WATCH: Global stars return to local roots for North East music festival

Glastonbury, Camp Bestival, Coachella…now Northumberland has unveiled the line up for its own major music festival launching this summer.

The Libertines and Pet Shop Boys will headline Festival on the Wall which is pitching up in a stunning countryside location near Hadrian’s Wall just 12 miles from Newcastle/Gateshead, from Friday 04 August to Sunday 06 August 2017.

Pete Doherty, who hails from Hexham, will headline the main stage with The Libertines on Saturday night, and the Pet Shop Boys are the main stage act on Friday night – a homecoming gig for North Shields-born lead vocalist Neil Tennant.

Neil Tennant commented: “We are looking forward to bringing our futuristic show to a wonderful historic area in the North East.”

VIDEO: Festival on the Wall press call featuring interviews with festival founder Dale Mason and Cllr Grant Davey.

Other confirmed artists playing over the weekend include Mark Ronson, Twin Atlantic, JP Cooper, MNEK, The Sherlocks, Calum Scott and North East rockers Maximo Park, with more acts to be announced.

The new festival will take place across 350 acres of privately-owned farmland, where for three days and nights festival-goers will camp out and enjoy a variety of unrivalled moments of excitement, happiness, relaxation and community through music, dance, carnival, art and gastronomy.

Festival on the Wall aims to be ‘the happiest festival in the UK’ by maintaining the quality enjoyed in everyday life and giving visitors every option possible for an enjoyable weekend, from really great food (and not having to wait too long in line to purchase it), to easy ways to charge your phone, straighten your hair, have a hot shower or camp in comfort with striking views.

Live music will take place on a number of stages across the weekend, with The Thunderdome providing dance DJs and entertainment for late-night revellers in a Mad Max-esque area with a 360-degree, flaming stage and a central DJ booth shooting lightning bolts over the crowd.

In addition to the live music, there’ll be a whole host of things to see and do, from roller disco in a field, Karavanoke, fine dining 100ft in the air with a bird’s eye view of the main stage, and even a hot tub chill-out zone. The experience will be fully immersive as it will embrace virtual technologies, allowing festival-goers to view all music sets from the weekend in a unique VR zone.

Camping will include everything from bringing your own tent to booking a pre-pitched tent, as well as options to stay in luxury yurts and sleep pods with views of the starry Northumberland skyline.

Working for over two years to make it happen, festival founder and director Dale Mason from Northumberland, and business partner Richard Gillies, a sustainability expert with experience from former roles at Marks and Spencer and Kingfisher PLC, have lined up a skilled festivals team. Partners include Kilimanjaro Live, Peppermint, Powerful Thinking, Project Simply and Unicef UK as the charitable beneficiary

Dale said: “Festival on the Wall is primarily a festival for the North East, created by the North East. I’ve thought for some time that this amazing region needs a music festival to be proud of and what better location than the stunning Northumberland countryside, just a few miles from our world-famous landmark Hadrian’s Wall?

“Festivals are one of the last remaining gatherings that allow us to experience a sense of belonging and form communities. Festival on the Wall wants to create a happier and more sustainable festival experience and we don’t believe a great show means compromising our values. That’s why we’re committed to becoming the happiest and most sustainable festival in the UK – both environmentally and socially.

“When planning our line up for the first year we were keen to showcase talent which emerged here in the North East and are thrilled to have secured the likes of The Libertines and Pet Shop Boys, which we hope will excite people in the region as well as attract festival fans from further afield to visit Northumberland.

“Our line up will have something for everyone, whatever their taste in music, and all will be revealed in full over the coming weeks and months – including our Sunday schedule which we are very excited about.”

Festival on the Wall has been welcomed by Northumberland County Council and Northumberland Tourism for its expected boost to tourism and the local economy, with thousands of music fans set to visit during the weekend.Councillor Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “This is fantastic news for the county and the latest event to put Northumberland in the national spotlight as a go-to destination.

“The county has a long history of attracting major events but this is surely the biggest music event of its kind in Northumberland.

“Not only will thousands of people be flocking to our region, there will also be an enormous financial spin-off locally, from our many suppliers to businesses helping with the infrastructure. It really is another great coup for the county.”

Jude Leitch, director at Northumberland Tourism, said: “This is very exciting news for Northumberland; home to world-class heritage sites, rolling countryside, star-filled dark skies and beautiful beaches – now we have a large-scale music festival to add to our tourism offer.

“Festival on the Wall is set to be a great event for all ages and music tastes, so we are looking forward to welcoming new visitors coming to the county, who may be discovering the beauty of Northumberland for the first time. We particularly welcome the festival’s sustainability commitment, which will protect our unique landscape.”

Young people are also at the heart of Festival on the Wall as many local students will benefit from career opportunities through a partnership with Newcastle College providing work experience, as well as the chance for some of the college’s emerging music talent to perform. Internship posts have also been created for university students keen to enter the creative industries.

Additionally, up to £10 from each ticket sale will go to Unicef UK to help enable the world’s leading children’s organisation to continue their vital work ensuring children around the world can lead happy and healthy lives.

Rebecca Bohling, Unicef UK head of public fundraising, said: “Unicef UK is thrilled to be chosen as the charity partner for Festival on the Wall. Right now, millions of children are in danger. They’re facing violence, disease, hunger, and the consequences of war and disaster. By buying a ticket, your donation will help Unicef to keep children safe. Just £10 could help provide the vaccines to protect more than 80 children against polio or enough clean drinking water for 300 children for a month.”

Various camping options are available over the festival weekend, with early bird weekend camping tickets priced from £170, and discounted price points for teenagers and students. Children 12 and under are welcome accompanied by an adult for just £10. VIP packages are priced from £330 and luxury accommodation will also be available including yurts and tipis. Click and collect tents pitched ahead of arrival will soon be available too.

Early bird tickets for Festival on the Wall can be purchased now. A 50% deposit scheme is currently available, where 50% of the ticket price is paid on purchase, with the remaining balance to be paid before 01 April 2017. Tickets can still be purchased after this date, but must be paid for in full.

For tickets, visit the Festival on the Wall website.

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