Sunderland bands aim to make Hartlepool festival the biggest in the region

Three of Jar Family - Ritchie El Bongo, Max Bianco and Dali Von Schmit, at Jacksons Landing
Three of Jar Family - Ritchie El Bongo, Max Bianco and Dali Von Schmit, at Jacksons Landing
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“We want to put Hartlepool on the map” – say a home-grown band about their new music festival.

Thousands are expected to attend the We Are Family festival next month when it takes over the derelict Jacksons Landing.

The event, which is the first of its kind in the town, is the brainchild of industrial folk band The Jar Family.

It will be headlined by Alabama 3 – who shot to fame when their track, Woke Up This Morning, was used as the theme tune for TV show The Sopranos – as well as a host of local talent,

Sunderland’s Hyde & Beast, Frankie & the Heartstrings and The Lake Poets, as well as funk duo Smoove & Turrell, are among the line-up of 18 acts who will take to the stage on September 19.

Speaking about how the festival came about, Max Bianco, from The Jar Family, said: “There wasn’t anything going on festival-wise in the North East this year. No Stockton Weekender, no Split Festival in Sunderland. So we decided to stick our heads together and do something for Hartlepool.

Some members of Jar Family l-r  Max Bianco, Ritchie El Bongo and Dali Von Schmit  outside Jacksons Landing, Hartlepool, where they are holding a music festival

Some members of Jar Family l-r Max Bianco, Ritchie El Bongo and Dali Von Schmit outside Jacksons Landing, Hartlepool, where they are holding a music festival

“It’s the first time that something of this size has happened in the town, something we can call our own. There’s a lot of talent in the area and we see so much going on when we go to gigs, so we decided to put it all in one place. Hartlepool is in the middle of the North East after all, it’s even got ‘heart’ in the name.”

The event will breathe new life into the 5,000-capacity Jacksons Landing site, which has stood empty for more than a decade.

It’s hoped the event will be the first of many to be staged there, and The Jar Family is hoping the people of Hartlepool and beyond will get behind the festival.

“It’s a venue that’s just stood empty,” said Max. “But it’s perfect for this because it can hold a lot of people and is indoors so it doesn’t matter if the weather is bad.

We can guarantee people will be talking about it the next day. We want to put Hartlepool on the map

“We were inspired by the BoilerShop Steamer event in Newcastle, where they stage live music and food stalls in a disused warehouse where they built Robert Stephenson’s Rocket. That’s where the idea of a big warehouse came from.”

Tickets are on sale now for the event, which is being supported by Camerons Brewery and Tees Music Alliance,

The Jar Family are no strangers to performing in front of thousands: they’ve played to an 80,000-strong crowd in Stockton-on-Tees, taken part in the BBC’s Music Day Hadrian’s Wall Of Sound and played at many festivals.

They are juggling organising the festival with releasing their fourth album, Family First, which is released on September 4.

Headliners Alabama 3

Headliners Alabama 3

Max said: “The main focus of the festival is North East bands because there are so many great bands out there, but we also have headliners Alabama 3. They’ve done a lot for us in the past and given us great experience, so we wanted to do something for them.”

Fellow band member Dali Von Schmit said: “Hopefully, this festival will just get bigger and bigger. When I was a teenager I remember going to Middlesbrough Live every year, I loved it.

“We want Hartlepool to have something like that, to bring tourism into the town. The focus is on music, we want it to be a fun day, with a family vibe. But there’ll also be great food and beer.

“We’re always blown away that there’s a Poolie in the crowd at every gig, wherever we are in the country. We really want the town to get behind this so we can host one every year. We can guarantee people will be talking about it the next day. We want to put Hartlepool on the map.”

l Tickets to We Are Family are £6 from www.ticketweb.co.uk, or in person from Christ Church Booking Office, Church Square, Hartlepool, or on (01429) 890000.

Hyde & Beast

Hyde & Beast

Frankie and the Heartstrings

Frankie and the Heartstrings