A brand new venue will replace Lancaster Castle as the main stage for this year’s Lancaster Music festival.
Lancaster University’s 1,100 capacity Sugarhouse venue will also host a headline show, after The Duchy of Lancaster said that Lancaster Castle would not re-open in time for the festival due to on-going repair work.
As a result, brand new venue Kanteena, on the junction of Brewery Lane and Lodge Street, in the city’s so-called Canal Quarter area, will host the music festival’s Saturday and Sunday all day events and the Saturday and Sunday headliners.
The venue, which is due to open next month, is situated in a former soft drinks factory.
It will feature an indoor stage and bar and indoor and outdoor street food area.
The venue’s operator, Pablo Aguilar, who is originally from Blackpool, said Kanteena would be a “food hub and bar, with a funk and soul vibe”.
He said that Kanteena would open a week before the festival, and run Wednesday to Sunday each week, with late nights on Friday and Saturday, and a focus on street food and good quality beer.
Stuart Marshall, Lancaster Music Festival director, said that the festival team had been working with the Duchy, city council and other venue operators to find alternative locations for their main stage events which will be headlined by Lancaster bands Massive Wagons, The Lovely Eggs and Lowes.
Stuart said: “Ironically, this has occurred in the year when we have sold our highest number of advance tickets and in fact we had sold out one of the nights of the festival for the first time.
However, we’re really excited about the alternative venues that we’ve been able to secure which will be fantastic additions to the Lancaster music and events scene.”
Due to the number of tickets involved the festival has been forced to split the headliners between the two venues.
The Friday night Massive Wagons gig will now take place at The Sugarhouse, whilst the Lowes and The Lovely Eggsevents will take place at nearby Kanteena, an exciting new music, events and street-food space in the Canal Quarter. Kanteena will house an indoor stage and bar and an outdoor beer garden with food and drink stalls and will also host music on Friday night of the festival.
Plans are also in place to extend the Kanteena main stage line-up into the early hours with after-party events on all three nights.
Stuart added: “Lancaster Music Festival is all about promoting the vibrant music scene in the city, its many acts and venues, so we’re absolutely delighted to be able to support the launch of a new 800-capacity music and events space in the Canal Quarter.
“Not only that but we’re also bringing live music back to the Sugarhouse, at which the likes of The Stone Roses and The Charlatans played in the past.
“Lancaster has been lacking music venues of this size for some time so it’s great for the city that bigger touring acts will be able to perform here once again and right in the city centre too”.
The main stage headliners will be supported by a diverse mix of local, national and international acts from Europe, Australia and the USA.
Returning to the festival will be 2017’s big hit Uptown Monotones from Austria - who won a fans poll on social media to select the international act they most wanted to see return to the city - and festival favourites Sensory Hoverload from New Jersey.
Aside of the main stages, the five-day city-wide event will take place in over 40 venues and is expected to attract an estimated 75,000 people into the city centre. Musicians of almost every genre will be featured from brass bands, choirs and classical quartets to heavy rock and punk.
“The festival is taking music into an even wider mix of venues including a string of ‘Busk Stops’ and there will also be secret gigs in secret venues performed by secret acts!
“The city’s squares and streets will be filled with family-friendly music and activities, with music and dance workshops in Market Square and the Melodrome stage in Sun Square. There will be musical street theatre and performances all around the city centre. Watch out for the return of the mobile piano-playing Musical Ruth who will be bringing her (?) irreverent performance to the city’s streets!
The Storey, a creative hub in the heart of the city which also houses the Printroom café, will be the festival hub with a full schedule of music performances, a festival market and workshops for all ages. An exhibition of music-related art, photography and film under the title Art of Music will be co-hosted by The Storey and King Street Studios.
The full festival line-up will be announced in the Official Festival Guide which will be available from participating venues and other outlets in early September.
Before all that, the festival’s Search For A Star talent contest reaches its climax at a special concert at the Grand Theatre on Sunday September 8th with the prize for the winning act being a slot on the main stage during the festival. Tickets are available priced at £5 from the Grand Theatre’s website: lancastergrand.co.uk.
A spokesperson for The Duchy of Lancaster said: “The Duchy is committed to restoring this important heritage asset for generations to come. While we regret that the current phase of conservation work is taking longer than anticipated, we must make public safety our first priority. With this in mind we feel that we have no alternative but to remain closed until the end of October. This will enable us to ensure that all areas are publicly accessible, secure and safe.
We absolutely want the Castle to continue to serve as the main hub for community and citywide activities including the Music Festival. The decision to re-site this year’s event is purely based on the fact that the Castle is not ready to host this year’s main stage.”
Tickets and passes for all other festival events are available via the Music Festival website: lancastermusicfestival.com.