Scottish musician KT Tunstall will open this year’s series of South Tyneside Festival Summer Concerts.
The Suddenly I See singer will take to the stage in Bents Park on Sunday July, 9 to launch this year’s concert series which will be held over four consecutive Sundays - with more big name acts to be announced in the coming weeks.
Despite the concerts being free a limited number of special advance tickets are being introduced at a price of £5.
The introduction of the new Priority Access Tickets follows the success of last year’s shows, most of which filled up in record time resulting in some people being turned away.
The tickets will guarantee access to the concert they are purchased for, as well as allow priority access to the park.
For anyone not choosing to buy one of the Priority Access Tickets, admission remains free, however, is on a first come, first served basis on the day.
There will be 5,000 £5 tickets for each show, with around 19,000 free tickets each Sunday.
Multi award-winning singer KT Tunstall is the first big name to be confirmed for this year’s shows.
The Edinburgh-born vocalist burst onto the scene in 2004 following a lucky break on BBC TV show Later…with Jools Holland. Having been asked to perform with just 24 hours’ notice when another artist dropped out, she appeared as a one-person band with a guitar and tambourine and was an instant hit.
Shortly afterwards, her debut album Eye to the Telescope was re-released and sparked three hits – Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, Other Side of the World and Suddenly I See.
“I am delighted to be playing at the first show in this year’s Summer Concert series,” she said. “I love performing live and I really enjoy playing open air concerts, so it’s something I am really looking forward to.
“It’s great to be returning to the North East and hopefully we can give the audiences a fantastic afternoon.”
Joining KT at the opening performance will be North East band Big Red & the Grinners. Best described as a zany fusion of folk, country and bluegrass with their own added unique twist, the band have become favourites on the local and national festivals circuit.
Also taking to the stage on July 9 will be South Shields-based French singer Charlotte Yanni, who will be playing in her adoptive home town as part of a busy summer schedule touring the UK and Europe.
Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for Culture and Leisure said: “The South Tyneside Festival is one of the biggest events on our calendar, and gives music fans the chance to see amazing artists perform live.
“Last year’s concert programme was the most successful in the 28 year history of the event. We reached maximum capacity at three of the four concerts, which led to long waiting times to get into the park, and resulted in people being turned away disappointed.
“In order to address these issues we have decided to introduce the Priority Access Tickets which will guarantee access, as well as help us continue to stage these popular concerts in the face of reductions in funding.”
The Sunday Concert series, sponsored by Port of Tyne, Colmans Seafood Temple, Town Centre Automobiles and Little Haven Hotel, is one of the most popular elements in the annual South Tyneside Festival and regularly attracts tens of thousands of visitors from across the region and further afield.
Other highlights of this year’s festival will include a summer parade through the town centre on Saturday, July 1, brass bands at the open-air Amphitheatre on Sunday afternoons and Kids Fun Fest parties throughout August.
Priority Access Tickets for the KT Tunstall show are available to buy now from Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/southtynesidefestival or by calling 0844 844 0444.
They can also be purchased over the counter at Shop @ The Word in Market Place, South Shields.
For more information and full listings visit: www.southtynesidefestival.co.uk