Festival goers arrived in their droves sporting their finest attire for the opening night of a growing North East event.

This year's Hardwick Festival got underway last night (Friday, August 18) in Sedgefield.

The prestigious North-East music event has grown in size and stature. Not only that, but the organisers have added an extra day’s programming to this year’s event.

Read more: Pictures from day one of Hardwick Festival 2023 - can you spot yourself?

The opening evening of the festival saw the Sedgefield hotel estate turned into one of the North East’s largest dance floors, thanks to a smorgasbord of high-profile dance artists who appeared on the main stage.

And what better way to blow off some steam at the weekend than with a set from the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show?

The Northern Echo: Hardwick Festival got underway with a bang, transforming the Sedgefield estate into a giant

The radio DJ and TV personality hot-footed it to County Durham from his Manchester studio, where he had been broadcasting earlier in the day.

Delivering an arsenal of floor fillers, the Red Dwarf star got the Hardwick party started. And when Craig dropped the House of Pain anthem Jump Around, the Sedgefield crowd didn’t have to be asked twice.

Meanwhile, nestled away on the Treehouse Stage, local legends Smoove and Turrell fired up the crowd with their soulful grooves, as they went head-to-head with their good friend Charles who was appearing on the neighbouring stage.

A strong crowd was in attendance as the band performed on the stage which had an almost Alice in Wonderland aesthetic.

The finale of the Friday's proceedings came thanks to Hacienda Classical. And what a treat it was to witness this incredible ensemble.

The Northern Echo: Hardwick Festival got underway with a bang, transforming the Sedgefield estate into a giant

Collectively, the Manchester Camerata along with legendary house DJ Graeme Park and a rotating cast of guest vocalists brought to life the music of the legendary nightclub.

Many tracks performed in the set were the soundtrack to the Manchester dance music scene during the 80s and 90s. However, they have taken on a different feel when performed in conjunction with an orchestra.

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One of the highlights of the set came via a guest appearance from Peter Hook of Joy Division/New Order, who performed timeless classics Blue Monday and Temptation.

Friday night's headline set was a celebration of music. It was, of course, nostalgic in places, but most of all, it was enjoyable. It has been said by many in the past that the Hacienda must be rebuilt, but what Friday night's show highlighted was that the spirit and the music of the dearly missed Manchester venue are in safe hands thanks to Hacienda Classical.

Hardwick Festival continues throughout the weekend with appearances from the likes of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Kooks, Mel C, The Vaccines, Johnny Marr, and a lot more.