Bernicia music festival to leave South Tyneside

Skylark Song at Bernicia Festival in South Shields
Skylark Song at Bernicia Festival in South Shields

A MUSIC festival is saying farewell to South Tyneside after two years in the borough.

Bernicia Festival took place at Gypsies Green, in South Shields, on Saturday and in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, on Sunday.

Across the weekend, 2,500 music fans enjoyed performances from a line-up of local bands including Boy Jumps Ship, The Lake Poets, Hyde & Beast, Vinyl Jacket and Skylark Song.

The two-day gig was organised by events company Kittle, in association with the Customs House and North Tyneside Council.

However, organisers say the festival will not be returning to the borough for a third year.

The South Tyneside leg of the gig took place at the Customs House, in Mill Dam, South Shields, last year and was due to again at the weekend, until “11th hour licensing difficulties” saw it moved to Gypsies Green, in Sea Road.

Emma Howe, of Kittle, said: “We are very proud of what we have achieved with Bernicia Festival over the last two years. Despite the licencing and venue issues we encountered with our South Shields date this year, it was still a huge success with over 2,500 people attending across the weekend.

“For a festival with a full local line-up, that is outstanding. We will no longer be working with the Customs House to host the event in South Shields, but would like to thank Ray Spencer and his team for all of their support over the two years.

“We look forward to moving the festival forward and we are very excited to already be looking at plans with partners to host the event again in 2015.”

About 500 people headed to Gypsies Green on Saturday, and more than 2,000 people flocked to Whitley Bay’s Spanish City plaza on Sunday.

Emma Howe added: “We couldn’t have wished for a better turnout in what is only our second year as a festival. Despite needing to make some last- minute changes in South Shields, to then get 500 people down made for a great atmosphere for the bands on the day. Our Sunday at Spanish City Plaza was unbelievable.

“North Tyneside Council provided us with a great platform to host some top acts, and allowed us to accommodate for a much larger capacity than we had anticipated.

“We’re really hoping to work with them again to see how we can grow the festival and continue to support local music.”

Ray Spencer, executive director of the Customs House, said: “In very difficult times, it’s hard to justify a level of expenditure that doesn’t have the return in terms of attendance.

“I understand that it’s been a great opportunity to launch it over the last two years, and that Kittle intend to take it forward with North Tyneside, and I’m delighted that the platform for local music which has been funded by the Customs House for the last two years will continue.”

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