Return of Bents Park concerts and parade with 'This is South Tyneside Festival’ set to give borough tourism boost worth millions

Back with a bang – the return of South Tyneside’s summer festival is set to provide a huge tourism boost as the Bents Park concerts, parade and other events get back on track after covid.

By Nic Marko
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 7:21 am

And borough leaders say the events will also get tells jingling to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

South Tyneside Council officers at the latest meeting of the place select committee discussed the benefits the festival has had on tourism in the area in the past, and their hopes for a similar boost this year.

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Cllr Geraldine Kilgour, chair of the committee, said she hopes this year’s event will be “bigger and better”, with great lengths to provide and promote free entertainment.

She said: “It is an absolutely phenomenal offer that we are building on, it’s really good to see and to hear about the new things.

“We do unfortunately face some criticisms as to the cost of putting them on, but I think the benefit is what we really need to be capitalising on, and the benefit in a social perspective given where we’ve been [due to Covid].”

The 2019 festival attracted a combined audience of over 120,000, an increase of 13,000 compared to the previous year, with its value to the local economy estimated at more than £3.6million.

Performers will be returning to the stage for the concerts in Bents Park.

A survey conducted on the 2019 festival found for every £1 invested by the council in the Sunday Concert programme it generated £11.07 return, while the return per £1 spent delivering the Festival Parade was £5.80.

Cllr David Francis, Green Group leader, speaking at the meeting on June 14, said it was “really exciting” to see the events coming to communities across South Tyneside after the impact of the pandemic

He added: “As a borough we have significant pockets of deprivation and events like this… it makes those arts and culture events accessible to anyone regardless of household income, which I think is really important.

“It also provides performance opportunities for our own performers in the borough, both young and not so young, it’s great that we have that to give our own performers that exposure and experience.”

Families enjoying a previous concert before the disruption of the Covid pandemic.

He noted he hoped people would be encouraged to access events via public transport or walking, to help ease potential parking issues on surrounding streets.

Highlights of the festival will include the Summer Parade on July 2, and there is a return of the popular Sunday concerts at Bents Park.

Will Young is the first to perform, on July 10, followed by other well-known names including Ella Henderson and The South on July 17, and Shalamar and The Fizz on July 31.

Officers said 71 different events are planned over the summer as part of the festival including Proms in the Park, Amphitheatre Children’s Fun Fest and brass band season.

A previous Proms in the Park event in South Tyneside.

There will also be a new August community parks programme featuring 29 family friendly events which include childrens entertainers, theatre and music.

Other summer events which council chiefs hope will attract visitors include Armed Forces Day at Bents Park on Sunday (June 19) and the return of the Great North Run finish line to South Shields on Sunday, September 11.

For more information on the festival visit http://www.southtynesidefestival.co.uk/