A one day music festival is taking place in the heart of Chester city centre this weekend.

Over the last six years, the Gathering has become one of the most respected small independent festivals in the north west.

The Gathering 2014, which takes place at Alexander’s in Rufus Court, off Northgate Street, on Sunday, May 4, will feature the best in new music, including bands on the main stage, DJs in the courtyard and acoustic acts on the unplugged stage.

There will also be stalls and activities for children, artists creating masterpieces on a painting wall, plus a barbecue and outdoor bar through the afternoon.

The event runs from noon until 10pm on Sunday.

Artists will be displaying their creations as part of The Gathering at Alexander's on Sunday
Artists will be displaying their creations as part of The Gathering at Alexander's on Sunday

New for this year is a covered area so everyone can shelter in the event of a downpout.

The acoustic stage is inside with the very best of local talent performing.

Another new feature is a pop-up club called The Vibe with a 350 capacity. It will be a glowing ultra violet party land, with smoke machines and strobes.

Headlining the The Vibe will be Slim Boy Fat, a Fat Boy Slim and big beat tribute, currently on tour.

Bands appearing include Blue Bottle Veins, Burning Out, Jed is Dead, Perseus, Veil, The Jigsaws, Washington Reed, Indigo Sky, Dead Pixels, Gary Edward Band, and Luke Cusato.

The Gathering will be the first of this year’s Northgate Festivals which will be taking place throughout the summer.

This year, not only are there even more events packing the summer with arts activity, but the range of artists and organisations that are engaged to work on the events is going to be much larger than in previous years, and there will be a series of masterclasses in art, drama and creative writing.

Family friendly events this year will provide a range of activities available on each festival day for children and young people.

This year, this element will also be extended by the offer of free workshops on a Saturday morning where children can have the opportunity to try their hand at drama, dance, art and more.

Steph Brocken of Minerva Arts has joined the organisational team of the Northgate festivals.

She said: “The activities are really wide ranging – from visual arts to music to theatre and historical re-enactments. I think it is set to be a unique event; one of the most unusual packages of activity overall in the north west in 2014.”

Last year, many individual councillors funded the Northgate festivals, but this year Cheshire West and Chester Council have found a small pot of gold, and a tiny share of this will enable the following:

May 25 - MayMusicFest - The MayFest is a festival to welcome the summer; free entry, al fresco food and hours of music in the sun, featuring some of Chester's best bands.

June 8-9 - Fringe Festival - Expect a celebration of Street Food Style, and a knock-out contest Humans Vs Food.

June 14-15 - Palestine Rap - A unique experience that will feature artists and musicians celebrating Palestine. Organised by Palestine Solidarity and War on Want.

June 20-22 - Mod Revival - This festival brings music and motors to Chester to celebrate the Mod Style for three days.

June 29 - A Journey Through Time - This event is all about the performance, featuring big art works, music all day and tales that focus on Chester, its Walls and culture through History. There will be a three storey high History Timeline, storytellers, and a History Swap shop.

July 6 - Summer Strum - The return of the regionally acclaimed ukulele festival. Chester's own feast of Hawaiian ‘fleas’, the UK's most played instrument, attracting musicians from across the land.

July 13 - Sing for the Moment - The return of the “choirs day” will bring together choirs from across the region.

July 20 - Create, Enjoy, Perform - As a new addition to the festival, this event features a series of art projects, drama and dance workshops.

July 27 - Arty Party - This will be a fun filled day of arts and crafts for all the family. Parades, giant beasts, and workshops galore!

August 8-10 - History Alive - The Sealed Knot Society present a huge Civil War re-enactment throughout the city – which is centred on the Dean's field adjacent to the Festival site at Abbey Green and Rufus Court.

August 24 - Massive Musical Mash-Up (Final Festival Party) - a climatic end to a series of diverse events.

Check twitter @NGQuarterFest or facebook www.facebook.com/NorthgateFestival or visit NorthgateFestivals.org for updates.