Dizzee Rascal, Maxïmo Park and The Cribs will headline what has all the marks of a triumphant return for Sunderland’s Split Festival this summer.
After a regrouping year off, the event’s founding – and Futureheads – fathers, Barry Hyde and Ross Millard, came together yesterday to unveil the musical big-hitters they’ve secured for 2014 – while also revealing a new location and position in the calendar for the festival.
Having taken place in September and at Ashbrooke Sports Club since its launch in 2009, the new time and place for proceedings – namely August 9 and 10 and Mowbray Park – puts Split at the heart of both the summer and the festival calendar.
Meanwhile the headliners, as well as a yet-to-be-announced bill of other top music talent, both local and otherwise, across three stages and more, demonstrates an ambition gear change for the event which is for the first time supported by funding from Arts Council England and Sunderland City Council.
Barry said: “By bringing Split into the summertime and changing the site, we’re looking at it as a fresh start. We are extremely excited about bringing the festival to the city centre. Mowbray Park is one of the icons of Sunderland, and it will be a beautiful venue. Up until now it has been self-funded,” he continued, “and there have been some pretty scary moments over the years.
“But I think we’ve proved ourselves and getting this funding has taken the pressure off a bit - allowing us to go after these kinds of acts and concentrate on making sure the festival is as good as it can be. And it’s going to be really good,” he added.
Ross was delighted to announce the headliners, starting with Saturday’s top billing, Mercury Music Prize-winning rapper Dizzee Rascal. “He is a British institution, a household name, with countless hits and who has fans across the genres,” he said before moving on to Sunday’s big names, the first of which headlined Split back in 2010.
Ross said: “It’s fantastic to have Maxïmo Park, a North East-based band, as a main stage Sunday headliner.
“They have a big back catalogue of sing-a-long hits – a perfect way to end the festival.
“We’ve been courting The Cribs for quite a few years and we’re made up to get them to Sunderland. They are raw, exciting and unpredictable, and again they have a lot of releases to draw a festival set list from.”
The announcement and increased ambition of the Split Festival, which picked up The Journal’s Culture Award for best event in Sunderland in 2011, will go a long way to comfort those still brooding about there being no Evolution Festival on Tyneside this year.
“I think we probably will benefit from that,” admitted Barry. “We’ve already benefited from lots of help from Jim Mawdsley and Dave Stone, who run Evolution. They’ve been very generous sharing contacts and experience and we really appreciate that.”
- The Split Festival takes place at Mowbray Park on August 9 and 10. For tickets, full details and announcements, visit www.splitfestival.com