Review: Wintertide Music Festival

Wintertide Festival in the town square, Hartlepool Headland.
Wintertide Festival in the town square, Hartlepool Headland.

Amid the lantern parade, illuminating the Christmas tree lights and exciting firework display the Wintertide Festival boasted an impressive line-up of live music.

Kicking off on Friday night The Fisherman’s Arms hosted a songwriter’s circle with the fabulous Elaine Palmer.

Upstairs at The Duke of Cleveland featured 15-year-old Charlotte Grayson who has inherited her excellent talent from her illustrious Hartlepool music family, Peterlee’s jaunty folk popsters The Kets and delicious harmonies from female singers group The Jades.

Downstairs local DJs Fake Charles and Vinyl Ritchie warmed up the audience nicely for Tyneside-based funk and soul band King Bee featuring Hartlepool’s very own keyboard maestro Mark Hand.

On Saturday, The Fish hosted an open mic session with a winter theme, while downstairs in The Duke folk roots sounds from Pete Greenwood, Elaine Palmer and her band, Canadian singer Sarah Jane Scouten and a brilliant headline slot from Newcastle’s gypsy-folk rabble Holy Moly & The Crackers which had the audience dancing away.

Upstairs featured an all day show from Endearment Records including the unique old Muggins, Billingham’ fuzz popsters Mouses and the final gig by Hartlepool psych rockers First Process Church of Mars. Thanks fellas - you’ll be missed.

The music programme rounded off on Sunday with Fish hosting an afternoon of acoustic acts including Teesside troubadour Charlie Thomas and Peg Powler.

Downstairs at The Duke local lads Michael Gallagher and James Leonard Hewitson provided great support to Liverpool band Amsterdam.

A cracking weekend and hats off to music programmer Brian Barnes.

- Ian Monaghan