Preparations heating up for North East Chilli Festival

Smoove and Turrell
Smoove and Turrell

Final preparations are hotting up for next weekend’s North East Chilli Fest.

As well as chilli-inspired food and drink, the festival will feature live music from acts including ’80s icons Heaven 17, Smoove and Turrell and The Baghdaddies.

Taking place from June 30 to July 2, the festival, which is now in its sixth year, has moved to a new 27-acre site opposite Gloucester Lodge Farm near Blyth, North Tyneside, and is running for an extra day this year to fit in all the performers.

As well as the headliners, there will also be stand-up comedians, cabaret stars, a disco and children’s entertainment.

Meanwhile, lovers of all things chilli-related – and those with an appetite for milder tastes – are catered for by dozens of street food stalls.

Organiser Mark Deakin, who runs the event with his wife Shelley, said: “It began life as a chilli festival, but the music and entertainment aspect has grown and grown.

“We had five fantastic years in the grounds of Seaton Delaval Hall, but we needed more space for the stages, marquees, stalls and our camping area.”

Hundreds of festival-goers are expected to stay on the site all weekend.

They’ll be looking forward to performances from Heaven 17 and Smoove and Turrell, who top the bill on Friday and Saturday. English new wave and synth-pop band Heaven 17 formed in Sheffield in 1980 and went on to have hits including dancefloor filler Temptation.

Meanwhile, local lads Northern funk band Smoove and Turrell continue to be a popular feature on the festival circuit.

The Baghdaddies are Sunday’s headline act and numerous other performers, including SoShe, Iceni, Nick Pride and The Pimptones and 4 Worried Men, will be taking to the stage over the three days.

Highlights will also include Friday night entertainment when DJ Paul Taylor brings retro classic house sounds to the dance tent.

Meanwhile, Saturday night’s Skool Disco brings the best in pop tunes from the likes of Robbie Williams, Madonna and Chesney Hawkes.

Visitors will also be entertained by Chris Cross’ Flaming Hot Cabaret Club – starring magicians, jugglers and dancers – The Jumping Hot Comedy Tent, a retro discotheque and a Kids’ Zone.

There will also be a producers’ market featuring some of the UK’s top chilli producers selling chilli-inspired food and drink and, for those with a more sensitive palate, there will be food provided by artisan producers. A Street Food Zone and numerous bars will help keep people going over the three days.

Businesses who will be hosting stalls at the event include Earth and Fire Pizza, Deli Churros, Crazy Freds, Cupcake and Co, Al’s BBQ Shack, Chilli Pepper Pete and Chipstix, Boulevard, Calder’s Kitchen and Chef Bernie’s Sauces.

“And there will be a chilli-eating competition on each of the three days, which will not be for the faint-hearted,” said Mark. “This is the North East Chilli Fest after all.”

A range of tickets are available, with options ranging from £8 for a Sunday day pass to £30 for an adult weekend camping pass. Tickets for children cost £3.

The event will run from 5pm to 11pm on Friday, June 30, from 11am to 11pm on Saturday, July 1, and 10am to 6pm on Sunday, July 2.

Further details, entertainment timings and tickets are available through the 2017 North East Chilli Fest website at www.chillifest-ne.co.uk