Celebrate the Christmas season in Darlington by heading to a showcase of some of the finest performers in the North East at the X-mas Box Music Festival.
Following on from the success of the Music Box Festival over the last two summers, the Darlington- based festival returns for a Christmas special this month and will feature an array of acts including indie bands, synth and electronic acts as well as acoustic and folk performers.
X-mas Box Festival will be taking place across two venues in Darlington town centre, with an acoustic ‘Rooftop Grotto Stage’ at Hash Bar and two more upbeat stages at Avalon: the ‘Winter Wonderland Stage’ and the ‘Retro Yuletide Stage,’ with each stage offering a different music genre with even more variety within their impressive respective line-ups.
The ‘Winter Wonderland Stage’ promises an “enchanted outdoor utopia” of indie music. Some of the best up-and-coming indie acts in the North East will be playing at the seasonal festival including The Circus Villains, Abel Raise the Cain, Sonder Minds, The Broken Broadcast and The Dead Seat.
Back inside at Avalon, you will find the ‘Retro Yuletide Stage’ which will have a more synthetic vibe inspired by sounds of the 80s and electro-pop. The line-up consists of Twist Helix, Ronald Raygun, Lost State of Dance, Shamu and The Shooting Of.
However, if chilled-out cosy acoustic performances are more your vibe then you can head over to Hash Bar. The intimate ‘Rooftop Grotto Stage’ is described as a “secret festive hideaway”, with soft folk and pop performances to come from Ridley Woof, George Boomsma, Eve Conway, Danny Devon, Aubrey Esme, and Anna Stephens.
David Saunders from the Darlington music collective, Tracks, with help from Darlington BID, put on two shows last December, Festive Folktown and Darlo Ho-Ho-Ho. He says: “Both events attracted crowds of around 200 and introduced people, who might not normally come out to watch live music, to what was going on in the local music scene.”
Now this year, teaming up with Fifth Arch Brewery, Butterfly Effect Records and the two venues, David is aiming: “to try and bring a little seasonal cheer to the town.”
Although the Christmas event will still be bringing the same level of quality North Eastern music, the X-mas Box Festival aims to differ from its summer counterpart, Music Box. David noted: “The main difference [between the two events] is the vibe of the festival as we’re aware that people either want lovely angelic sounds or disco/party bangers at x-mas, so that’s been reflected in the programming”.
Stephen Gill from Butterfly Effect Records added: “It’s really important that small towns like Darlington continue to showcase its original artists as well as bringing other acts, doing well in the region, to its venues. It makes us part of what is a thriving North East scene.”
Owner of Fifth Arch Brewery and Avalon, Dave Johnson, says: “We’re absolutely blessed with a great choice of local talent” and that after the success of Music Box over the last two years, “It [made] perfect sense to unleash X-mas Box”.
As well as the range of music, promises have been made of festive decorations, Christmas film projections, seasonal food and drinks and other seasonal surprises. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s an after-show party at Hole in the Wall just across the town centre to complete a perfect evening of music and festivities.
The X-mas Box Festival takes place on Sunday 17th December with doors opening at 4:00pm. Tickets can be bought online via Skiddle for £5.00 or are £8.00 on the door. This event is for over 18s only.