Live Review: South Tyneside Festival 08/07/2018 - Pixie Lott & Aston Merrygold
The South Tyneside Festival sees three months of entertainment along South Shields Seafront. A huge part of the festival’s schedule are the free open air concerts in Bents Park showcasing both local talent and big names in the music industry.
Sunday 8th July saw the first of the four concerts headlined by Pixie Lott, with Aston Merrygold and Phats & Small. Also taking to the stage were South Tyneside Samba Drum Club who opened the show, and local singer songwriter Jen Stevens. The hot summers day brought the crowds in with thousands of people in attendance at the park. The atmosphere was very family orientated, with families enjoying picnic’s and South Shields famous fish and chips on deck chairs, and as well as the concert there was fairground rides, inflatables, food stands and bars for everyone to enjoy.
The Samba Club took to the stage first, followed by Jen Stevens who played two original tracks on piano, one of which was a single in aid of the charity Mind, named ‘Gravity’. Phats & Small opened their set with their 90’s massive club hit ‘Turn Around’ which really got the crowd warmed up and the party started. They played a thirty minute set of classic tunes from both the 90’s and newer music, as well as their own music.
With the crowd ready to party, Aston Merrygold gave a crowd pleasing performance singing both original songs including his debut single ‘Get Stupid’ and a couple of covers thrown in that all of the crowd could join in with. However the noise level increased tenfold when Aston took us back to his JLS days, singing a mashup of ‘Everybody in Love’, ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ & ‘Beat Again’. The fast moving, fully rounded set, complete with dancers, and a hint of rapping and beatboxing made for a thoroughly enjoyable show for an audience of all ages, and was especially appreciated by the teenage girls in the audience.
Bringing the first of this summers free concerts in the park to a close was headline performer Pixie Lott and her band, who as well as playing all the throwback classic hits including ‘Turn It Up’ ‘Mama Do’ and ‘Gravity’ got the whole crowd involved with a mass singalong of ‘It’s Coming Home’. She also treat the audience to only her second performance of a brand new song.
The Bents Park shows continue next Sunday with another great lineup and as this festival evolves we see more and more well known artists taking part. It’s popularity increases year on year and people come from all over the country, and further afield to see the shows and to enjoy the beauty of the North East coastline.
Next week, British boyband sensation The Vamps headline and from talking to people in the crowd, it seems as though everyone who was there will be joining them in the park next weekend too. A free festival, bringing such a diverse mix of music genres and artists together, as well as an audience of all ages is really wonderful to see.
Words and Photography by Lauren Stewart