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Review: Day 1 - SummerTyne Americana Festival, Newcastle

The annual SummerTyne Americana festival attracts thousands over its three days. Martin Ellis gives his review of the first day

Crowds at the SummerTyne Americana Festival
Crowds at the SummerTyne Americana Festival

The annual SummerTyne Americana festival attracts thousands over its three days, mainly music fans from across the North East, with its free outdoor Jumpin’ Hot stage area packed out with family parties and groups of friends while inside the venue many more enjoy talks, workshops, films and performances ahead of the high-profile evening concerts.

This year’s festival kicked off on Friday with a great set from Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra.

They are much in demand at festivals up and down the country so it was great to see them on home turf.

Other highlights from the afternoon were the Gem Andrews Band with their gentle alt-country, contrasting with the rocking Fickle Lilly and party good-time humour from Big Red & The Grinners.

Then first up on stage in Hall 2 that evening was Matthew E. White, an act whose recently-released debut album has won rave reviews. I wondered if he could live up to the hype: he did.

The band was tight and disciplined; the performance slick and polished.

To follow were The McCrary Sisters. Originally billed as the programme openers, the order was switched when their flight was delayed.

One of the sisters sang on three Bob Dylan albums and together they recently joined the star on stage to perform Blowin’ In The Wind. Here, we had the pleasure of hearing their version: it is stunning.

The last act in Hall 2 was Patty Griffin, accompanied by guitarist David Pulkingham who was last seen on Tyneside playing with Alexandro Escovedo at The Cluny.

For many songs Griffin put her guitar down, stood proudly at her microphone and sang with passion and power, backed by Pulkingham’s suburb guitar. Her songs may be melancholic but her audience were happy.

A tremendous opening day, with a varied and entertaining programme.

Read a review in tomorrow’s paper of the remaining days of Americana.

Martin Ellis

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