BBC Radio 3 and Sage Gateshead are inviting audiences to spend dusk till dawn immersed in the hypnotic world of alternative music in a major new live music festival featuring some of the biggest names in contemporary and classical music.

As part of BBC Radio 3’s continued commitment to connecting listeners to music performed from all over the UK, After Dark Festival shines a light on the fizzing creativity emerging in the North East, with a line-up made up of established classical, electronic and jazz artists as well as renowned poets and thinkers.

The festival takes place live on the Spring Equinox weekend of 18 – 20 March 2022 from two of Newcastle’s top music venues: a 6pm till 6am ‘dusk till dawn’ event at Sage Gateshead, with headliners in electronic music helping transport audiences overnight through the twilight hours; and a night of the best alternative music-making at The Star & Shadow (in partnership with TUSK Music).

Starting around dusk on Saturday 19 March, Sage Gateshead will invite audiences to spend all or part of the night, right through to sunrise, immersed in music and ideas for a unique night at an iconic North East venue.

From the innovative soundscapes of Scottish duo Kinbrae to an Indian raga at sunrise from Jasdeep Singh Degun, through to jazz ensembles and spoken word, After Dark Festival will explore the sounds of the night and celebrate the melodic journey to dawn.

The festival will also include BBC Radio 3 presenters Elizabeth Alker, Hannah Peel, Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Jennifer Lucy Allan, Ian McMillan and Matthew Sweet, who will interview artists and lead audiences through the evening. Performances from the After Dark Festival will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds in programmes including Unclassified, Late Junction and The Verb from 24 – 27 March, culminating in a special through-the-night edition of Night Tracks as the clocks change to Summer Time and light returns to our daily lives.

Performers and sessions announced today include:

  • An atmospheric sunset event and a poetry cabaret, hosted by Ian McMillan, starting 12 hours of continuous events through the night at Sage Gateshead.
  • Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Classical Immersion: an eclectic mix of meditative contemporary classical music to immerse audiences into the evening.
  • A live performance of ‘The Sleeping Forecast’, with presenter Viji Alles reading BBC Radio 4’s The Shipping Forecast to a specially curated mix of BBC Introducing music.
  • Scottish duo Kinbrae present electronic soundscapes rooted in the natural environment and the intersections of sound, place and image.
  • A late night in-conversation special presented by Jennifer Lucy Allan with the Newcastle-born cult singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan.
  • A four-hour immersive ‘deep night’ performance featuring Manchester Collective, Xenia Pestova-Bennett & Ed Bennett, multi-instrumentalist and composer Memotone, and Newcastle-based folk innovator Me Lost Me.
  • A traditional Indian raga at sunrise, performed by the Leeds-based sitarist Jasdeep Singh Degun, as part of a dawn event also featuring nature beatboxer and sound artist Jason Singh.
  • A partnership with TUSK Music for an event The Star and Shadow in Newcastle, including sets by the Manchester-based rapper and DJ Iceboy Violet, and violinist Rakhi Singh

Alan Davey, BBC Radio 3 controller said:

“BBC Radio 3 has always championed alternative, adventurous music, from late night jazz with Freeness, amazing collaborations in Late Junction, to eclectic electronic and acoustic mixes in our Night Tracks series. That’s why we’re thrilled to be working with Sage Gateshead and TUSK Music to bring After Dark Festival to the North East.

“This is a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the tremendous talent across the North, and to bring top alternative artists like Kinbrae and Memotone to as many of our audiences as possible, both in live venues and across BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds.”

Tickets for individual shows as part of the festival, as well as full festival wristbands to go through the night at Sage Gateshead, are available from Friday 18 February at