Sunday Sounds of The Estuary is a regular music event that takes place in different venues in Hull and has stages at various festivals across the region.
Lewis Mennell is the co-founder along with partners Darren Bunting (director of Music HQ) and Gareth Arend, Lewis’s cousin and one half of local act The Estuary Dwellers.
Lewis set up the event 5 years ago at a time when there was little to no entertainment in the city on a Sunday. Nowadays there is a lot more competition, especially with the upcoming year of culture in the city. At the time when Sunday Sounds was set up, there were other promoters doing nights, Darren from Music HQ, Jayney Wright from Off The Road, (who I believe attended the first ever Sunday Sounds) and of course long established original band night The Sesh. However Lewis had a different idea of what he wanted to do.
‘With Sundays Sounds, the idea was to have something a little different, not just [your] average rock band or indie band. It was to get something from all aspects of music. The focus was on music and something that represented a wide range from grassroots to more commercially based music [and] folk, rock etc. I think the whole idea of Sunday Sounds was trying to at the time, to make something free, [because] there was nothing [really] happening on a Sunday. It was very quiet on a Sunday in Hull. The idea behind doing it on a Sunday was to liven up a Sunday and get people [coming out and] not just sitting in the house. A lot of people during the week didn’t have time to go to a gig [and we just wanted] to brighten up a Sunday.’
As the name suggests Sunday Sounds of The Estuary doesn’t only promote music from one side of the Humber. There’s no fixed area that it covers, where it draws on to bring acts into the city. Obviously it does promote acts from within Hull, but it could be loosely described as the old Humberside region, covering areas such as Grimsby, Cleethorpes to Beverley and also acts from places like Leeds and York. They have even had an international act play, a band from Australia.
‘Yeah, most people tend to come from the Humberside region, rather than just Hull. Obviously there’s not enough acts in one city to be able to produce a festival every couple of months, you’d run out of bands and acts to play, or you’d be repeating the same ones. But I don’t think there was any intention, it just fell together. We found a lot of acts from across the Humber, because there is only Scunthorpe and Grimsby that you’d class as bigger towns. So they probably didn’t have as much opportunity to be able to gig elsewhere [back then]. And Darren knew a few people from that area that he’d already booked himself.’
With acts such as The Happy Endings, popular at the time, and now regarded as one of Hull’s household names with recent plugs on Radio 1, Sunday Sounds has housed a wealth of talent over the years, The Finest Hour from Grimsby and Cleethorpes, who are to play an upcoming event hosted by The Happy Endings called bridging the gap. There has always been a crossover in acts from the southern side of the murky waters.
Other acts on the Sunday Sounds of The Estuary roster include Martin Clappison who went on to form the now popular The Mighty and The Moon, the brilliant Rebel Sell, The Ming City Rockers, who come recommended by BBC Burnsy and Katy Noon on the Huw Stephens show and have recently played in New York. Joe Solo, The Holy Orders who have had BBC 6 air play, up and coming Katie Spencer, Native Braves, Kismet Ryding, another favourite from the south bank, The Chris Cooper Band, folk favourites Crooked Weather and Hase Waits, acoustic act Mark Rowland who has released his first EP recently, Vinnie and the Stars from Leeds/York, electro wizzes Abezilla and Counting to Zero, The Final Romance. Plus the ever popular Streaming Lights who played the Fonda 500 reunion gig at The Adelphi as part of the Adelphi 30 celebrations, In Fear of Olive who later became Laurel Canyons and Phil Wilson from My One Man Band and La Bête Blooms who have also played the event.
So with 5 years in the bag and legendry Hull institutions such as The Warren and The Adelphi celebrating 30 years and 13 years of the wondrous weekly event The Sesh, what can we expect for the future of Sunday Sounds of the Estuary? ‘Outside the box’ promoter Lewis Mennell says it’s been an honour to be involved in some of the local music festivals which weren’t around when Sunday Sounds first started, and something he never though Hull would have had 5 years on. So he considers it to be a big success that he has been asked to have Sounds of The Estuary stages at Hull Trinity Festival, Humber Street Sesh, as a stage manager and of course Springboard Festival, which gave him the original inspiration for creating the one day festival style event. Lewis hopes that in the future people in Hull will become more aware of Sunday Sounds of The Estuary as a ‘brand’ although he doesn’t like to describe it in such ‘businessy’ terms as that, and that more people will be aware of the event and come and support it in the future, bringing in new crowds and becoming a little bit bigger on the radar of Hull’s music scene.