FOR a whole 10 days in May 2018, Northwich was transformed into a vibrant and creative hub thanks to The Charlatans’ North by Northwich event.

The town was bursting at the seams with live bands spanning a huge spectrum, from upcoming local acts getting their first taste of the festival experience to long established artists playing intimate stages.

The high street bustled. Venues such as The Salty Dog, The Salt House, Witton Chimes and Retros were packed, the Seafarer became an unlikely media centre, Baron’s Quay turned into an exhibition space, and The Plaza showcased its potential as a live venue while hosting an incredible record fair.

For The Charlatans themselves, who played four sold out nights at Northwich Memorial Court, it was an extraordinary homecoming triumph.

Things in the town are rather different in the current climate but music fans from across the world have been reminiscing about that special festival thanks to Tim Burgess who has been celebrating the event during Tim’s Twitter Listening Party online.


For those who don’t know, since lockdown began The Charlatans frontman has hosted virtual parties to bring musicians and fans together to listen to an album at the same time and share their thoughts and memories of the music.

Last night fans watched the first of two North by Northwich gigs and shared their memories of the event alongside the band’s singer. And there’s still chance to join the second show tonight at 8pm, a few hours after a listening party with Winsford band Déjà Vega at 6pm.

The Northwich Guardian spoke to Tim about his memories from North by Northwich ahead of tonight’s streaming.

What stand out memories do you have from the North by Northwich festival?

It was a total of 10 days from the start of the exhibition to the final events, so there are so many memories. The first is that every day was beautiful sunshine and the whole town had a buzz about it – it was the place I grew up and we felt really proud to see the whole place buzzing. The BBC and Granada both sent film crews and there were reporters from France, Germany and Japan too. Just walking around town is the abiding memory for me – it had the feeling of an amazing festival and new friends and old were around every corner

Were there any new local bands you saw during the festival that you’ve gone on to really love?

 We scheduled all the bands so they didn't clash with our shows so I would stop by The Salty Dog, The Plaza, The Witton Chimes or The Salthouse and catch each act as they played - Delights and Deja Vega were the most local bands. Delights came to check out the exhibition and got chatting to one of our crew, he asked them to send me a song and we booked them to play as soon as we heard it. We helped organise a couple of fringe events that were Northwich bands too - Deja Vega are doing a listening party for us and Delights came to play at Tim Peaks, so yeah, they had an effect on me for sure.

How many chippy teas did you have at the Seafarer?

I’m saying six over the 10 days – it was the hub for me. We even did a morning of ‘speed interviews’ in there – each band member got a table and we then gave interviewers five minutes with each of us. I miss that place.

What’s it actually like watching one of your own gigs back and seeing the response (live and on Twitter)?

Last night was the first time I've ever watched a Charlatans gig – tonight will be the second and not sure I'll do it again for a while. I did enjoy it but watching yourself is quite an odd thing – the response was quite emotional to see what everyone was saying

How do you feel about the reaction to the listening parties? They’ve had such a positive response.

The reaction to the listening parties has been off the scale. I think the main thing has been taking the time to listen to the records in full but to then read the tweets of people who made the album – it's like listening in 3D.

Have you had the chance to work on any other music or projects during lockdown?

My solo album comes out on Friday so you have to be quite disciplined to see that through before writing any new songs. Or even thoughts of a book - we worked so hard recording the songs and I spent the year before writing them. I had to cancel in store performances and a tour, so I've been getting my guitar playing up to a level where I can perform the songs on my own - I've done a session for 6Music and I'm just talking to our friends at The Royal Albert Hall about a performance to share with them. Maybe I'll start writing new songs after the sum.mer

How are the rest of the band doing?

They are doing well. We all met up on Skype a couple of days ago - we had some plans that have had to be shelved but it's about looking at what we can do in the future - we're a resourceful bunch. Let's see if we come up with anything as exciting as North by Northwich

To join in with tonight’s #timstwitterlisteningparty, follow TimBurgess on Twitter or visit

Tim’s new album I Love The New Sky is due for release on May 22.