How the £5 priority tickets will work for Busted and KT Tunstall South Tyneside Summer Festival concerts

Some of the crowd at a 2016 South Tyneside Summer Festival concert in Bents Park.
Some of the crowd at a 2016 South Tyneside Summer Festival concert in Bents Park.

Organisers of the annual free Bents Park summer gigs are introducing paid-for priority access tickets for the first time.

The priority access tickets scheme was announced this week, as South Tyneside Council confirmed the first headliners - Busted and KT Tunstall - as well as support acts for the annual South Tyneside Summer Festival concerts

What does my £5 get me - and why has the charge been introduced?

For your fiver, you can guarantee access to the park on the day. Last year Bents Park reached capacity in record time, and on two occasions people were turned away disappointed.

This year it means if you want to see your favourite artist or band, you can guarantee admission by buying a ticket.

Is there a separate area for ticket holders?

There is no special enclosure for ticket holders. However, ticket holders will be allowed into the park half an hour earlier (12noon) than those who are coming free, giving them a chance to secure the spots closer to the front.

However, it will be up to the ticket holders to make sure they get there in time for the show or to get a good spot

When are the tickets released?

The tickets for each show are being released as and when the concerts are announced, and will be available to purchase until they are all sold out.

What will the council do with the money?

Deputy council leader Alan Kerr said the £5 charge would help keep the Bents Park concerts going in a time of public spending cuts.

“Following our huge success in recent years where we had such large crowds we had to turn people away, we have decided to introduce the priority access tickets for 2017," he said.

“We wanted to find a way to ensure that fans of our top acts would not miss out, which is why we have gone with a ticket scheme for all four concerts.

“This small charge of £5 – a fraction of what it would normally cost to see these great performers – will not only guarantee a space but will also help us to continue to stage these extremely popular concerts in the face of huge reductions of funding.

“There will be still space for thousands of people to come to Bents Park for free to enjoy the shows.”