SOUTH Tyneside music lovers have been rocking and rolling – Roman style!
History was in the making as a trio of top bands put on a free live music extravaganza at Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields.
The first Arbeia Music Festival proved such a hit that its organisers are hoping to make it an annual event.
Almost 400 music fans flocked to the Baring Street tourist attraction to enjoy sets by Wood and Wire, a band of brothers from South Shields, Newcastle duo Rice Milk, and the aptly-named Arbeia, also from South Shields, during the outdoor gig.
The fort’s west gate provided a breathtaking backdrop to the evening’s entertainment.
Chay Hobson, who runs the Northeast Recording studio in Mitre Place in South Shields, organised the musical showcase and is hoping to stage a repeat performance next year.
Mr Hobson said: “It was amazing. We had 370 people turn up during the evening.
“It was such a success that we are hoping to make it an annual thing every August.
“It was the band Arbeia who had said how good it would be to play a gig there, so I got in touch with the museum, and they agreed.”
As well as giving musicians a chance to play in an iconic setting, the concert also attracted a new audience to the fort.
Mr Hobson added: “I had lots of people coming up to me saying how good Arbeia is and that they had never been here before.
“The summer night made for a great setting for a gig, particularly as the sun was setting.”
The fun continues at the fort tomorrow with an afternoon of Roman gladiator-style combat. The free re-enactment event runs from 11am until 3pm.
Visitors can cheer on the gladiators as they do battle in the open-air arena.
There will also be a chance for members of the public to take part in special training sessions.