Sunderland crowds are getting set to dance into the night to some of the most soulful sounds to emerge from the UK music scene.
Thirty years after they forged a new sound, headliners Soul II Soul will be bringing their timeless hits, including Back to Life and Keep on Movin’, to the city centre to cap off the first night of this year’s Sunniside Live.
The festival returns for its fourth year in Sunniside Gardens on July 6 and 7 and original Soul II Soul member Jazzie B says he’s looking forward to performing the soul-infused dance tracks that still strike a chord today.
“I’m always interested in the North, it’s great to play up there,” said Jazzie, who performs with Caron Wheeler. “Thirty years later and it’s great to look out at a festival crowd and see parents there with their teenagers who are also singing along.
“We took a punt when we called our first album Club Classics, yet here we are.”
In the late 80s Soul II Soul’s sound captured the zeitgeist in London of kids from all backgrounds who had grown up together, and were now raving together on dancefloors that embraced all walks of life.
“Music can make a massive difference, it marks a point in time,” explained Jazzie.
The band went on to enjoy huge success, selling 10million albums, playing resident club nights all over the world, countless TV and radio appearances including Jazzie’s own show on Kiss FM – and even their own clothing brand. For those who haven’t yet seen them live, Jazzie says Wearside crowds can expect “A happy face, a thumpin’ bass, for a lovin’ race” – to quote the band’s slogan.
Soul II Soul are joined on the Friday night line-up by Lovely Laura, Artful Dodger, DJ Graeme Park of Hacienda nightclub fame and CeeJ from North East-based Haze Records.
On the Saturday there will be a full day of entertainment including headliners Lightning Seeds, Reverend and the Makers, The Bluetones, Cast, Larkins and local singer song-writer Tom Smith, from East Rainton, who’s played at festivals around the country.
Organiser Sean Maddison said: “Each year we build on the strengths and weaknesses of the year before to make the festival even better. We are so excited for this year’s Sunniside Live and have worked hard to secure an amazing line up.
“Soul II Soul are amazing live and we are thrilled to have them headline the opening night of the festival.”
•Tickets are available from www.sunnisidelive.com
•We have two pairs of Friday night tickets to give away for Sunniside Live. To be in with a chance of winning, answer this question: Where in Sunderland does the festival take place?
Send your answer and contact details to Sunniside Competition, Johnston Press North East, 2nd Floor, Alexander House, 1 Mandarin Road, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton, Sunderland, DH4 5RA.
Alternatively, you can email your answer and contact details to Katy.Wheeler@jpress.co.uk.
Closing date: June 4.
All entries are either deleted or shredded after the competition is drawn and no information is shared.