Should we have one, the one-day festival ‘Meet The North’ would already be a contender for a ‘Best North East live event 2017’ award. ‘Meet’, perhaps in competition with it’s more commercially aware older brother, ‘Hit’, is proof that strong organizers are able to achieve an inspiring inner-city music event in the centre of Newcastle. That’s something that shouldn’t be taken for granted given the number of times that promoters have tried, and the fact that nine venues were used to host over 45 bands.
What I find the most inspiring about the festival is not the promotion, or the attendance (very impressive given these are almost all unsigned bands), or in fact the music, but rather the impromptu communities that are formed amongst, mostly, young fans of music. There are newly formed groups of fans dotted all around the city all acting unselfishly in combinations which sing and high-jinx together in a very un-threatening style. Well-spaced out venues, and well prepared band timings have played a huge part in making this happen and it’s great to watch younger fans enjoy their first experience of live music.
And then there’s the music. The festival is, of course, too big to review single handily but particular performances deserving praise would be for Massa Confusa who provide their post-punk, cinematic, style with trademark intensity and also to the Van T-s who’s blend of pop meets guitar-feedback surely will break through in 2017 by appealing to Sonic Youth and Ronettes fans alike.
Meet the North will deserve it’s place in history, and provide proof of what can be achieved in the streets of Newcastle.