Evolution Festival

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Evolution Festival
Genre Rock, indie, electronic
Dates May Bank Holiday 2002 - 2011 and 2013; Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday 2012
Location(s) Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead, England
Years active 2002 - 2013

Evolution Festival was a music festival held annually across Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead, England from 2002 until 2013.[1][2] The festival attracted tens of thousands of attendees every year and usually took place on the Quayside.[3] Evolution Festival was briefly titled Orange Evolution due to a sponsorship deal with the mobile phone company Orange.[4] It has been described as "the biggest festival Tyneside has ever staged".[5]

Headline performers at Evolution Festival during its run included Dizzee Rascal, The Wombats, Paolo Nutini and Maxïmo Park.[6][7][8] Florence + The Machine, Amy Winehouse and Ellie Goulding all appeared at Evolution before the height of their fame.[9][10][11]

In 2014 Evolution Festival did not take place, and although the organisers claimed it was only a "pause" the event has not been held since.[2] A smaller event featuring local bands, Evolution Emerging, continues to be held annually.[12]


Evolution Festival started in 2002.[1] In 2003 the event took place on the Quayside for the first time, with performances from Moloko, Biffy Clyro and Inspiral Carpets.[13] In 2004, due to funding restrictions, Evolution returned to its multi-venue format including a Shindig event headlined by Eric Morillo and Deep Dish.[14] Evolution returned to the Quayside in 2005, sponsored by the mobile phone network Orange and featuring a three-stage event headlined by Dizzee Rascal and The Futureheads.[15] Major Tyneside export Maxïmo Park headlined the 2007 event.[8] In 2008, the festival ended its sponsorship with Orange and became known as Evolution Festival, and introduced an entry charge - of £3 - for the first time.[16]

In 2009 the festival became a two-day event with performances from The Wombats, White Lies and Florence + The Machine.[6] A folk stage was added in 2010.[7] In 2012 the organisers of Evolution held a one-off edition of the festival at Avenham Park, Preston as part of the Preston Guild celebrations.[17] The one-day event, titled GFest, featured performances from Maverick Sabre, Labrinth and Stooshe and attracted thousands of festival-goers.[18] The 2013 edition of the main Newcastle event featured The Vaccines, Ellie Goulding, Paloma Faith and Jake Bugg.[19]

In 2014 Evolution Festival did not take place, although promoters Jim Mawdsley and Dave Stone said that it was not the end of Evolution Festival.[2] The festival has, however, not been held since 2013 and no news of a relaunch has been announced. The Evolution brand continues through Evolution Emerging, a multiple venue event that showcases new bands from the local region.[12]


Orange Evolution 05[edit]

Spiller's Wharf Baltic Square Quayside East
  • Vic Goddard
  • Charles Walker
  • Candi Staton
  • Misty in Roots
  • Mark Eitzel
  • American Music Club
  • 50 Foot Wave
  • Martin Stephenson & The Daintees

Orange Evolution 06[edit]

Spiller's Wharf Baltic Square Quayside East
  • The Go! Team
  • Richard Hawley
  • Jim Noir
  • Field Music
  • Liam Frost
  • The Sunshine Underground
  • Lorraine
  • The Bulletproof Stonelove Soundsystem
  • Indigo Colony
  • Richie Havens
  • Hayseed Dixie
  • Legendary Shack Shakers
  • The Handsome Family
  • Holly Gollightly
  • Morfo
  • The Eighteenth Day Of May

Orange Evolution 07[edit]

Spiller's Wharf Baltic Square
  • Maximo Park
  • Echo and the Bunnymen
  • Joe Jackson
  • The Enemy
  • Kano
  • Hot Club de Paris
  • The Motorettes
  • Hope MacDonald

Evolution Festival 08[edit]

Spiller's Wharf Baltic Square

Evolution Festival 09[edit]

Spiller's Wharf Sunday Spiller's Wharf Monday
Baltic Square Sunday Baltic Square Monday

Evolution Festival 2010[edit]

