Opening Times

In light of the most recent Government advice, Sage Gateshead will be closed to the public until further notice.

The health and safety of audiences, musicians and staff at Sage Gateshead is our priority. Keep up to date here.


Opening Times:

In light of the most recent Government advice, Sage Gateshead will be closed to the public until further notice.

The health and safety of audiences, musicians and staff at Sage Gateshead is our priority. Keep up to date here.


 →  Festivals & Seasons  →  TUSK Virtual 2020

TUSK Virtual 2020

Monday 28 September - Sunday 11 October


The internationally renowned TUSK Festival returns to celebrate its 10th edition this October. Having already announced its plans for its expected live edition over 3 days in October at partner organisation Sage Gateshead, the TUSK team’s plans were overtaken by events and the global pandemic, rendering their initial intentions unfeasible. So, with aspirations adapted to the new reality and years of live streaming and digital programming experience behind them, TUSK, still working in partnership with Sage Gateshead, are now delighted to announce TUSK Virtual 2020 – a two-week online version of the festival that falls somewhere between a virtual version of one of the most adventurous music festivals on the planet and the most raucous rollercoaster of an avant garde TV station you could ever imagine.

Across two weeks of programming, TUSK Virtual’s uniquely diverse menu of adventurous music has grown even more expansive, normal rules of festival production abandoned by the plague and a whole host of often unreachable international artists now able to join the programme via web connections. Tusk Virtual will also feature an enhanced version of the renowned film programme with nightly midnight movie selections and expanded weekend film feasts, plus talks and discussions from people across the global adventurous music community, guest DJ mixes, a selection of gems from the vast TUSK archive and all held together by our team of guest presenters that includes David Liebe Hart (Tim And Eric Awesome Show Great Job!), Rock N Roll Jackie Stewart from Oregon’s seminal Smegma and the ‘cardboard Prince’ himself, Robert Ridley-Shackleton.

The wealth of new acts now joining TUSK’s programme for 2020 include:

  • JIM O’ROURKE & EIKO ISHIBASHI – without question one of the most influential artists to emerge from the US underground in recent decades, in first outside-Japan performance in duo with life and musical partner Eiko;
  • ROSCOE MITCHELL – octogenarian hero of avant garde jazz and leader of the very legendary Art Ensemble Of Chicago;
  • OOIOO – the incomparable Japanese all-female quartet led by YoshimiO, who you’ll also know from the incomparable Boredoms;
  • YEAH YOU – the manic/ecstatic father/daughter duo that made their debut at TUSK 2014 and have since been busy pushing electronic music to new extremes and with wide acclaim;
  • ANGEL BAT DAWID – the Chicagoan jazz maestro who, with full band, comes across like the dream marriage of Funkadelic and Sun Ra;
  • NIHILOXICA – the mostly-Ugandan sextet merging regional beats with European techno chops to create something truly irresistible.
  • BLÓM – blazing Newcastle punk power-trio with new album Flower Violence just out – like Lightning Bolt if they did songs.

And so many more still to announce, in addition to the following already revealed:

  • Norwegian noise artist Helge Sten a.k.a. DEATHPROD brings his sensory overload to the region for the first time after releasing his obliterating first album in 15 years, Occulting Disk, via Smalltown Supersound last year. A favourite of Will ‘Bonnie Price Billy’ Oldham who says in the sleevenotes that he enjoys listening to Deathprod with his Mum;
  • From Baltimore, the music of quartet HORSE LORDS can entrap the listener mesmerically with their off-kilter, polyrhythmic take on math rock that summons the spirits of early Philip Glass, Tony Conrad and, weirdly, Liege & Lief-era Fairport Convention in its urgent post-rock dynamics;
  • Another Norwegian, MAJA S.K. RATKJE, returns for a very rare Northern show following her duo with Ikue Mori in 2012. Renowned as a noise artist, improvisor and vocalist, Maja caught many ears by surprise last year with her album Sult, a beautiful solo suite for pump organ and voice that was written to soundtrack a ballet based on Knut Hamsun’s famously intense novel Hunger.
  • SARAH HENNIES hails from Kentucky and is concerned with a range of issues including queer and trans identity, love, intimacy, psychoacoustics and percussion. An increasingly revered artist internationally, her 2017 audio-visual work Contralto was a finalist for the Queer|Art|Prize and she released the great Reservoir 1 album on Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle label last year.
  • LUMP HAMMER are a Newcastle trio with many fingers in the regional sludge-rock pie and a maximalist/minimalist approach of overwhelming guitar/drums/vox and bloody-minded musical stasis that has seen them perform two hour sets of just one, obliterating song.

Aswell as TUSK’s inimitable plethora of incomparable international music and an expanded version of the always jaw-dropping TUSK film programme (including several new commissions), TUSK Virtual will feature an evolving animate story across two weeks by Scottish artist Malcy Duff, online exhibitions, workshops, a series of online discussions featuring David Grubbs, Vicky Langan, Ilan Volkov and more and our partners The Old Police House delivering another wildly raucous TUSK Fringe for those of you needing to burn your candles at all ends through the two weekends the festival takes in.

TUSK Virtual will be free to access online, however audiences will be able to donate to a fundraiser to support the future of the festival and artists online during the event.

We will be in touch with all TUSK Weekend ticket holders in due course about your tickets. Thank you for your patience and co-operation. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.