Festival bands put city on map

Rob GarrattNorwich's emerging music scene is set to get a boost when nine city bands appear on the same bill at a major UK festival, sharing a bill with stars like The Zutons, Ocean Colour Scene and Grace Jones.Rob Garratt

Norwich's emerging music scene is set to get a boost when nine city bands appear on the same bill at a major UK festival.

It will see the groups sharing a bill with stars like The Zutons, Ocean Colour Scene and Grace Jones when they take over a whole stage for a day at Brighton's established Beachdown Festival at the end of August.

The news is being hailed as further evidence of the city's growing impact on the national musical map after it was singled out by trendsetting music magazine NME last week.

Norwich was one of just two places named in its Future 50 selection - a list of bands, artists, places and technology tipped for the top.

The bands are all current or former students at specialist music college Access to Music, and the day will see around 50 musicians crammed onto what has lovingly christened the 'fun bus' for the 350-mile round trip.

Greg Hackett, singer and guitarist of melodic rockers The Loyal Few, said: 'It's a great festival to be playing - there's some big bands and it's a definite honour. This isn't the sort of opportunity that comes along every week.

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'We're going to cause a storm - all arriving by bus together.'

The bands will be appearing at the festival, which runs between August 28 and 31, in a 350-capacity tent originally set up to showcase Brighton bands studying at Access to Music.

But when the floodgates opened to applications from performers from all the brand's 20 centres across the county, Norwich bands and DJs shone, taking nine slots on the Sunday, starting at 10.30am and ending more than 12 hours later.

Ian Johnson, manager of the Norwich centre, which is based in King Street and is home to more than 230 budding musicians, said: 'I sent in a list of bands and the organisers just said they wanted them all.

'We are quite excited, it's going to be a long day, and we're all travelling down in one bus - it will be like The Young Ones - but the opportunity to play a big festival is too good to pass up, it will be more than worth it.

'It should really put Norwich on the map.'

Bands and DJs set to play are The Lost Levels, The Loyal Few, The Great Shakes, Glory Glory, Kapok, The Interpreters, Ed Sheeran, Death of Death of Discotheque and Queen B.

And efforts are being made to ensure these are names the south coast will not forget, with a stall set up to sell merchandise and promote the band's MySpace sites.

The festival will see R&B-influenced The Great Shakes returning to Brighton for the second time this summer after playing The Great Escape festival in May.

Frontman Dan Foden said: 'It's really important to play outside your own city. It's a big test for a band used to playing in front of friends and family and people who will be nice to you.

'Norwich is getting more notice in the national press and it shows there is more diversity of music and more going on than was recognised six months ago.'

Will Birkbeck, singer with indie quartet The Interpreters, added: 'It should be a great day. It's good to play out of the city and the journey will be fun.'

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