There are three things that a good festival needs: fantastic music, glorious weather and great beer, and this year’s Evolution Emerging ticked all those boxes. Spanning 10 venues, the festival brought the hottest acts from around the region to Ouseburn for one day, and it was clear from the buzzing atmosphere that organisers Generator knew what they were doing after a decade of hosting the event.
As with any festival, the biggest challenge is choosing which bands to see, but the best thing about Evolution Emerging was that everyone was hopping from stage to stage in a mission to discover new music. We set up camp at the Tyne Bar, where youthful indie rock project Fever Days, led by Oliver Green, kicked things off in the early afternoon. They were followed by Good Friend, who relocated to Newcastle from Northern Ireland, and describe their sound as ‘lion-hearted rock ’n’ roll’, and it certainly packed a punch. Next, there was a pretty sharp change in tone with a hip-hop set from Zico MC, but the crowd embraced it – by this point the outside area of the Tyne Bar was packed out with people dancing and more laid-back festival-goers lounging in the seating area with local ales.
After enjoying some of Billingham band Mouses’ weird and wonderful distorted punk, it was time to head to The Cluny, along with everyone else wanting to catch the headline set from The Pale White, who had teased us with an acoustic set earlier in the day – and they didn’t disappoint. With tons of catchy melodies, smooth vocals and an air of cool about them, the band treated us to a tight set featuring brand new tracks including the riff-heavy Peace of Mind and the accomplished Loveless, which wouldn’t sound out of place blasting from the speakers of Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage.
Most music-lovers would agree that the worst thing about festivals is not being able to be in more than one place at any given time, and while so many other great bands performed at Mustang Alley’s Outdoor Stage, The Cumberland Arms, Cobalt Studios, Backyard Bike Shop, Blast Studios, Little Buildings and the Tanners Arms, what we did catch of Evolution Emerging left us bursting with pride for the North East music scene. At a time when gigs are less popular than they used to be, it was reassuring to witness over 2,000 people congregate in Newcastle’s cultural quarter to appreciate homegrown live music. We’re excited to see what’s in store for those who were on this year’s bill, and to discover the newest additions to the scene at next year’s Evolution Emerging.