Planning starts for summer concert in Alnwick

Concert in the pastures at Alnwick.
Concert in the pastures at Alnwick.
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A massive VW festival which will be staged at Alnwick Pastures for the first time this summer is not expected to impact the town’s annual pop concert, it has been claimed.

And the Gazette has been told that discussions are ongoing to nail down an act for the major music gig, on the back of Simple Minds’ performance last year.

Simple Minds at the Pastures concert in 2014.

Simple Minds at the Pastures concert in 2014.

In December, we reported that the Mighty Dub Fest, which is expected to attract around 5,000 people, will be staged at the site from June 12 to 14, following a four-year stint at Druridge Bay Country Park.

Despite the festival occurring in the summer, it is not believed that it will halt the popular music concert, even though the event was axed in 2013 to allow for the ground to recover after large numbers attended the Jessie J gig the previous year.

Kate Handyside, weddings and events co-ordinator at Alnwick Castle, said: “We’re very excited to have the festival come to Alnwick Pastures; it’s something different to our usual concert that will draw a lot of people to the area.

“However, we are still in talks with a promotor regarding our annual summer concert, and due to the differences in the two shows we don’t believe it will be affected by the festival.”

Jessie J on stage at the Alnwick Castle concert.

Jessie J on stage at the Alnwick Castle concert.

The concert is a hotly-anticipated event in the town’s calendar and has attracted the likes of Jools Holland, Midge Ure, Belinda Carlisle, Toyah Willcox and Marc Almond.

X Factor finalist Jay James also graced the Pastures stage in 2012 as a support act for Jessie J, prior to his participation in the ITV talent show last year. The annual showcase, which was first staged in the town in 2006, pulls in crowds of around 7,000, although this increased to 12,000 for Jessie J.

The Dub Fest has moved to the Pastures due to a lack of space at Druridge Bay, coupled with drainage issues.

Organiser Bruce Emmett said: “One of the reasons for the change is down to the lack of space at Druridge. We had reached the capacity, so it was a case of reducing the numbers or finding a new venue.

“There was also the fact that the land at Druridge is man-made and doesn’t drain so well. We were finding that the ground was still wet and everything was getting stuck.

“I am really looking forward to going to the Pastures. I grew up in the town and I used to play there as a child and it is a really good venue, with the backdrop of the castle, and I hope it will be good for tourism. We will be looking to get a licence for 5,000 people, which would include campers and day visitors.”

The event, described as ’unique’ includes an array of entertainment, including live music and a car show.

Preparing for its sixth year, the festival started at Newcastle Racecourse in 2010, before moving to Druridge Bay in 2011. For more information, visit www.mightydubfest.co.uk