Festival Review: This Is Tomorrow - Newcastle, May 2019

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The North East has been well and truly treated to an amazing summer of live music this year, kicking off with Hit The North not even a month ago - and last weekend, Exhibition Park in the heart of Newcastle was taken over by This Is Tomorrow Festival featuring one of the biggest lineup’s that the North East has seen in a very long time. The festival, which is only in it’s second year, moved to the bigger site for 2019 after a successful weekend last year at Spillars Wharf on the banks of the River Tyne.

Not only was the lineup made bigger, This Is Tomorrow has also turned into a three day festival with three stages which started on Friday afternoon and opened it’s doors at 1pm on both Saturday & Sunday for full days of live music offering not only a star studded lineup including headline sets from Foals, Noel Gallagher and Stereophonics, but giving the chance to local and upcoming talent the chance to play to thousands. I attended the festival on Friday & Saturday to check out what was on offer.

Kicking off on Friday afternoon was The Old Pink House who played on main stage, Bare Roots who opened The Richard Hamilton stage and No Teeth on The TMRW stage. Also playing earlier in the afternoon were local bands Groundculture and A Festival, A Parade, and artists from further afield including Wild Front and Avalanche Party.  

My First visit to the Main Stage was to see local band The Pale White, who have gained a large following in the last year selling out massive venues in The North East and headlining their own UK Tours and crowds gathered and sang original material back to them. 

Next up on main stage were Southend’s Nothing But Thieves - a perfect addition to the lineup who got the now almost doubled in size crowd warmed up by belting out their hit songs ‘Amsterdam’, ‘Trip Switch’ & ‘Sorry’ amongst their hour set. 

Indie pop duo KAWALA are the perfect festival band. They played The Richard Hamilton stage - exclaming to crowds that they loved Newcastle after having a couple of visits here to play both Hit The North and This is Tomorrow this month. They opened with ‘Do It Like You Do’, a catchy Summer anthem perfect to get everyone dancing and continued into ‘Runaway’ before I headed back to main stage. 

You Me At Six are definitely a favourite to the Newcastle music scene however I don’t think they’ve ever experienced a festival crowd of rowdy Geordies. If Exhibition Park had a roof, it would have probably blown off. They played songs from their new album as well as songs that everyone knows from way back! Lead singer Josh decided to start a party in the pit - inviting fans to crowd surf over and join him. A great set to get the crowd excited for Foals. 

Bad Sounds headlined the Richard Hamilton stage and I made a quick stop of to see them before the main event. They were a little late on stage - due to being as they said ‘stuck in a van for nine hours’, but they certainly didn’t act like it putting on an energy filled performance that everyone enjoyed. 

Foals set got off to a great start and everyone was buzzing. Opening with ‘On The Luna’ and into 'Mountain at My Gates’ momentum was building. Indie anthem ‘My Number’ was a firm favourite on the setlist and it seemed like nothing could possibly dampen spirits, but nine songs in disaster struck, the barriers collapsed and the set had to be stopped. Security tried to fix the barrier and Foals came back on stage to play ‘In Degrees’, however due to safety concerns, the show was pulled. 

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Unfortunately, the sunny weather didn’t hold up for the Saturday of the festival but the rain didn’t dampen spirits. The lineup included local bands Baltic and Shields, rising talent Pip Blom and Lauren Hibberd, and Scottish indie rockers Glasvegas. 

My first visit of the day was to see 80’s rock band Ride who played a mix of their original material from back when they first formed as well as newer material from their 2017 album, after reforming in 2014. 

Editors were next up and from the off, they put on a show. Tom Smith is a phenomenal front man who had the crowd in the palm of his hands. It was clear that their set was enjoyed by the masses, with a sea of fans on their friends shoulders singing along. 

The Vaccines were the perfect band to get the crowd hyped for Noel Gallagher and they also managed to stop the rain with their feel good songs including ‘Teenage Icon’ and ‘Post Break Up Sex’. Everyone let loose to dance and sing along to one of their newest tunes ‘All My Friends Are Falling In Love’ - as good as their older material, it is clear that no-one is stopping The Vaccines any time soon.  

True to form Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds took to the stage and gave Newcastle exactly what it wanted and way more. Hits from all 3 of their albums including ‘Everybody’s On the Run’ and ‘AKA.. What A Life!’ and then an incredible mass sing along of nearly 15,000 people of all of the Oasis classics echoed across the city. 

Across the weekend attendees were treated to a huge array of musical choice spread across a gorgeous park. A festival that wasn’t reliant on current chart artists brought together an audience of all ages to enjoy and appreciate incredible music, new and old. 

I think the best way to end this is in the words of Noel Gallagher himself - ‘This is an amazing festival, I’ll be back’.

Words and Photography by Lauren Stewart