Liverpool’s Threshold Festival returns to the Baltic Triangle in March, Getintothis’ Peter Guy reflects on the first wave of artists.
Expanding upon last year’s reduced Across the Threshold event, the 2019 edition returns to the wider original blueprint across Baltic venues including District, 24 Kitchen Street, Brick Street, Hobo Kiosk, RPM Studios and more to be announced after securing Arts Council funding.
The first wave of artists is led by Seafoam Green, who last played the Liverpool Philharmonic after selling out the Phil’s Music Room with their Last Waltz renditions.
Joining them on the bill are Felix Hagan & The Family, Science of the Lamps, Emilio Pinchi, The Soul Rays, SKAAR, Jollyboat, Impropriety, Little Peaches, Jazamin, Tosin Salako and the Unstoppable Sweeties Show.
“We want to give you a taste of what’s to come in March when the whole programme drops with a mix of local, emerging and international acts,” artistic director, Kaya Herstad Carney said.
Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, comedy heads Jollyboat are joined by Threshold mainstays Science of the Lamps, The Soul Rays, visual artist Jazamin and songwriter Emilio Pinchi who has just returned from a brief European tour.
Hailing from Norway’s west coast of Bergen, progressive rock outfit SKAAR join Manchester’s Felix Hagan & The Family and newcomers Unstoppable Sweeties Show – championed by independent record label POSTMUSIC.
Burlesque star Little Peaches complete the bill with multi-talented instrumentalist Tosin Salako. Tickets are £15.
Editor’s comment: For several years Threshold Festival has formed a key component in the Merseyside cultural calendar. It offers something which simply no other festival in Liverpool city centre does – a multi-disciplined arts, theatre and music event – putting grassroots at its core. Traditionally kicking off the festival season in Spring, it offers light, fun and under the radar talent – almost all of it is usually a ride of discovery – and due to it’s essence you usually come away with something new to talk about.
However, the team failed to secure Arts Council funding last year and an abridged version played out in District. It felt like a slightly misjudged decision. Continuity for continuity’s sake. The same artists and individuals were drafted in, where it felt like a rest and recuperation would have made more sense – perhaps a taking of stock to revitalise and refresh was necessary.
Now Kaya and Chris Carney – plus their fine team of Andy Minnis and co. are back. We’re delighted to see it happening. But this is tempered by cautious optimism.
Times are ridiculously tough in the arts and music field – none more so than in Liverpool. People have little cash to spend on entertainment, theatre and music – especially within this tough political and economic climate – so it is key that Threshold prove their worth. It must equal or even raise the bar on their 2016 year when they booked a wide field of artists (see gallery of photographs below) – relying less on the usual suspects and integrating new talent from around the UK and Europe. Kaya is an experienced teacher of music with strong links in the North West, London and Scandinvavia – she’ll have to use her skills to ensnare evocative music while festival manager Andy will need to open up his contact book and ensure it is not just the same faces from Liverpool providing the goods.
This approach simply won’t do in 2019. Liverpool needs to up its game considerably in the new year. Be inventive. Be resourceful. Use funding wisely. And make it happen. We wish them well. Threshold needs to happen. – Getintothis editor, Peter Guy