South Shields Sunday seafront concerts get under way with Pixie Lott headline show

The first of the seafront gigs kicked off “the best summer” in style as thousands joined in the South Tyneside Festival celebrations.

Today's event was the debut in a run of four Sunday concerts at Bents Park in South Shields, with Pixi Lott headlining after sets by Aston Merrygold and Phats and Small.

Pixie Lott headlined today's event at Bents Park.

Pixie Lott headlined today's event at Bents Park.

South Tyneside Samba Drum Club had been first on stage to warm up the crowd, followed by singer songwriter Jen Stevens.

Pixie and her band performed Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home) after the crowd began chanting the lyrics.

Pixie, who also played hits including Mama Do and Gravity, said after the show: “I loved it, but then expected it to be great, you always get a good crowd here in the North.

“It’s a magical time because what’s going on at the moment is amazing, we’ve got the football, Pride was on yesterday and it just seems like the best summer.”

Jen Stevens plays to her home crowd.

Jen Stevens plays to her home crowd.

Mayor of South Tyneside Ken Stephenson also enjoyed the afternoon and added: “A lot of people have come down and it’s great for the area, everybody is enjoying themselves.

“I think what’s going on at the moment, what’s happened in the World Cup so far and the weather’s been fantastic, it’s going so well, and I think these events bring a big benefit to the area.”

Among those in the crowd were civil servants Margy Brownsword, 54, from Biddick Hall, and Joanne Oliver, 52, of Westoe, who booked priority tickets to bag a good space for their pals.

“We come down every single year, we love the atmosphere," Margy said.

Jason 'Phats' Hayward of Phats and Small revs up the crowd.

Jason 'Phats' Hayward of Phats and Small revs up the crowd.

“It’s great, sitting with your friends, having a chat, food and drinkies, and watching the bands.”

Joanne added: “We can’t believe it’s all for free, it’s a brilliant event.”

Also soaking up the entertainment were Paula Tait, 45, from Chichester, a civil servant, and Tammy Wallace, 39, a service leader for Community Integrated Care who lives in Westoe.

Paula said: "We enjoy coming down, just chilling, having some food and drink, and being with our family and friends.

Aston Merrygold was a hit with the audience at today's show.

Aston Merrygold was a hit with the audience at today's show.

"It's great to come down and see everybody enjoying it."

Tammy added: "I love coming down and spending time with my friends, it's just great isn't it?

"I love the bands, but it really like the atmosphere."

Eileen Catley, 71, from Biddick Hall, was also part of the group,

She said: "I come every year because I love the atmosphere and the music, it keeps me young in my mind."

Amanda Fenwick, 46, from Fullwell, and Andrea Fountain, 45, from Monkwearmouth, travelled up the coast for the day.

Thousands of people watched the first Sunday concert at Bents Park as part of the South Tyneside Festival.

Thousands of people watched the first Sunday concert at Bents Park as part of the South Tyneside Festival.

They both work as senior support workers for Sunderland Care and Support.

Amanda said: "We came here last year and unfortunately it chucked it down with rain, but we still had a fabulous time.

"We enjoyed it so much we came back.

"It's great for its atmosphere, the music and we've already met some new people."

Andrea added: "The music is fantastic, it's very well organised, it's a great day."

For more festival details visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk.

Amanda Fenwick and Andrea Fountain enjoyed the day out.

Amanda Fenwick and Andrea Fountain enjoyed the day out.

Sheryl McKenna, Paula Tait and Tammy Wallace in the back row, with Jo Handy and Eileen Catley in the front row.

Sheryl McKenna, Paula Tait and Tammy Wallace in the back row, with Jo Handy and Eileen Catley in the front row.

Joanne Oliver and Margy Brownsword with their picnic at the South Tyneside Festival.

Joanne Oliver and Margy Brownsword with their picnic at the South Tyneside Festival.

South Tyneside Samba Drum Club with Aston Merrygold.

South Tyneside Samba Drum Club with Aston Merrygold.