Sam Fender leads line-up for special Christmas concert live stream celebrating North East talent

4 December 2020, 11:36 | Updated: 4 December 2020, 11:42

Sam Fender is set to open the Virgin Money Unity Arena
Sam Fender is set to open the Virgin Money Unity Arena. Picture: Press

The North Shields singer-songwriter is set for Sage Gateshead Christmas Cracker live stream, which premieres on Friday 18 December.

Sam Fender is among the acts confirmed for a special festive live stream concert.

The North Shields singer songwriter heads up the line-up for Sage Gateshead Christmas Cracker, which will take place on Friday 18 December 2020.

The concert - which will premiere on YouTube on the night from 7.30pm - promises to be a one-off Christmas spectacular featuring some of the North East’s favourite musicians performing both original songs and festive favourites

Fender will perform with the Royal Northern Sinfonia orchestra of Sage Gateshead in a special collaboration.

Joining them on the bill are Newcastle-based alt-pop musician Martha Hill, Paul Edis, The Young'uns; Voices of Virtue Gospel Choir and Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia with Chorus Director Timothy Burke,, which features more than 50 amateur singers from all walks of life.

The event will be presented by award-winning saxophonist Jess Gillam and The Futureheads’ Ross Millard.

READ MORE: The heartbreaking story behind Sam Fender's Dead Boys single

Sam Fender said:"So excited to play The Sage with Royal Northern Sinfonia! It's one of my favourite venues, I can’t wait to hear and perform a couple of songs with a full orchestra! A free live stream for fans is going to be a nice way to end the year.”

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director of Sage Gateshead said: Sage Gateshead Christmas Cracker is a celebration of music and musicians from the North. We want to showcase amazing musical talent and offer a fun-filled Christmas event to the North East  - it’s a way for Sage Gateshead to say a special thank you to everyone who has supported us this year. We’re so grateful for the support we have had and want to say thank you with this magical online event"

The charity’s Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance campaign aims to raise £3 million over three years to help meet the challenge the pandemic has created, and to serve communities and audiences in the North East and wider North for the long term. They are aiming to reach the first £1m by March 2021 – the first year of the campaign – and are delighted to announce that the public have already helped to raise £700,000. 

Sage Gateshead Christmas Cracker premieres on Sage Gateshead’s YouTube channel at 7.30pm on Friday 18 December and will be available to watch free of charge throughout the festive season until 4 January 2021.

READ MORE - Sam Fender on Winter Song cover: "I didn't want it to be crass and c**p

Fender will no doubt perform his latest Christmas song at the event - a cover of Lindisfarne's Winter Song.

Listen to it here:

Asked what drove him to record the song, he old Radio X's George Godfrey: "I wanted to do a Christmas song, but I didn't want to do something that was crass and cr*p.

"Winter Song is one of my favourite Christmas tunes and Alan Hall is one of my heroes [...] so I just wanted to do something that was close to home and close to my heart and that's why I picked it".

"If you listen to the song and the original track the lyrics are actually really poignant and relevant for the time," added the Play God singer. "It's basically a Christmas message of trying to be more empathetic about people who are worse off than you."

READ MORE: Sam Fender reveals when he'll release his second album