Summer festival boosts South Tyneside’s economy by £3million

South Tyneside’s annual Summer Festival has been labelled a success - after this year boosted the borough’s economy by more than £3million.

One of the biggest free summer festivals in the UK, it brings together music and family fun over a three-month period.

The South Tyneside Summer Festival opening parade

The South Tyneside Summer Festival opening parade

This year’s festival saw more than 40 different events take place - including Sunday concerts attracting big names such as Pixie Lott, Heather Small and The Vamps.

The council’s Place Select Committee heard the event attracted a combined audience of more than 107,000, which generated £3million for the local economy.

That was well up on the 2017 figure, when the council said the summer festival brought in £2.5million.

Culture and libraries manager Richard Jago said: “Such events may be considered. in the current climate, as something of a luxury, but that fails to take into account the economic benefit they have.

Heather Small at one of the  Bents Park concerts

Heather Small at one of the Bents Park concerts

“They create a sense of place and contribute to a vision to make South Tyneside a place of choice to live, invest and bring up families.”

Around 64,000 spectators attended the four Sunday music concerts, with the smallest attendance of 8,000 on July 29 for Heather Small and Atomic Kitten blamed on bad weather.

Despite this, the concert attracted music fans from as far away as Germany and Slovakia, and gave local artists the chance to take the stage.

More than 14,000 spectators bought priority tickets – offering early access and a dedicated bar and toilets – with 72 per cent of the priority ticket allocation sold.

Coun Alan Kerr

Coun Alan Kerr

Coun Anne Walsh praised the team behind the event and the generosity of visitors, stating around £2,000 was raised for the Mayor’s Charity fund at just one event.

She said: “In South Tyneside, we’re really punching above our weight and it’s all down to your small team.”

This year’s parade – based around the theme Monsters, Myths and Magic - involved more than 40 different community groups, equating to 2,000 people.

South Tyneside-based community interest company Creative Seed also delivered 80 separate workshops to community groups, reaching 700 people in the process.

Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council and its leisure and culture head, said: “The latest tourism impact assessment shows we welcomed more than six million visitors to the borough last year, who spent an estimated £306million, up six per cent on the previous year.

“The hugely-popular free Summer Festival programme, made up of almost 40 different events, is a core element of our annual programme of activities.

“It has grown to become one of the biggest and best free festivals in the country and is packed with live music, family-friendly entertainment and activities for all ages to enjoy.

“This year the festival attracted a combined audience of more than 107,000 people and directly contributed an estimated £3million to the local economy.

“Almost 3,000 people are directly employed by tourism and our investment in music and festival events is a vital part of our work to create jobs and regenerate the area.”

South Tyneside Festival Programme 2018 Attendance

Sunday Concerts

July 8 – Pixie Lott, Aston Merrygold and Phats & Small – 16,000

July 15 – The Vamps, The Cutkelvins and New Hope Club – 20,000

July 22 – Scouting for Girls, The Fizz and Roachford – 20,000

July 29 – Heather Small, Atomic Kitten and Rebecca Ferguson – 8,000

Other Festival Highlights

Amphitheatre Live Music Season – 7,000

Amphitheatre Brass Band Season – 3,500

Proms in the Park – 2,000

South Marine Park Bandstand Concerts – 1,400

Kids Fun Fest Season at the Amphitheatre – 4,000

Festival Parade

Between 25,000 and 30,000 people lined route or attended Bents Park for final events programme.

Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporting Service