Hardwick Live 2017
On Friday 18th August Hardwick Hall Hotel hosted its Hardwick Live 2017 event. Situated in Sedgefield, Country Durham the 4-star luxury hotel is popular for its live music and various other events throughout the year. The site is also very popular with visitors who come to visit the surrounding park as well. I’ve visited the park many times over the years ever since I was a child, and this year marks the first time that I would be attending the Hardwick Live event. The two day event was family-friendly with people of all ages coming to enjoy the good music, food, and fun.
The Friday opening night included acts such as: The Pale White, Fletcher Jackson Band, The Lounge Kittens, Tom Smith, Smoove & Turrell, and of course Madness. For an August night in the North East I was expecting a lot of rain but, thankfully, the weather wasn’t bad at all. The event area that was outside in Hardwick Hall’s grounds became packed full of crowds that came to see the various stalls there and the bands perform. There were tents/stalls there that sold chinese food, hog roast, sweets and candyfloss, fish and chips, and also ones serving mojitos, Pimms, prosecco and much more. There was even a small fairground there as well. I think everyone was a bit spoilt for choice.
Arriving a little late, I missed a few of the bands that had already performed, but managed to see The Pale White perform on the main stage. I had never heard of the Newcastle based band before but their music was very good and entertaining- I would have loved to have heard more from them. I think that they definitely deserved more stage time than the 35mins that they got. At 9pm, the long awaited Madness finally took to the main stage. Madness was a popular band in the 1970/80s and, lead by frontman ‘Suggs’ (real name Graham McPherson), they gave a very entertaining performance. Firmly planted about 8 rows from the stage, standing amongst hundreds of people, I had a great view of them perform. Their 1hr45m performance included classic songs such as ‘It Must Be Love’, ‘Our House’, and ‘Night Boat To Cairo’. Friday night at Hardwick Live was thoroughly entertaining and seeing Madness so close to home was an opportunity not to miss out on. The event was also on the following day as well with Saturday including bands such as: The Sherlocks, Pete Doherty, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Ocean Colour Scene and many more.
In all, the opening night for Hardwick Live 2017 was a very fun and entertaining event. It was great to see the crowd filled with people of all ages, enjoying good food and entertainment. Standing in the packed crowd to watch Madness was very relaxed, with barely any pushing in the crowd. Apart from a slight disturbance near to us between two crowd members, the night went by smoothly. Nothing could deter the crowd from dancing and singing as loudly as possible. Even though Hardwick Live is a local event for me, I had never attended before but I am so glad that I did this year. The only problem that I had at the event was the slight difficulty of exiting the venue at closing time. Nearing 11pm, it was pitch dark outside with very little light to guide everyone out. Hundreds of people were pushing towards the exit with only the festival stall lights and a few fairy lights placed in the trees to light the way out, we all had to be careful not to trip over in the dark. Luckily I knew my way around the venue so knew how to easily get out, but others unfamiliar to the area may have had more difficulty. There was also a few complaints from people about the length of queues for drinks tokens, queues getting into the venue, and about the chaos getting out of the carpark at the end of the night.
Apart from the need for some better organisation Hardwick Live 2017 was a great event to attend. There was a lot of food/drink stalls to go to and the music was very entertaining. I certainly wouldn’t be deterred from returning to the event when it is next on. If anything I just wish I had attended Hardwick Live well before now.