NEWS

Review: Hardwick Live (Sunday) – 18/08/19 – Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield

22/08/2019

The picturesque grounds of Hardwick Hall Hotel in Sedgefield are usually quiet and peaceful. However, for one weekend a year the soft tweeting of birds is replaced by the sound of an impressive line-up of live acts filling the air with music thanks to Hardwick Live. The festival has been going since 2013, and it only seems to get bigger and better each year…

I was lucky enough to attend the festival on the Sunday. With a varied line up including the likes of Ziggy Marley, Only The Poets and Llovers, one of my favourite local acts, mixed in with fairground rides, comedians and a sunny weather forecast it was set to be a fantastic day.  

At the top of the hill sat the brand spanking new BBC Introducing stage, Hardwick Live’s latest addition to the festival. The Introducing stage was a lot smaller in comparison to the others, and because there was less of a crowd, nobody was packed in. 

The stage had a much more relaxed feel to it. It was the perfect place to be if you just wanted a breather or to support any of the five local acts that it was showcasing. There were a couple of times however when the lack of a large crowd caused some awkwardness. 

This included during Cherry Head, Cherry Heart’s set. The acoustic duo made an attempt and getting the audience to sing but they were just met with sparse murmurs over the muffled sound of Ziggy Marley playing in the distance.  

The highlight of the BBC Introducing stage (and maybe even the entire day) for me was Llovers. This didn’t come as a shock though as they never fail to disappoint. Llovers have played quite a few festivals this summer, and a lot of people highly praise them for a reason. Despite having to make a few pleas for the crowd to liven up and dance a little, they got there in the end with their infectious indie pop sound. The set included old favourites along with their latest singles ‘Coming Loose’ and ‘Honestly’.

Later in the day James returned to Hardwick Live to headline the main stage. The years haven’t done frontman Tim Booth’s vocals too much justice. He’s still great but at times he struggled to hit high notes, and he asked the audience to help him during one of the songs. This was much to the enjoyment of the two drunk guys in the crowd who loudly and passionately belted out a terrible but hilarious rendition of ‘She’s a Star’. 

Tim Booth is still Mr Stage Presence though especially during hits like ‘Laid’ and ‘Sit Down’. There’s also something about watching his convulsion like dancing and crowd surfing that means you can’t help but love to watch him and the rest of the band performing. James were the perfect end to the weekend, and as I was leaving Hardwick Live, I could already hear people talking about how excited they are for Hardwick Live 2020.

PHOTOS: DARRAN MOORE

WORDS: LAW EMILIA

For more of that sweet, sweet Hardwick Live content head over to our Sunday Gig Gallery from the festival now… 

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