If ever there was an anthem that was made to be sung outside it’s All Together Now.
Sunderland is set to sway to its infectious chorus when legendary Liverpool band The Farm perform their signature tune at Sunniside Live this summer.
They join the Saturday line-up of the two-day festival, on July 8, in Sunniside Gardens, alongside The Happy Mondays for a bill which is set to take festival-goers back to the heady days of the 90s Madchester scene.
Twenty years after their million-selling album Spartacus reached No. 1 in the UK album charts, and after going their separate ways in 1995, The Farm reformed to play live again in 2011.
The group who had eight top 40 hit singles in the UK, including Groovy Train and All Together Now that were a soundtrack for a generation, returned to the stage with their original line–up.
Frontman Peter Hooton says it’s great to be back on the bill with The Happy Mondays.
“We haven’t played with the Mondays for a few years so it’s great to be on a bill with them again,” he explained. “We did a lot with them in the 90s and then we hadn’t played for about 10 years when they got back together in 2005.
“They asked us to do some festivals with them after they reformed and it was that, that kind of convinced us to start playing again.”
Speaking about what Sunderland can expect from their set, he said: “We’ll be doing some of the big hits, but we have new stuff as well, so it will be a mixture really. But there will be tracks people recognise like All Together Now and Steppin’ Stone.
“It’s the kind of music that really works in an outdoor gig. I remember playing Elland Road in 91 and the atmosphere was unbelievable, it was a great vibe, a great feeling, and just like one big party.
“Hopefully we can recreate some of that atmosphere at Sunniside Live. There’s not enough city centre festivals these days.
“I think what the organisers are doing is a great thing, festivals now are usually out in a field somewhere. Music like ours, the Mondays, it really suits that urban setting.”
Peter says there’s still that camaraderie amongst the bands that saw them define the 90s, one of the last great movements in English music.
“You had the Britpop era which came after that, but that was more contrived, it was a media thing,” he said. “It was a way of getting two groups to oppose each other as a media concoction. But bands like us, the Mondays, Inspiral Carpet and Stone Roses, it was all natural, that era was like a summer of love.
“It was probably the last major movement in British music and it spread through all layers of society. Even today you get a real age range of people at the gigs.”
The power of the music was never more evident than when Peter spearheaded The Justice Collective, a group of musicians and celebrities who raised awareness and funds for charities associated with the Hillsborough disaster and the justice campaign.
“It was a time when music and politics came together in many ways.
“We did this one-off concert when the Murdoch Empire was in trouble and the News of the World was disbanding and it coincided with the Labour Party conference in September 2011.
“It started as the Justice Collective: us, Pete Wylie and Mick Jones (of The Clash). I remember sitting in a cafe the next morning and Mick said it was one of the best gigs he’d done because he’d picked up a guitar as a fight against injustice. When Mick Jones says something you believe it and it was an amazing statement for someone like him to say.”
The collective soon gathered momentum with the likes of The Stone Roses. Cast and comedian John Bishop showing their support for justice for the 96 fans who died at the football ground disaster.
“From there we went on the Roses tour to Lyon in France, Dublin and Heaton Park. It wasn’t given enough media credit really. At Lyon Eric Cantona came on stage for Hillsborough justice.
“For a Man United legend to make that statement was massive. It showed the power of music and that it was unstoppable, especially as this was before the independent panel report and the inquest. Those groups put their reputation on the line and the music became a movement.
“It made us fall in love with playing live all over again.”
Sunniside Live, now in its third year, will take place on July 7 and 8 in Sunniside, Sunderland.
As well as The Farm and Happy Mondays, the line-up also includes Heather Small of M People, Incognito, K Klass, DJ Allister Whitehead, Chris Helme (of The Seahorses) and local acts Lord Swans and Social Room.
It’s expected to attract a capacity crowd of up to 4,000 people each day.
Tickets are priced from £14 for a Friday pass and £18 for a Saturday pass.
We have a pair of weekend passes to Sunniside Live, worth £28 each, to give away.
To be in with a chance of winning, answer this question: Which city are The Farm from?
C) Leamington Spa
Email your answer with your contact details to Katy.Wheeler@jpress.co.uk
Closing date: Monday, April 24.
Winners will be notified by email week commencing April 24.