Festival Review: Hardwick Live 2018

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Last weekend, thousands of music lovers headed to Hardwick Hall in County Durham for this years Hardwick Live Festival to enjoy two days of the best in rock & roll, folk, and pop as well as some of the best upcoming talent from across the world. The lineup this year was one of the best yet, featuring headliners Kaiser Chiefs and Happy Mondays, Vintage Trouble, Shed Seven, Echo & The Bunnymen, Lucy Spraggan, Melanie C and Heather Small to name just a few. 

I was lucky enough to head to Hardwick Live on Saturday and I was not disappointed at all. I managed to catch a couple of songs first by Lucy Spraggan, who rose to fame on the X Factor in 2012 singing her catchy original song ‘Last Night (Beer Fear)’. She ended singing ‘Wait For Me’ the perfect sing along encore song that everyone joined in with. 

Jake Shears, formerly of the Scissor Sisters was next up, dressed head to toe in sequins accompanied with some six inch heels. His stage presence is something that every performer dreams of having, and his set was upbeat and filled with energy throughout. Of course, he sang some of the Scissor Sisters songs, and also his new solo material. 

Northern Irish alt-rockers Ash were the next band on stage, who formed back in 1992. Their set was made up from songs they released back in the 90’s as well as material from their new album “Islands’ which was released this year. 

A personal highlight of the day were American rhythm and blues band Vintage Trouble who gave us an incredible show which included dancing, leaping, jumping, and crowd surfing. Every single person in the crowd was singing their praises throughout the whole set and they were the perfect band to warm up everyone in time for Kaiser Chiefs to take to the stage. 

Frontman Ricky Wilson came to the stage, closely followed by the rest of the band and made sure the crowd were ready to sing along before launching into popular hit ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’ followed by ‘Everything Is Average Nowadays’ and ‘Ruffians On Parade’. Other songs of course included ‘Ruby’, ‘Never Miss A Beat’ and ‘I Predict A Riot’ and also releases from their latest release in 2016 ‘Hole In My Soul’ and ‘Parachute’. Their encore song was ‘Oh My God’ where confetti and streamers were launched across the crowd, creating a perfect ending to a brilliant first day of this festival. 

What I loved about this festival is the diversity of people there. It was really clear to see that young children, teens and adults were all enjoying the music and the atmosphere as much as each other. It is definitely very family orientated and as well as the music stages there was also a DJ dome, funfair rides, food stalls, entertainers and even yoga classes that anyone could attend. Hardwick Live is a really really great festival and they nailed it this year. I would definitely recommend it.

Words and Photography by Lauren Stewart