South Tyneside Festival 2016: Dates announced for free concerts and summer parade

Last year's Sunday Concerts attracted more than 70,000 fans.
Last year's Sunday Concerts attracted more than 70,000 fans.

The summer is on its way – and people in South Tyneside have been promised an ‘incredible festival’ as an annual celebration returns.

The South Tyneside Festival has grown into one of the biggest free festivals in the country, with live music, family-friendly entertainment and activities for all ages.

Billy Ocean is one of those who performed in last year's concerts.

Billy Ocean is one of those who performed in last year's concerts.

This July will feature the traditional summer parade and four free music concerts.

The Summer Parade, which will make its return on Saturday, July 2.

The event will see the community come together to line the streets of South Shields and take part in a colourful carnival as it makes its way from the Town Hall to Bents Park on the seafront.

Last year’s parade, which was Alice in Wonderland-themed, attracted up to 25,000 people, and included more than 2,000 participants.

We are very excited to see it returning with a great mix of free live music from well-known acts and local performers, children’s entertainment, street performance and much more

Coun Alan Kerr

Meanwhile, the popular open-air music concerts will also return to Bents Park for four consecutive Sundays: July 10, 17, 24 and 31.

That follows on from last year’s successful Sunday Concerts programme, which featured the likes of Billy Ocean, 5ive and Atomic Kitten, and attracted record-breaking crowds, which topped 70,000 overall.

The open-air Amphitheatre, on the seafront at Sandhaven, will again showcase up-and-coming North East talent as well as established artists with its live music series on Thursdays and Saturdays in June.

The Amphitheatre venue will again play host to brass bands on Sunday afternoons throughout June, July and August, and will welcome scores of families to the Kids Fun Fest, featuring a host of children’s entertainment on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from August 2 to 25.

Coun Alan Kerr has told of the authority's excitement ahead of this year's South Tyneside Festival.

Coun Alan Kerr has told of the authority's excitement ahead of this year's South Tyneside Festival.

Classical and contemporary music will be given the big band treatment when Proms in the Park takes over South Marine Park on Sunday, July 3.

Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “The three-month long South Tyneside Festival is always an extremely popular event in the borough’s calendar.

“Once again, we are very excited to see it returning with a great mix of free live music from well-known acts and local performers, children’s entertainment, street performance and much more.

“There will be something for everyone – old and young alike – and it is all free to enjoy.

“We will be bringing back all of the key highlights of the festival, including our crowd-pleasing Sunday Concerts and Summer Parade, which were huge hits in last year’s bumper programme.

“Summer will come round very quickly, therefore we are urging people to save the dates, get them in their diary, and join us for another incredible festival in South Tyneside. It really is the place to be.”

Other events returning to South Tyneside this summer include the Harton Quays Park craft markets on the first Sunday of the month between May and September, the Proper Food and Drink Festival from Saturday, May 28 to Monday, May 30, and the Fake Festival on Saturday, August 27.

In addition to the programme and new for this year, the Customs House is bringing a new comedy festival to the borough’s events programme.

The event, by local comedian Jason Cook, will feature top names from the world of comedy between July 29 and August 7.

Further details about South Tyneside Festival events, activities and entertainment will be announced in due course.