Cast your mind back to two weekends ago…Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, and also the date for a very big music event in Middlesbrough; the biggest if you will. That weekend, and indeed the whole of May, will always and forever be immortalised in my memory as the month that Radio 1 rolled into town for Big Weekend!
What. A. Weekend.
To be honest, the story started way before May and it’s a long one so I’ll do my very best to do a quick summary. Deep breath, here goes. May 2018, our Events team manager got invited to Swansea, by Radio 1, to attend their Biggest Weekend. The invite was not just a coincidence, happy, joy, come and have fun with us. Nope, they invited her because they wanted to bring Big Weekend to Middlesbrough and they wanted her to see what it was all about. Fast forward to her return, a sneaky conversation whispered behind hands, where she told us that we might…maybe definitely…be getting Big Weekend! We might…definitely did!…almost squeal the place down! And basically the excitement levels built from there. Announcement day was honestly the most surreal day of my working life ever and I felt drunk I was so giddy! Not a good start when they make the announcement at breakfast time! Many, many hours of endless work and preparation time later and the weekend was finally here! And how’s that for a summary, eh?!
We had this weird hybrid thing going on for the weekend itself. Part work, part attendee, we didn’t entirely know where to put ourselves. Other than in Stewart Park for the entire weekend, starting with the Friday night where we danced our sandals off and screamed until we were hoarse! I still cannot believe that I saw Annie Mac, Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus in Boro! How? What? Ehhhhhhh?!
Saturday was the most amazing line-up ever and I was beyond buzzing. It was also the most stressful day ever when we quickly realised that trying to compete with 34,999 other people to try and get a phone signal to upload social media content was basically impossible. It’s a small part of the story now but at the time it was huge and we were really worried at how obvious our lack of uploading was. Thankfully our bosses were of course hugely understanding and were like, guys, chill, honestly just go and have fun.
And so my summer of music truly began! Cue goosebumps, unbelievable buzz, unreal experiences that I have no words to describe and just absolute sheer joy. There’s too many to list but a good start would be Stormzy absolutely blowing the roof of the tent right off with his insane energy, passion and just bloody brilliance! Vampire Weekend, Foals and Two Door Cinema Club bringing me all the guitars, drums and indie boys that my heart and soul can need. Billie Eilish, Little Mix and Mabel – kick ass, filled with sass and an absolute blast….honestly it was endless. Unreal. Awe inspiring. And even now, I still can’t believe that it happened right here in my hometown.
The outpouring of love that came our work way after the event was like nothing we have ever experienced before and it genuinely overwhelmed me. People telling us how proud they were to be from Boro, how amazing it had been, raining compliments down on our heads…it carried the high from the weekend right through for another week and it’s only in the past couple of days that normality has returned…and I’ve *finally* caught up with my email inbox too – double celebrations! All in all, just W O W.
I’m not letting it end there though. The summer of music started in the best style ever and it needs to continue. Last night we did it up good for sure. In my very favourite venue, The Georgian Theatre in Stockton, we saw Kitty, Daisy and Lewis who were absolutely flipping awesome! I’ve only ever seen them live once before, about 8 years ago, the last time they were in Stockton and they made a lasting impression. 3 albums later, and they were back again. Even better. My hands are still raw from all the applause and I’m hoarse from whoooooping so loudly too!
If you ever get the chance to see them live I URGE you to go! Their absolute love and joy for music shines out and their jam sessions are something else! The crowd were absolutely rockin’ and they ended up doing two encores. I came out with a massive grin on my face, still singing along to their last song. Oh! So good! So so so so good!!
Next up is the Delta Bombers at the Westgarth, Jess Glynne in Darlington and Amethyst Kiah at the Town Hall. As well as any others I can fit in! Oh and a 90s Anthems DJ set with Jo Whiley in Birmingham too! What a summer! I absolutely cannot wait for them all!
Music is life. And live music is just the absolute BEST! My hands are ready and my wooooo hooooos are building, it’s gonna be a good one!