Spiller's Wharf Sunday Spiller's Wharf Monday
Baltic Square Sunday Baltic Square Monday
Ballast Hills Sunday Ballast Hills Sunday
  • The Unthanks
  • King Greosote
  • Po Girl
  • James Hunter & The Jokers
  • Dawnlandes
  • John Smith
  • JT Nero & Friends
  • Donovan
  • Baskery
  • Lissie
  • Smoove & Turrell
  • Slow Club
  • Danny & The Champions of the World
  • Ben Howard

Evolution Festival 2011[edit]

Spiller's Wharf Saturday Spiller's Wharf Sunday
Baltic Square Saturday Baltic Square Sunday
Ballast Hills Saturday Ballast Hills Sunday
  • Note: Clare Maguire replaced Fenech Soler who were playing the Baltic Stage due to illness within the band.
  • Note: Toyger replaced Clare Maguire who was playing the Baltic Stage due to a last minute cancellation.

Evolution Festival 2012[edit]

Spiller's Wharf Sunday Spiller's Wharf Monday
Ballast Hills Sunday Ballast Hills Monday

Evolution Festival 2013[edit]

Spiller's Wharf Sunday Spiller's Wharf Monday
Ballast Hills Sunday Ballast Hills Monday


  1. ^ a b Fletcher, Richard (25 February 2013). "North East events: A guide to Evolution Festival 2012". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 10 July 2016. Evolution Festival 2012 follows 10 successful years after Evolution Festival began in 2002. 
  2. ^ a b c Jeffrey, Sarah (11 February 2014). "Evolution Festival 2014 will not go ahead". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "Evolution Festival postponed for one year". BBC News. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Don't miss Evolution 04 supplement!". Evening Chronicle. 15 April 2004. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  5. ^ Barr, Gordon (7 April 2005). "Festival hits Dizzee heights". Evening Chronicle. Archived from the original on 14 September 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Bychawski, Adam (19 February 2009). "Dizzee Rascal, Wombats, White Lies for Newcastle Evolution festival". NME. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Evolution festival 2010: Paolo Nutini to headline". BBC Tyne. British Broadcasting Corporation. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Heroes launch music festival". Evening Chronicle. 28 March 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  9. ^ Barr, Gordon (20 February 2009). "Evolution Festival to be extended over two days". The Journal. Retrieved 10 July 2016. Organisers of Evolution have spotted up and coming talent early with other acts confirmed including many of the music industry’s hotly tipped stars for 2009 ... Florence and the Machine. 
  10. ^ "Tiny Amy has a huge talent". The Journal. 23 April 2004. Retrieved 10 July 2016. Amy Winehouse, the first act to kick off the Orange Evolution festival, played to a mesmerised audience at Northumbria University last night. 
  11. ^ Simpson, Dave (1 June 2010). "Review: Evolution Festival". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2016. But Evolution also provides a chance to chart the progress of this year's hot tips. Ellie Goulding's problems range from a faulty microphone to the sight of a crowdsurfing blow-up doll with an erection, but she soon starts a Mexican wave and recruits the crowd to sing an "Uh-oh, uh-oh". 
  12. ^ a b Jeffery, Sarah (29 February 2016). "Evolution Emerging 2016: Organiser's reveal line-up for this year's festival". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "Evolution Festival 2003". eFestivals. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  14. ^ "BBC Tyne - Music - Bank Holiday clubber's bonanza". BBC Tyne. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "Orange Evolution Music Festival 2005". eFestivals. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  16. ^ Bychawski, Adam (21 February 2008). "The Streets, Kate Nash, Reverend And The Makers for £3 festival". NME. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  17. ^ "Get ready to rock!". Lancashire Evening Post. 27 February 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  18. ^ "Preston Guild 2012 celebrations draw to close". BBC News. 9 September 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2016. Thousands were also partying in Avenham Park at the day-long GFest music event. Soul star Maverick Sabre headlined the GFest along with urban performer Labrinth and R&B girl group Stooshe. 
  19. ^ Barr, Gordon (21 February 2013). "Evolution Festival 2013: Full line-up for May bank holiday music festival". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 

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