. The event has been a pillar in our local music scene since it launched in 2013. The weekend of festivities offers live music (obviously), food and attractions with a family-friendly atmosphere.
When I get there, the discovery stage is already in full swing, and has no shortage of talent or diversity. I get there in time to catch the captivating opening act Mano Mclaughlin, and stick around afterwards to see BLOXX – an impressive alt rock band that performs with a fierce passion.
The discovery stage proves magnetic throughout the day. I find myself drawn back to hear some incredible performances from Zuzu, Saint Agnes, and Catherine McGrath. Every artist that graces the stage is spectacular, and it would be no surprise to see any of them soon seizing much larger stages.
Over at the main stage, I arrive for local band The Lake Poets. A spellbound crowd of hundreds eagerly support the band. The act sing their praises for the North-East that they – and most of the crowd – call home.
A few hours later, and the crowd has snowballed into thousands. With an entourage of instrumentals and dancers, Sister Sledge shine brighter than the sun above them. They perform classics like ‘Lost in Music’ and ‘We Are Family’ and at times bring up excited members of the audience to dance alongside them.
Stiff Little Fingers follow, and quickly pivot the crowd from disco to punk rock. Unapologetically loud and electric, the Northern Irish band inject more chaos into the festival than any other. Frontman Jake Burns frequently entertains the crowd with anecdotes ranging from heartbreaking to hilarious, and speaks sincerely on mental health to rousing applause.