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Preview: Evolution Emerging festival

The festival which champions new music returns for its biggest bash yet this month. Sam Wonfor previews Evolution Emerging


There's not much you can get for the price of a pint these days... in fact one may argue that you can’t even get a pint in a lot of bars in Newcastle city centre, but that’s a rant for another day.

Following the news earlier this year that the Evolution Weekender Festival was “on pause” for a bit, music fans were relieved to here that it’s promising little sister, Evolution Emerging was most definitely “on play”.

Having acted as the potential-soaked starting pistol for its big sister for the past five years, @EvoEmerging, as its known to its thousands of twitter followers, has consistently offered a platform for new music, both from the North East and beyond. It has grown year on year and the bill for the 2014 event on the evening of May 24 more than demonstrates a continuation of the trend. Boasting 40 acts and nine venues, it’s little wonder the organisers made the decision to charge admission for the first time... although you only need one wristband to get in everywhere which has bargain figuratively written all over it.

“Each year we try and build it up and this year is the first we have charged for tickets,” says Joe Frankland, artist development manager from Generator, “But we have kept it to the ‘price of a pint’.

“We want to keep growing the festival and continue to be able to bring in artists from outside the region.

“The festival is getting a national profile and we want Evolution Emerging to be that kind of stage for new music... somewhere we can shout about the bands we’re excited about.

“We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to put on 40 bands across nine venues this year.” The preparation for Evolution Emerging begins with an open call out for entries at the turn of the year. “All you need to have is a track on Soundcloud,” says Joe.

Once the entries have been collected, a handpicked panel of 30 judges, who hail from all over the region, are charged with the task of listening to 500 tracks and coming up with a top 10.

“Then we have to get together and sort out the programme and decide who is going to play where, which takes a while,” he laughs Joe.

As well as the announced 40-strong bill of artists, there will also be a trio of special guests performing. And despite my best efforts to catch him out, Joe remains tightlipped. Rats.

“It’s a really nice element to have,” he says. “They’ll be announced about 15 minutes before they’re going to happen, so people need to keep their eyes on twitter. It’s all part of the fun.”

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