Born and Bred Teessider James Arthur Returns To His Roots For ‘Indescribable’ Riverside Performance

Visit | Published on: 31st May 2024

Teesside star James Arthur will return to his roots next weekend in a homecoming performance at the Riverside Stadium.

Born and bred in Redcar, the global singer-songwriter comes home next Saturday (8 June) following a successful spell on tour in the US – and he has revealed his pride at playing at the home of Middlesbrough FC.

The former Boro season ticket holder told how the upcoming gig felt like he’d come full circle.

“The feeling is kind of indescribable – it’s the ultimate sense of achievement to play in my home stadium,” he said.

“I got the news last year all in one hit that I’d be playing Wembley Arena, the O2 and the Riverside.

“Those three things have been in my head since last year – they are three amazing venues, and the pinnacle is playing the Riverside Stadium.

“That’ll be the highlight of this year and probably many years to come. I don’t know if there will be many things in my life which I’ll achieve which will be more special than that.”

Now a world-famous musician, James, 36, cut his teeth in bands across Teesside before hitting the global stage.

“The scene did feel very vibrant and a place where local bands and artists could thrive,” he added.

“I played a lot in places like Uncle Albert’s and the KU Bar, in Stockton, as well as a lot of pubs and clubs.

“Middlesbrough, and Stockton in particular, had quite a few venues to play with great artists.

“National Artists came through – it felt like Middlesbrough was a bit of a hub for talent.

“The North East does have a lot of talent and that does come from there being a real working-class life experience and perspective – that makes for good art.

“People are in pain and Middlesbrough does have poverty and hardship. I definitely credit that for aspects of my artistry, writing and my work ethic.”

Four regional acts will compete on the eve of James’s Riverside performance to join him on stage and play the opening slot at his Riverside gig as part of a “Battle of the Bands” style competition.

“We’re going to be filming that and trying to give exposure to a lucky local act,” he added.

“I’ll keep shouting the word about the local area.”

James moved out to Saltburn aged 19 and told how the tourist hotspot was a hidden gem with a buzz during his time there playing pubs and clubs.

“It’s a great spot and my family and I love it there – anyone around the country would have a good time there,” he added.

“Redcar is my hometown – we’re blessed with the seafront, coast, and seaside vibe.

“There are a lot of cool venues in Stockton and Middlesbrough – I think Stockton now is a place where, now they’ve got a great theatre, people want to come and play.”

Teesside has been no stranger to global acts in recent years with The Killers, Arctic Monkeys and Take That all playing the Riverside since 2022.

James said Middlesbrough was becoming a stop for a lot of national and international acts.

“I’m part of a big touring community and a lot of people in it have worked their way up from the grassroots,” he added.

“Everyone I talk to about going to Middlesbrough speaks fondly of the area and the people. Getting a parmo and all that – it’s got real personality.

“I think people from down south find us very warm and friendly – which might come as a shock to some Teessiders as we like to think of ourselves as straight-shooters who can rub people up the wrong way.

“That’s not the perception I come across, though.”

James moved back North a few years ago, which he said helped realign him with his roots.

“I think people really do enjoy the area – all I’d say is they need to get more international flights out of Teesside now,” he added.

Tickets are selling fast for next week’s homecoming performance.

And while he’s playing a lot of big open air shows this summer, James believed his home stadium gig would be the peak of them all.

He added: “This is going to be a momentous day out – we’ve got McFly opening up and hopefully the weather will be nice.

“It will be filmed, documented, and it’ll be an amazing night.

“I’m excited to see everybody there.”

For more information on James’s homecoming gig, go to: James Arthur At The Riverside – Middlesbrough FC (


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