BBC Radio 3 Announces After Dark Festival at Sage Gateshead

Singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan will be in conversation about her new memoir on 20 March.

BBC Radio 3 Announces After Dark Festival at Sage Gateshead

Royal Northern Sinfonia, Christian Löffler, Vashti Bunyan, Kinbrae, Lauren Kinsella, and Xenia Pestova-Bennett and Ed Bennett on festival line-up.

BBC Radio 3 and Sage Gateshead have announced a major new live music festival taking place on 19–20 March. After Dark Festival will highlight the alternative music scene of Newcastle and the UK with a line-up of electronic, contemporary, jazz, and classical artists, as well as poets and thinkers. 

The festival will host events from two venues in Newcastle including a ‘dusk till dawn’ event at Sage Gateshead with electronic music headliners taking audiences through the night, closing at 6am; and a night of alternative music at The Star and Shadow venue in partnership with TUSK Music.

On Saturday 19 March, the festival will begin at 6pm with a poetry cabaret event featuring Ian McMillan, presenter of Radio 3’s The Verb, reading poetry on the theme of spring. Later, the first concert of the festival will be a sunset performance by the Royal Northern Sinfonia performing with double bass player Philip Nelson, under conductor Dinis Sousa, a range of minimalist works by Missy Mazzoli, John Luther Adams and Gavin Bryars. The seats in the concert hall will be removed in order to create an immersive experience, and the event will also feature visuals from Belgian multimedia artist Sonia Killmann.

Later that evening, there will be performances from Scottish duo Kinbrae, who play a mix of brass, electronics, percussion and musique concrète. German musician and producer Christian Löffler will also perform with the Royal Northern Sinfonia String Quartet music from his 2020 album Parallels: Shellac Reworks. The record sees Löffler rework the music of J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Wagner, Smetana and Bizet into his own downtempo soundscapes.  

The festival will also include a late-night improvisation session with Radio 3 presenter Corey Mwamba hosting Irish vocalist Lauren Kinsella and pianist and producer Dan Nicholls, sax-drums duo Run Logan Run, and experimental turntablist Mariam Rezaei.  

Deep Night Tracks
Also included in the After Dark Festival programme is Deep Night Tracks, Sage Gateshead’s first overnight event, taking place from 1:30am to 5:30am on 20 March. The event will be hosted by Radio 3’s Sara Mohr-Pietsch and Hannah Peel and will feature performances by multi-instrumentalist Memotone; the Manchester Collective; Newcastle-based electronic folk innovator Jayne Dent aka Me Lost Me; and Xenia Pestova-Bennett and Ed Bennett will perform music by Egidija Medeksaite, Gayle Young and Bach, in a radical reinterpretation of the Goldberg Variations for piano and live electronics, which they released on the Ergodos label last November. Singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan will talk to Jennifer Lucy Allan about her new memoir, Wayward: Just Another Life (to be published by White Rabbit Books on 31 March), which tells the story of her journey as a musician, from an unconventional childhood to the writing of her now cult 1970s album Just Another Diamond Day.

The final event, taking place at 5:30am on 20 March will see the virtuoso Leeds-based sitarist Jasdeep Singh Degun perform at dawn on the spring equinox, a traditional north Indian dawn raag, preceded by sound artist and beatboxer Jason Singh performing a soundscape of real, manipulated and vocalised ‘dawn chorus’ birdsong. 

The Star and Shadow space will host a line-up of alternative acts, including Manchester-based rapper and DJ Iceboy Violet and violinist Rakhi Singh.

The festival will also see Radio 3 presenters Elizabeth Alker, Hannah Peel, Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Jennifer Lucy Allan, McMillan and Matthew Sweet interviewing artists and leading the audience through the night. Performances from the festival will be broadcast on Radio 3 and BBC Sounds across various programmes from 24 to 27 March. 

For further information and tickets, visit:

Published on 23 February 2022

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