On the 2nd and 3rd August, Hull Marina hosts the city’s annual celebration of local and regional music. Over the two days, 30,000 people descend on the banks of the Humber to watch 200 acts, spread over 14 stages. Having spawned out of a one-off celebration of The Sesh, a weekly free music night started by Mark Page in 2001, Humber Street Sesh has become one of the cultural gems on the city’s mantelpiece. Now in its seventh year, and having grown from a single street to both sides of the Marina, here’s our guide to the festival’s top artists to help you make the most of what’s on offer.
Saturday – Main Stage – 22:15-23:00.
The first band on our list comes straight from the top of the bill. Having been a solid feature of both past Street Seshes and the Hull music scene as a whole for many years. In 2019, The Hubbards complete their journey up the stages to crown the bill on Saturday night. The past year has seen the indie group continue their push towards (deserved) national recognition, releasing their first EP on vinyl, ‘Petty Grudge Pop’, and having the honour of being the first act to headline at the city’s new Bonus Arena. After landing support slots for the likes of Foals and The 1975, as well as appearances at Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Y Not, the opportunity to headline should be one that the group can embrace with comfort, and seize as a chance to showcase their readiness to take a step up in the national music scene.
Friday – Big Top – 21:05-21:35
Pick number two takes the form of local heroes, LIFE. Headlining in 2017 after releasing their debut LP, ‘Popular Music’, two years later they’re back, along with promises of follow-up LP, ‘A Picture of Good Health’, due for release on 20 th September. With two new singles already in the bag, a deal with [PIAS] and seemingly inhabiting a near-permanent spot on 6Music’s playlist, the Hull punks have spent 2019 so far touring Europe with pals IDLES. Going on to hit up festivals including Glastonbury, 2000 Trees and Rock For People. With more festivals to come, and likely an Autumn tour to accompany the new album, Humber Street is a great chance to see the group return to their hometown with an exhibition on how to dominant a stage.
Saturday – Big Top – 22:15-22:45
Although Hull’s musical exports have normally taken the form of guitar-focussed groups. But, in the last couple of years, the city has proved the petri dish for an emerging hip-hop and grime scene, with which it has infused the unique northern twist that so much of the city’s music possesses. The undisputed leader of the grime outbreak is Chiedu Oraka. A Saturday slot headlining the Big Top stage shows just how far grime and hip-hop has grown within the city’s musical consciousness, with other artists like Marx and Cameo Brooks dotted across the line-up as well. The self-described “sound of a new working-class Northern England” has garnered support from BBC 1Xtra and 6Music, along with The Guardian and Vice. There’s no reason that Chidu Oraka shouldn’t be circled on your schedule.
Têtes de Pois
Saturday – Speak Easy Yurt – 22:10-23:00
Whilst the majority of acts over the weekend are products of the East Yorkshire city’s music scene, a notable selection represents the best of what else Yorkshire and beyond has to offer. Têtes de Pois are leading a pack of of Leeds bands hitting the festival, including Tallsaint, Brooders and B-ahwe. The jazz scene in Leeds is something that has grown to a level of enviable eminence compared to other cities, mainly thanks to the combination of the Leeds College of Music, Tight Lines and the tireless work of Lubi Jovanovic amongst many others. One of these jazz darlings, Têtes de Pois headline the Speak Easy Yurt on the Saturday. Having released standout EP ‘Framework’ in February, the group seek the bring the grooves of the nu-jazz wave sweeping England to Hull’s Marina.
Stage: Strummerville. Time: 21:15-21:45.
Our final pick, Cannibal Animal, can be heard taking to the Strummerville stage late on the Saturday. Although most (if not all) of the bands hitting the same stage could have made their way onto this list, the raucous foursome have climbed their way to the top of Hull’s punk scene with a reputation for fearsome live shows, backed by March’s single ‘Idiot Zoo’. Fronted by former Vulgarians guitarist Luke Ellerington, their chaotic-yet-tight performances have seen them expand out into western Europe. With rumours of a big 2020 for the band (including a possible SXSW appearance), catch them tear down a newly renovated Fruit before it’s even open again.
Words by Leo Joslin, Pictures curtesy of Sarah Oglesby – sometimes you have to keep it Hull you know?