THE SUCCESS of the inaugural This is Tomorrow last May, sees the event return to Newcastle on a larger site and a capacity increased from 12,500 to 15,000.
The festival moves from Spillers Wharf, which hosted the final instalment of Evolution (cap. 25,000) in 2013, to Exhibition Park, an urban greenfield site two minutes from the city centre, according to organiser Steve Davies of SSD Concerts.
Ticketed as both a festival and a series of one-day shows, headliners include Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Foals and Stereophonics, while the event is themed around pop artist Richard Hamilton, designer of The Beatles’ The White Album cover, also said to have coined the name Roxy Music when he taught Bryan
Ferry at Newcastle University’s Fine Art Department.
“Newcastle has not had a festival of note since Evolution,” says Davies. “There is a perception that nothing musical or artistic has come from the city, so we were trying to find a theme that would give it some cultural meaning.
“When we discovered that Richard Hamilton, who lived and worked here, influenced Andy Warhol and had such a close connection to music, we felt it made a big statement about Newcastle.”
He says the city council has supported the event in its growth, while this is the first festival to be held at the park.
“Exhibition Park is a blank canvas,” he says. “Doing the first year at Spillers Wharf was a no-brainer because we had the template of Evolution to work for – Jim Mawdsley, who ran Evolution, is doing production for us – but we’re taking a bit of a gamble moving to a greenfield.”
However, he says that he’s already sold 10,000 tickets to Noel Gallagher and the Foals are “not far behind”, with the Stereophonics one-day tickets yet to go on sale.
“It’s £45 for a day ticket and £119 for all three days. We’re in our infancy so we wanted to make it affordable.”