BBC Radio 3 Heads to Newcastle’s Virtual Tusk Festival

BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3’s flagship adventurous music programmes, Late Junction and Freeness, team up to curate a virtual stage at Tusk Festival 2020 – an innovative digital-first version of Tyneside’s most forward-thinking music festival.

In partnership with Tusk, three ensembles from the North East, representing the best of the region’s experimental and improvised music communities, will record exclusive sessions for BBC Radio 3 at Blank Studios in Newcastle.

Performances from The Radio 3 Lateness Stage will be broadcast on Late Junction on 3 and 9 October and on Freeness on 4 and 10 October. Video highlights from the stage will be streamed on the Tusk Festival website.

Getting the Radio 3 Lateness Stage off to a roaring start, will be a first time collaboration between Tyneside titans Mariam Rezaei and Stephen Bishop. Artistic director at local venue TOPH, Mariam Rezaei draws on noise, hip hop and experimental turntablism in her work.

Stephen Bishop is founder of the renowned Opal Tapes label and releases skewed electronics under the name Basic House and Lacrima which span the furthest reaches of ambient electronics and sound design.

Stalwarts of the left field folk scene, Anglo-American duo Cath and Phil Tyler will be performing their style of grainy traditional song. Drawing on their experiences in alternative bands, and as consummate improvisers, Cath and Phil believe in a form of song-writing which reinstates grit, virtuosity and stripped back performance into traditional music, while also allowing the form to retain its storytelling function.

Double bassist Andy Champion has been a central figure in the North East jazz scene for the last decade, working with the likes of Jason Yarde, Bob Mintzer and Andy Sheppard. For this quartet he invites a stellar lineup of players from the local scene to join him on the Lateness Stage – tenor saxophonist Graeme Wilson, percussionist Christian Alderson from Tyneside trio Archipelago and award-winning vocalist Zoë Gilby.

Late Junction is the home for experimental music for adventurous listeners on BBC Radio 3. It is presented by Verity Sharp and Jennifer Lucy Allan every Friday night from 11pm-1am.

Freeness is the home for the best new jazz and improvised music with an adventurous spirit on BBC Radio 3. It is presented by Corey Mwamba every Saturday night from midnight-1am.

Alan Davey, BBC Radio 3 controller, says: “Live music of a brilliant, interesting and innovative kind is what we are about here at Radio 3, especially throughout these challenging times of isolation and uncertainty. So a partnership with Tusk Festival presents us with an exciting opportunity to experiment, while recreating via broadcast the special connection between live performers and listeners. Coming from the North East myself, it’s great to be able to spotlight this city’s thriving underground scene. I know everyone who can’t attend the festival this year will still be taken on an innovative journey with our Lateness Stage at Tusk Festival.”

Late Junction and Freeness are Reduced Listening productions. All episodes from the Virtual Tusk Festival will be available on BBC Sounds for 30 days: