A NORTH-EAST festival celebrating and benefitting grassroots music has been staged, featuring bands from across the region and beyond.

Fifteen bands performed during the Grassroots Festival, held at The Forum Music Centre, in Darlington, bringing a variety of sounds and genres to the event’s two stages.

As part of its commitment to fostering developing acts, The Forum declined to take a share of ticket sales for the event, ensuring that all profits raised by the event were paid directly to participating artists.

The festival was opened by the Forum’s resident studio engineer Chris Davison on the mainstage, alongside teenage rap trio Cushty Mush, consisting of Adam Daniel, Tristan Arthur, and James Appleton, on the acoustic stage.

The festival also attracted other performers from a wide variety of genres, including groove metal band Desolation, Leeds-based rap metal fivesome Pulverise, singer-songwriter Hayley McKay, alternate noise band Deaf Forever, indie band The Courtyards and others.

The event was organised by Hayley McKay and Deaf Forever’s vocalist Lance Nixon, both professional musicians who grew up in Darlington, and who are part of The Forum’s volunteer supporters’ organisation.

They said: “The Grassroots Festival has been a great opportunity for acts to showcase their music in the newly-renovated Forum.

“There aren’t that many places locally bands can play their own original music live, but we’ve had rock, rap, blues, country, grunge, indie – even dance and electronica. It’s been wonderful to hear so many different styles played in one building, we had a great turnout with fantastic feedback from all that attended.

“We plan to carry on supporting local bands through The Forum’s Live & Local Nights – the second Thursday of every month – and hopefully help them build up their profiles and break out to a wider audience.

“We’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the acts, the brilliant audiences, and the incredible staff and volunteers of The Forum for making this festival very special.”

Several of the performers developed their talents at The Forum’s popular Song Club Sessions, which give young musicians aged 12-17 years old a chance to learn and perform with others their age every Wednesday night.

Find out more about upcoming gigs, Live & Local, and the Song Club Sessions by calling The Forum on 01325 363135, or by visiting www.theforumonline.co.uk.