The music selection in Darlington Arts Festival 2019, which runs from 17-20 May, will highlight a mix of musical styles from hip hop to Haydn, and from prog rock to Prokofiev.

Whatever your musical tastes, you will find something to enjoy in the spectrum of sound represented in the festival. The main music events are a world-class New Orleans jazz gig, classical piano performed by two young brothers, talented tribute bands, and the inspiring ‘Noisy Daughters vinyl launch’ featuring the best female musicians from across the north east.

Now in its seventh year, the festival is an opportunity for organisations to promote their activities, and an opportunity for audiences to discover something new – with the theme ‘Follow Your Art’.

On Friday 17 May, the Noisy Daughters vinyl launch takes place at Voodoo Café, Skinnergate. The event features some of the artists on the album – with performances from Martha Hill, Komparrison, Kay Greyson and Eve Conway.

The record is the North East’s first vinyl compilation with all female artists and has been curated and produced by Darlington-based music collective Tracks (which runs Noisy Daughters projects), record label Butterfly Effect and Rianne Thompson (from BBC Introducing/Amazing Radio). The vinyl packs in a whole range of styles including hip hop, urban pop, experimental electronic to hard-hitting alt-pop.

Money raised from sales of the Noisy Daughters Compilation LP will be used to support future female-focused events and workshops in the area. Ticket £5, or £15 with a copy of the record, from Tracks website tracksdarlington.co.uk.

During the four-day festival, two tribute bands will perform at The Forum Music Centre. On 17 May it’s Shine On, paying homage to legendary prog-rock superstars Pink Floyd; and on 18 May, The Cureheads will recreate the sound and atmosphere of a 1980s concert by The Cure. Doors open 7pm both evenings.

Also on Saturday 18th May, from noon-3pm, you can hear the best of jazz when Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club hosts American pianist Jeff Barnhart, ace reed man John Hallam, and Graham Smith on drums for an afternoon of classic ‘Sweet and Hot’ New Orleans Jazz. Full details on www.darlingtonjazz.co.uk, £10 on the door.

On Sunday 19 May 3pm at The Dolphin Centre’s Central Hall, Darlington Piano Society presents a recital by highly skilled brothers from the north east, Jeremy and James Chen (pictured). Both boys were prize winners at the Chopin International Festival in Warsaw in 2016 and they now study at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

Their programme will include works by JS Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin, Debussy and Prokofiev. This is a great opportunity to support young, local talent.

Tickets £10 – free admission for under 21s – via the Piano Society’s website or on the door or call 07730 870589.

More music is scheduled at the ‘Spotlight on…’ performance space in the town’s Victorian Market Hall, which will be set up specially for the Arts Festival. Pop along to the Market Hall on Saturday 18 May to see performances by groups representing local organisations: string quartet from Darlington Orchestra at 11am; performers from The Majestic at 12.30pm; and musicians from The Forum Music Centre at 1.30pm. These music events in the Market Hall are free.

Other sections of the festival are visual arts, children’s theatre and a comedy workshop for ages 7+, film, the annual Dance Festival with events at Joseph Pease Place on 18 May and the mass dance on Sunday 19 May, plus the Writers’ Festival with events on all four days.

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