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South Tyneside Summer Festival 2014

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by Margaret Waters (subscribe)
A former teacher and charity worker from the North East of England, I love people and places and like to try out new experiences wherever possible. Capturing that 'perfect pic' is all part of the pleasure. Access issues are a particular interest.
Event: -
Update July 28th 2014
Soundwaves (part of the ST Summer Festival) on Sat 23 August 2014 now offering tickets at Buy One Get One Free -

There's A Party Going On Around Here
marching band in summer parade
Marching Band in Summer Parade

Festival fun is back for 2014 at the seafront in South Shields and around the borough as the ever popular South Tyneside Summer Festival returns for another year.

Originally starting out as the Catherine Cookson Festival, named after the world renowned local author, over more than three decades on the festival goes from strength to strength. There is an ever expanding annual events programme offering free entertainment all summer long as an impressive line-up of well know artists headline in the town's Bents Park and the summer sun brings the crowds.

big screen set up in the park
scenes from last year's festival
toploader guitarist at 2013 fest

The festival is sponsored by local businesses and South Tyneside council funding and lasts from mid-June until the end of August each year.

With a full programme of live music, children's entertainment, parades and displays, local residents and visitors can enjoy a range of activities and events taking place across the borough this summer - many of them free of charge.

So whether you're into beach activities, live music, displays, museums, craft fares, kite festivals, or just looking for something to entertain the kids, there's sure to be something to catch your eye. Here's a little taster:

Opening Parade 5th July
Proms in the Park - 6th July
Live Sunday Concerts - 13th, 20th and 27th July
SoundWaves - 23rd August
Children's Entertainment at the Ampitheatre Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
Live Music at the Ampitheatre - Thursday evenings.

The Festival gets off to a flying start with live music and brass bands at the seafront Ampitheatre from mid-June 2014.

With scores of events going on across the towns and villages of South Tyneside the list is pretty impressive and extensive. I've picked out the main events happening at seafront venues

Saturday 5th July - 1pm - 4pm

Opening Parade and Summer Fayre

South Tyneside Summer Festival officially kicks-off with the Opening Parade as local groups and organisations contribute to put on a show for the people of the borough. This year's theme is 'Let's Celebrate Get Active' and the carnival theme will ensue as the parade leaves the Town Hall, South Shields and makes its way towards the seafront and the Bents Park where a Summer Fayre with a gymnastic display, live music and numerous stalls await the festival goer.

South Shields is graced with three glorious parks along its seafront and beautiful walkway overlooking the sea and beaches. There are dozens of restaurants, bars and places to entertain the kids so there's plenty to do when you get there.

Sunday 6th July - 7pm - 9pm South Marine Park

Proms in the Park

proms in the park
Proms in the South Marine Park - Image from

Fancy a rousing chorus of 'Land of Hope and Glory' or 'Rule Britannia'? The ever popular 'Proms in the Park' returns to the South Marine Park for 2014. This year features the South Tyneside Orchestra snd the crowd are invited to join performers in true 'Last Night of the Proms' fashion in a chorus of patriotic songs. Bring your own tables and chairs and dress for the occasion to add to the fun.

Keeping up tradition, the South Tyneside Summer Festival offers Free Live Music Concerts in the Bents Park this July with supporting acts and activities and displays to delight the family.

Ready to jump
Displays from Summer Festival 2013

Summer Music Concerts Line-Up

Sunday 13th July - B*witched and Shayne Ward
Sunday 20th July - 10CC
Sunday 27th July - Heather Small from M People

Summer Festival Music Concert - Headline Acts - Images from

Shows start at 2pm - Gates open from 1pm.

Free Live Music at the Ampitheatre

Brass Bands Every Sunday Afternoon throughout the Summer Festival. June (2-4pm), July (3-5pm), August (2-4pm).

Live Music Every Thursday 7pm 9pm
If you love live music, this is a chance to support your local bands as they perform every week at Sandhaven Ampitheatre.

Or if you prefer Classical Music there's a programme of Live Bandstand Music to suit your tastes.

Free Children's Entertainment at the Ampitheatre Every Tuesday and Thursday Afternoon between 29 July - 21 August 2014 - 2-4pm (no shows on 12th and 14th August)

tommy's parties take off
Children's Entertainment at the Seafront Ampitheatre

After many years of merrymaking, we said our goodbyes to the legendary Tommy's Parties last year following the retirement of local actor and theatre director Ray Spencer MBE from the role of Tommy the Trumpeter. But the laughter goes on and sticking to its regular time-slots, a new programme of children's entertainment will emerge to amuse the little ones.

Sunday 23 August

Soundwaves - Bents Park

soundwaves poster
SoundWaves 2014 - Image from

Back for a second year, the 'SOUNDWAVES' Concert is set to thrill the crowds as a host of big names arrive on South Tyneside. Following the success of last year's concert we have Gabrielle, Texas and All Saints on the same bill to perform their hits it's sure you get the crowd going.

With songs such as 'Summer Son' and 'Say What You Want' from Scottish band Texas, headed by Sharleen Spiteri and the girls from All Saints bringing some of their favourites such as 'Pure Shores' and 'Never Ever' to the party it only leaves Gabrielle with her beautiful renditions of 'Dreams', 'Rise' and her hit song from the 'Bridget Jones' Diary'' soundtrack, Out of Reach' to bring the memories flooding back. Enjoy.

Tickets cost 30 and are available from The Customs House , in person or call
0191 4541234 to purchase your tickets. Also available on TicketMaster.

There's just so much going on in and around the towns and villages of South Tyneside this summer that it's hard to cram it all in. Click the link for a Full Programme,

You'll find South Shields seafront on the A183 Coast Road with plenty of car parks in the vicinity. The town is well served by the Tyne & Wear Metro and Ferry and bus no. E1 has a route to/from Sunderland along the seafront every 20 mins. Bus no. 10 from South Shields Marketplace also passes the Bents Park and runs half-hourly.

If you want to make a weekend of it, there's plenty of guesthouses close to the seafront. And, while you're visiting the town, why not see what else South Shields has to offer?
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Why? Free Summer Festival
When: Mid-June - End of August 2014
Where: South Shields Seafront and other venues
Cost: Some chargeable but most events are FREE
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