Popular monthly music and arts event Vinyl is holding an extended all-day special tomorrow. Peter Mann spoke to the promoters about the joy of providing up and coming acts with a stage

WITH a Bank Holiday to look forward to, and the weather set fair, music and arts lovers are in for a treat this weekend. The team behind Stockton-based Vinyl is holding its first Long Play event, and is hoping it will be a real celebration of some of the best artists and performers the North-East has to offer.

The Vinyl journey started a year ago when Ian Allcock of EnA Photography and Lauren Duncan of LD Designs held a one-off music and arts event at the Edge/Riverside Lounge in conjunction with Teesside perinatal mental health charity Raindrops to Rainbows.

The pair describe it as “a week of amazing workshops and events put together followed by a closing night full of live music from local bands plus specially commissioned post-natal mental health-related original photography and artwork”.

Twelve months on and Vinyl, as it became shortly after, has been going from strength-to-strength. With the continued supported of the venue owners, Mark and Amy Hanson the regular, monthly event contains “local and national originals bands and artists where we give them a stage with a professional PA and sound tech” says Ian. “Equally we search the North for the best and artists and photographers and give them space to exhibit their work.

“We then went away and drew up the concept of what we wanted Vinyl to be, from the point of view of us as promoters, what did the bands want from playing here, how would we best exhibit the artwork and photography, but most of all what did the public want.

“Teesside did not have a regular night which featured originals bands playing alongside original local artwork. We launched in August of last year with Nephilim, A Day in Helsinki and Four Colour Ghosts on the bill along with artwork from Lauren and myself.”

Friendships and professional, working relationships with all concerned have proved a massive factor in the continuing success of Vinyl, more so with the support of the management and staff at the Riverside Lounge.

Ian says: “I’ll be honest and say it has been nerve wracking; while Lauren has a proven history of facilitating events, it was a first for me. The main thing for us has been that the Riverside Lounge in Stockton and the owners Mark and Amy Hanson, have been completely amazing since day one.

“They provide us a budget and let us get on with it, helping wherever they can.

“They have refitted the venue to make it the best in town for this kind of event, invested in a pro PA and lighting and even let us hang art pieces such as graffitied car bonnets or plaster casts from the ceiling. We are constantly working together as a team to improve the Vinyl experience for everyone.”

VINYL Long Play will prove the ultimate challenge in their short run to date. “This is a new one for us but it came about quite naturally really,” says Ian.

“It’s the Bank Holiday, there’s no work the next day for a lot of people, and we came up with the idea of having a relaxed acoustic feel to the late afternoon, as there is a riverside terrace at the venue, before moving into a fuller evening line-up as the night gets louder and the sun goes down.

“We have the new, country-pop feel of Charlea B to kick us off, followed by the return to the local music scene of the ever-popular Josh Mannion with his amazing chocolate gravel voice and brilliant guitar.

“Next up is Teesside’s favourite indie-kid, Ellis Rayner, mixing his Catfish and the Bottlemen indie feels with standard pub classics and, making her return to Vinyl is the North-East’s very favourite new folk and chilled bliss, Marie Marx, this time fresh off her album promoting tour.

“Ramping up the night a bit we have James Gray Robson and the Lovely Burn, an amazing duo who recently played to 300 amazed gig goers in a Teesside garage.

“We are very pleased to have booked the very brilliant Sauvage from Newcastle, and rounding off the night for us we have a band we have wanted to feature for so long, Great Waves. There will also be some amazing new artwork from Lauren Duncan and myself too. What more could you want”

Will it be a regular event? Ian says: “Let’s wait and see, we like to keep things fresh don’t we.”

Vinyl takes place on Sunday, May 27, at Edge, Stockton Riverside, from 3pm until late. Entry is free.