Miro Magazine’s Coral Daniels checks out the electrifying Northern talent at Darlington’s Music Box festival. Here are her festival highlights:

When you think of music hot spots in the UK, the North East doesn’t normally pop into your head, but in recent years, festivals such as Darlingotn’s Music Box, has been changing that. It’s got everything you could need from a day festival: selection of food, great value for money and most importantly an eclectic assortment of talent.

A lot of festivals have come under scrutiny recently for an imbalance in the ratio of male to female artists and whilst some are slowly increasing the number of females on the bill, Music Box dedicated a whole stage to it , at Hole In The Wall, with the help of Noisy Daughters. They had an MC, alt-pop and rock all represented throughout the day.

Leeds based, all girl, punk rock quintet ,Venus was one of the stars of this stage; despite their frontwoman, Grace Kelly, battling through laryngitis at the time. Dressed in all black, they have a classic we’re a rock band image, but with a feminist charged angst and fuck you to the world; leaving a trail of empowerment and drooling men behind them. Their newest single “Sour” and earlier release “Deranged” have a balance of heavy electro-rock, killer unique vocals and a we won’t take it attitude.

VENUS – Photos by: Mark Blizard, Lewis Mason & Josh Ryan – Image taken from Music Box Festival Facebook Page

Bursting with an infectious energy, were the headlining band Twist Helix, another Hole In The Wall must see. They had the pub full to the brim and over flowing through the doorway.

They seemed the most confident and happy to be there from all the acts on display. “Ghost” was particularly great at expressing the need to have a stage dedicated to female talents, as frontwoman Bea Garcia, pre-luded the track with a message about the difficulties women in music face; being taken seriously for their skills.

TWIST HELIX – Photos by: Mark Blizard, Lewis Mason & Josh Ryan – Image taken from Music Box Festival Facebook Page

Earlier in the afternoon, outside headlining the Outbox stage, the Sunday sun was shining down on bluesy rockabilly, The Dead Seat. Their music had people literally dancing in the street (unless the alcohol had taken its toll by this point) and even got themselves an encore. Despite their clear musical skill, one band member appeared to confuse a kazoo with a sex toy, in their bid to find a harmonica. Nevertheless, the quality of their performance was top notch and “Scared of the Devil” was fab-u-lous! Catching the attention of the festival goers and random passer-bys, they were the perfect calm needed before the storm of the Avalon stage headliners.

BE QUIET SHOUT LOUD – Photos by: Mark Blizard, Lewis Mason & Josh Ryan – Image taken from Music Box Festival Facebook Page

Most people came down to County Durham, to see what the main stage had to offer. Middlesborough’s Be Quiet Shout Loud certainly has the most enthusiastic reaction from the audience that day. A part from being experts in exciting a crowd, they have a rather odd mix of disco and electronic rock, but it somehow worked and not only that, it worked incredibly well too. Brimming with personality, they pulled off a great set with tenacity and the help of amateur parkour, when their frontman scrambled up on a ledge to set of a confetti cannon that kept falling down till the main act Llovers finished their set. It also takes a very bold man to wear a tropical coloured Hawaiian shirt underneath a silver and pink sequined jacket; balls, entertainment and talent are offered with these guys.

LLOVERS – Photos by: Mark Blizard, Lewis Mason & Josh Ryan – Image taken from Music Box Festival Facebook Page

But it was Llovers that stole the show. Opening the set with their most recent release “Coming Loose” and demanding people to move closer to the stage before they play, they proved why they’re essentially Teesside’s answer to Blossoms. All they asked for was a bit of enthusiasm from the crowd, who at first were reluctant to leave their conversations, but after some encouragement from the band clambered up the shoulders of loved ones to crowd surf and  shout back the lyrics and dance through their set. Their dreamy take on indie, with a dual vocal and distinct character arouses the senses and heightened anticipation for their headlining shows coming in the autumn.

Each year Music Box highlights the overlooked and underrated; giving them the opportunity to prove why we should care and this year was no different. Here’s to another year of up-and-coming Northern talent.