Lightning Seeds on bringing England anthem Three Lions to Sunderland festival for World Cup quarter finals

Iain Broudie's Lightning Seeds are the Saturday night headliners at Sunniside Live.
Iain Broudie's Lightning Seeds are the Saturday night headliners at Sunniside Live.

Depending on England’s performance on Saturday, Sunderland could be taking part in a mass Three Lions sing-a-long with the Lightning Seeds themselves.

The band, whose hit track has become an England anthem, will be headlining Sunniside Live festival on Saturday, capping off a day of top indie performances from the likes of Cast, Reverend and the Makers, The Bluetones and Larkins.

“It’s always a pleasure playing the North East, the crowds are always good up there and there’s a great bill at that festival, some really good bands on,” said Lightning Seeds front man Ian Broudie.

The city is on a high following last night’s win against Colombia, which has taken England through to the quarter finals on Saturday where they’ll take on Sweden in Russia.

Over the course of the two-day festival, the Sunderland Bid fanzone will also be in Sunniside, where games will be shown on a 20ft screen. The match will kick off at 3pm, with Lightning Seeds taking to the stage later on in the evening. So whether the Three Lions anthem will ring out in celebration around Sunniside Gardens is up to England.

Ian explained: “Three Lions is not something we play all the time, only when there’s a World Cup on, otherwise it would be like playing a Christmas song when it’s not Christmas. So there’s only a short window in which we can play it and how long that window lasts is up to England’s performance.

England V Colombia FanZone Low Row

England V Colombia FanZone Low Row

“It’s a strange thing for an England fan. They’ve been so awful for six/seven years, so the fact the team is functioning is great.”

Speaking about the longevity of the track, which he famously recorded with comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner to coincide with the Euro 96 tournament, he said: “People took the song to their hearts and as a songwriter that’s all you can ask for.”

Ian was asked to write the song by The English Football Association and he had the idea of working with the comedians who, at the time, were hosts of the popular TV show Fantasy Football.

It went on to become a No. 1 single on two occasions, selling more than a million copies in the UK.

“I was a bit dubious at first as I don’t like that many football songs,” explained Ian. “But my music had always been used in football things, like Life of Riley. Shows would always take bits of my songs, especially for matches with North West teams.”

Three Lions is, of course, not the only string to the Lightning Seeds bow. Over the years they’ve enjoyed success with hits such as Pure, Perfect, Lucky You, Life of Riley, Sugar Coated Iceberg, Marvellous and more.

Ian says festival-goers at Saturday’s gig can expect a trip down a memory lane of the band’s hits.

“People can expect a set of songs they’ll probably know,” he said. “We’ve had really good fun this past year and the band feels really good. We’re in a great place and I’ve been writing new music. I won’t be playing the new stuff on Saturday, as people want to hear the ones they know.

“But hopefully next year I’ll release the new material and it will be my first album in 15 years, so onwards and upwards.”

This year’s Sunniside Live starts on Friday with a dance and soul-orientated night of music from the likes of headliners Soul II Soul, Lovely Laura, Hacienda DJ Graeme Park, Artful Dodger and CeeJ from Haze Records.

•Tickets for this year’s Sunniside Live are available to buy online at, priced at £27.50 for a Friday ticket, £34.50 for a Saturday ticket and £50 for a standard weekend ticket.