Critically acclaimed acts and a picturesque setting, the first Northern Kin Festival looks set to hit all of the right chords

LEADING folk, rock and blues acts will come together for a new family music festival in a picturesque location.

The first Northern Kin music festival will take place in Castle Park Garden in Stanhope, Weardale, on Friday, June 22, and Saturday, June 23.

Lindisfarne, a celebrated North-East folk rock band, are headlining the event, along with Wilko Johnson, an acclaimed singer, songwriter and guitarist who also appeared in the hit television show Game of Thrones.

Other acts include Ferocious Dog, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Paul Rose Trio, Young ‘Uns, Driven Serious,The Unthanks and Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra, plus a host of up-and-coming North-East musicians.

The event is the sister festival to Stone Valley Festival, a celebration of live music and scooters, which takes place in Stanhope the following weekend. This will offer music fans a mixture of mod, ska, 1960s, northern soul and punk.

John Brannan, organiser of both events, said: “We wanted to create another festival in the same location to cater for an even broader range of musical tastes. Not everyone likes punk, ska and indie so we thought it would great to bring folk and blues music to Weardale too.

“It is such a stunning setting, one of the most beautiful festival sites I have ever seen.”

Lindisfarne, fronted by founder member Rod Clements, are especially popular among North-East music fans. The band first formed in Newcastle in the 1960s and went on to produce an extensive catalogue of hit folk songs and albums.

They are touring venues and festivals across the UK this year, and Mr Brannan is thrilled they are supporting Northern Kin.

“It is such a privilege to have Lindisfarne at the festival,” he said. “They are a legendary band, especially in the North-East. They can easily fill venues of this size on their own so to have them as part of the line up is a real coup.”

Born is Essex, Wilko Johnson also has links with the region, having studied English at Newcastle University.

He was a member of the rock, rhythm and blues band Dr Feelgood in the 1970s, and went on to found the Solid Senders and the Wilko Johnson Band, as well as enjoying a spell with Ian Dury’s band The Blockheads.

He is heavily influenced by the guitarist Mick Green from the 1960s rock band Johnny Kidd and The Pirates, and employs a finger-style, chop-chord strumming action when playing. This allows for chords and lead to be played at the same time, resulting in a more fluent and distinctive sound than that produced by a pick.

Day and camping tickets are available for the festival, with prices starting at £18. There will be entertainment for children, including games and face painting.

  • To find out more, visit or search for Northern Kin Festival on Facebook.
  • The Stone Valley Festival takes place on Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30. To find out more, visit