'Champagne for breakfast' as crowds gather in Bents Parks for X Factor favourite Ella Henderson and the latest This is South Tyneside Festival free gigs

A cloudy start wasn’t enough to keep the crowds away as music lovers gathered for the latest afternoon of live music is South Shields.

The second of this year’s series of free Sunday concert for the annual This Is South Tyneside Festival programme kicks off at Bents Park today (Sunday, July 17).

After last week’s stellar performance by Pop Idol winner Will Young, gig-goers have once again been in the mood to party.

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And a line up featuring X Factor favourite Ella Henderson and members of 90s hit makers Beautiful South promises something for all ages.

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Priority ticket holders were able to enter the site from 12pm, with general admission allowed in from 12.45pm.

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Helen, 47,and Bill, 52, Beckett, from South Shields, are regulars at the concerts and were thrilled for their first post-pandemic return.

"It is lovely to have them back," said Helen.

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Crowds build up for another day of free entertainment at the This Is South Tyneside Festival

Bill meanwhile was full of praise for the organisation, which saw eager festival fans with priority tickets rushing through the gates as soon as they opened to secure a prime spot.

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"Its really well run," he said, ”the queue was long, but it's only taken 15 minutes to get in."

Julie Moore, 55, Julie Donkin 59, and Dawn Lane, 53, travelled from Sunderland for the restart of the free gigs.

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Julie Moore said : "I am looking forward to seeing Ella Henderson, but I'm looking forward more to spending time with my friends and having a good day.

Helen, 47, and Bill, 52, Beckett.
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“We don't get to see each other that often and this is a tradition.

"We've had champagne for breakfast and we've got our little bottles of prosecco."

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Ella Henderson, who this week scored two tracks in the top 10 of the UK’s Official Singles Chart, is set to share the billing with The South - made up of Alison Wheeler and Gaz Birtles from the Beautiful South – playing a selection of favourites from their back catalogue, including Song for Whoever, A Little Time, Rotterdam and Don't Marry Her.

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Julie Moore, 55, Julie Donkin 59, and Dawn Lane, 53

In the weeks ahead, Shalamar, The Fizz and a dance revival line-up are also set to take to the stage at Bents Park.

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*Stay tuned for more updates and pictures from Bents Park throughout the afternoon on our website here