Middlesbrough Music Live offers exceptional free entertainment

Middlesbrough Music Live 2010 review

published: Wed 9th Jun 2010

Sunday 6th June 2010
Middlesbrough town centre, Cleveland, England MAP
FREE
last updated: Mon 24th May 2010

We went to this festival with a couple of preconceptions. One being it showcases up and coming talent before they break into the big time (Florence and the Machine, The Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party and Kasabian have all performed in the past) and the second being that because its a free event it attracts large gangs of teenagers more interested in strutting about than enjoying the event. We were right with both!

Middlesbrough Music Live is a free one day festival organised in partnership by Middlesbrough Council and promoters Ten Feet Tall. It all started in 2000 when 5000 people turned up to watch the headliner Terrorvision along with a host of other bands. Now in its eleventh year 60000 people turned up to watch 100 bands on 10 stages with this year's main headliner being pop trio The Hoosiers. This large gain in popularity is not only because its free but testament to the calibre of entertainment on offer - bands such as The Zutons and Ash have headlined in previous years.

Unfortunately the day couldn't have been worse for festival weather. After a balmy few days of temperatures in the mid twenties the Middlesbrough crowd had to endure a day of persistent rain, so it was a sea of umbrellas that welcomed us when we got there. We arrived and found there were plenty of free places to park around the town centre with just a short walk to the arena. We found it was very quick to get inside the arena with no one needing wristbands and security just doing a quick bag search. Once inside the layout was easy to navigate, you are facing the main stage as you enter and you head to the left to pass all the other stages. There has also been an addition this year of a very small kids area on the right hand side.

Hopefully they will invest more in this area in the future as it was very disappointing for the kids. It had a bouncy castle (which was closed due to the rain), a face painting stall, storytelling area and a couple of games to play on the grass. It didn't help with the weather but we were in and out of there within 30 seconds.

In terms of food the festivals had all the usual fare of burgers, hot dogs, chicken, jacket potatoes and chips. There was also a sweet stall and an ice cream van so as long as you wanted something greasy or full of sugar you were golden! There was a couple of bar tents selling Fosters, Magners, alcopops, wine and spirits. The prices were reasonable with prices ranging from £3 - £3.50. Also some of the stages were in pubs so drinks could be bought inside them at varying prices.

After enjoying a few drinks and the gastro treats on offer you could look forward to a visit to the toilets! There were plenty of porta loos on site which were in a right state within a couple of hours of the festivals start (this is mainly down to lack of respect from the people using them so not really the organisers fault) but there were also toilets inside at the indoor stages which were a lot better to use. They also installed the outdoor urinals you get in places like Holland (they are four urinals in a circle with nothing covering you from the people passing) which are weird to get used to to start with but do cut down the queues at the other toilets.

We tried to see as many bands over as many different stages as we could and started off by watching Hot Club de Paris on the Evening Gazette Sounds stage (enjoyable Scouse guitar based band) then onto the TFM main stage to watch Duke, and Kirsty Almeida. Duke were human beatboxers with a fair bit of talent but not in Beardyman's league whereas Almeida had a soulful voice with a few catchy songs to go with it.

After that we headed to the Sumo stage to catch the end of The Flatliners set which sounded good and I wish I had got there earlier and seen more. They were followed by Black Spiders who played stereotypical heavy rock that did nothing for me. We gave them a few songs to win us over but left and headed to catch a couple of songs from local Teesside songstress Samantha Durnan who had good vocals and an enthusiastic following, and could be one to watch out for. After that we went to the Hairy Lemon stage for a dose of old fashioned Ska with the tribute band The Ska Beats.

The rest of the evening was filled with Sound Of Guns (a great act with charismatic frontman), Detroit Social Club, Freebass (enjoyable Manchester supergroup) and the bubblegum pop The Hoosiers (the kids loved them!).

Overall this was an enjoyable festival only marred by the behaviour of the minority, however this was only around the main stage and could easily be avoided. The organisation and entertainment on offer is exceptional considering it is free and I am looking forward to the gloriously sunny 2011 Middlesbrough Music Live.
review by: Andrew Hogg

Sunday 6th June 2010
Middlesbrough town centre, Cleveland, England MAP
FREE
last updated: Mon 24th May 2010


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