Crowds queue for final Bents Park free summer gig of the summer, despite wet weather and 'increased stewarding'

A wet start to the day wasn’t enough to keep music-lovers away from the final This Is South Tyneside Festival free gig of 2022.

South Shields has been treated to a full month of top acts at Bents Park, kicking off with a stellar performance by headliner Pop Idol winner Will Young, supported by Beth Macari.

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And despite increased stewarding following reported youth disorder at last weekend’s concerts, crowds were not deterred, with many queueing to ensure they were among the first through the gates when they were opened at noon.

Crowds were not put off by the weather.
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Today’s closing event of the summer programme is set to head back in time once again, showing off some of the best the 80s had to offer.

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Funk and soul icons Shalamar are set to be joined by pop group The Fizz, made up of former members of chart toppers and Eurovision-winners Bucks Fizz, who will also share the stage with South Shields-based group Rivelino.

Jackie Smith, attending with friends Jill Chaplin and Lynn Gray, has been making the most of the free offer this year.

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Jackie Shield, Jill Chaplin and Lynn Gray at the final Bents Park summer gig of 2022.

"I've been to all of them and they have all been brilliant,” she said, "I've never seen any trouble and have had a brilliant time.

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"It's good that today's concert has an 80s feel as we can remember the acts.

"The weather didn't put us off – we've come all prepared with rain coats and umbrellas."

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And the trio was not disuaded by last week’s disorder, with Jill adding: "Last week's trouble hasn't put me off, they said they were putting on extra security and so I'm sure it will be fine."

Security was stepped up following reported disorder at a previous gig.
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Some had even made a trip out of the day, such as husband and wife Malcolm Hall, 62, and Diane Piercy, 63, who had stayed overnight in their campervan after travelling down from Alnwick, in Northumberland.

Malcolm said: "I'm looking forward to hearing [Shalamar] perform 'I Can Make You Feel Good'.

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"We've come prepared with warm jackets and rugs, although I do have my shorts on in case the sun comes out."

Crowds queued to ensure they were among the first through the gates.
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Malcolm Hall, 62, and Diane Piercy, 63, travelled from Alnwick for the event.