Shalamar and the Fizz bring the curtain down on 'brilliant' return of free summer gigs to Bents Park

Performances by 80s legends Shalamar and the Fizz, as well as South Shields-based group Rivelino rounded off another stellar summer of free concerts at Bents Park.

A grey and damp start to the day didn’t deter music-lovers from crowding into the venue once more for the final This Is South Tynside Festival gig of 2022.

Queues well already forming at gates well before the official entry time of noon for priority ticket holders, as they have done thoughout the four-week programme of events.

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As well as turning up early, many were also late to leave, as “technical issues” delayed the start of Shalamar’s closing set by about an hour.

Music fans turned out in droves for the final day of concerts.
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Both Shalamar and the Fizz, made up of former members of Eurovision winners Bucks Fizz, had originally been slated to perform in 2020, before organsiers were forced to cancel the festival due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Prior coronavirus pandemic, the festival programme was a flagship event in the Tyneside calendar, thought to be worth millions to the borough’s tourism economy.

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South Shields-based band Rivelino were among the acts performing.

It returned earlier this year following a two-year hiatus with the regular carnival parade and Proms in the Park.

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Some had made sacrifices to attend, such as Jack Dixon, 25, who forwent Sunderland’s league opener to join girlfriend Erin Graham, 26.

He said: "It's normally really good music and a nice way to end the weekend.

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"With the cost of living crisis, it's really important that the concerts are free."

An enhanced security presence was on hand following last weekend's reported disorder.
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Erin meanwhile thought organsiers should avoid changes to the format for next year’s festival following reported disorder last weekend.

She added: "I think you should be able to continue to bring in your own drinks. You shouldn't punish everyone because of the actions of a few."

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In the end, however, the day appeared to pass without a hitch, bar the delayed start by Shalamar.

Laura Henderson, 40, who attended with mum Janet Gulbert, 70, said: "I was also here last weekend and they have both been great - although last Sunday's was more my era.

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The Fizz were among the day's headline acts.

"It has been a really great atmosphere and it's brilliant to see these events return again after Covid."

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Mother and daughter Janet Gulbert, 70, and Laura Henderson, 40, were gald to see the gigs return after Covid.
Headline act Shalamar.