Twisterella Festival and Nathan Stephenson Up For Top Festival Award
By Robert Nichols
Thursday 10 Oct 2019 16:02:00
Browse all Music articles

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced the shortlist for the prestigious 2019 Independent Festival Awards, which will take place on 6th November in Sheffield as part of the flagship Festival Congress event. Twisterella Festival, which is back for its 6th annual instalment this Saturday at venues across Middlesbrough, is nominated in the ‘In On The Ground Floor’ category which recognises forward-thinking artist booking. And Boro fan Nathan Stephenson, the man behind all the PA's at the festival has also been shortlisted himself for an award as backstage hero.


With previous Twisterella line-ups including the likes of chart topper Sam Fender along with critically acclaimed acts such as Dream Wife, Boy Azooga, Fickle Friends, Clean Cut Kid, Fatherson, PINS and many more, the nomination once again reaffirms Teesside as one of the best places in the UK to see the best emerging artists.

In a shake-up for the Independent Festival Awards, there are nine awards categories in total this year, designed to recognise success and innovation across the independent festival industry. These include, ‘Unique Festival Arena’, ‘Smart Marketing Campaign’, ‘Live Act of the Year’ and four new categories: European Festival of the Year’, ‘Backstage Hero’, ‘In On The Ground Floor’ (forward thinking artist booking) and ‘Never Mind The Pollocks’ (best festival artwork). 

The contenders for Live Act of the Year, presented in association with PRS for Music, are KOKOKO!, Yola, The Murder Capital, Black Futures and Twisterella 2019 headliners Bloxx.

Twisterella is also represented in the ‘Backstage Hero’ category, with legendary Teesside soundman Nathan Stephenson receiving a deserved nomination.

“We’re flattered to be nominated in this year’s Independent Festival Awards” said Twisterella co-promoter Henry Carden. “It’s also fantastic to see Nathan Stephenson recognised for the wonderful work he does behind the scenes.” he added.

Twisterella co-promoter Andy Carr said: "We are passionate about presenting Middlesbrough as a confident and forward-thinking town that is very much at the cutting edge for showcasing the best new music. We're incredibly proud to have created a sustainable event that has become a firm fixture on the UK's inner-city festival calendar.”

“Since day one, we have been determined to bring the finest emerging talent to Middlesbrough, so to be recognised as doing just that by our peers makes us very proud indeed. Twisterella has developed its own niche as a go-to event for the discerning music fan who is keen to keep ahead of the game as far as new acts are concerned” added Andy.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “We’re delighted with the shortlist after receiving a record number of nominations from our members, proving there is no shortage of creativity and innovation in the independent festival sector.”

A whole host of hotly tipped emerging artists including AIF award nominees Bloxx, Red Rum Club, Lucia, Vistas, Dylan Cartlidge, Pom Poko, The Pearl Harts, Dancing On Tables, Mush, Peaness, EUT, Leif Erikson, Baby Teeth and The Vegan Leather, to name but a few, will be performing at venues in the heart of Middlesbrough on Saturday 12th October 2019 for the 6th annual Twisterella Festival.

With acts heading to Teesside from Canada, Spain, Holland, Norway and across the UK, this year’s Twisterella is very much a global showcase, but with ample opportunities for local stars to shine. After spending 2019 performing at Glastonbury, SXSW and BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend, Mighty Redcar star Dylan Cartlidge returns to home soil to headline the Westgarth Social Club stage. 

Tickets, priced at £17.50 plus booking fee, are almost sold out but the final few can be purchased online at SEE:

With all of the venues less than 5 minutes walk from one another, the 1,000 capacity multi-venue metropolitan music festival utilises established stages such as Teesside University Students’ Union, The Townhouse, TSOne and The Westgarth Social Club, along with pop-up sessions in some of the town’s coolest bars in nearby Baker Street and Bedford Street.

The promoters involved in Twisterella both have a long history of bringing emerging acts to the region, having previously secured Teesside shows from the likes of Mumford & Sons, The 1975, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Sam Fender, Wolf Alice, James Bay, The Vaccines, Frank Turner, First Aid Kit, Daughter, Alt-J and many more earlier in their careers. 

In addition to the festival, Twisterella also hosts an (un)conference which aims to provide Teesside musicians with the best possible advice, support and guidance. Taking place at Middlesbrough Town Hall on Saturday 12th October from 10:30am til 1pm, the (un)conference is free to attend and features panellists including Vic Galloway (BBC Scotland), Emily Pilbeam (BBC Introducing), Joe Hammill (Cattle & Cane) and more.

For more information on Twisterella head to:


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