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South Shields premier political blog

Summer Festival Picture special

with 4 comments

South Tyneside Summer Festival 2011 off to a scorching start

Well I missed the big parade in South Shields on Saturday, but my daughter reported that it was just as busy as the best years, the sun was out to bake the entrants on their procession from the Town Hall to the sea front and the Bents Park as thousands of residents and visitors lined the streets to get this year’s festival off to a flying start. Sunshine and warmth is certainly a great help for the Cookson Parade and huge splashes of glorious colour and noise attract visitors and encourage them to spend! “Missy” came back from the fayre in the Bents Park with a giant teddy, so her day was made.

The festivities continued yesterday with the whole sea front area swathed in crowds of summer visitors enjoying the beaches, the parks, the fun fair and the entertainment provided by local artists in the Bents Park. The park was packed as local talent was showcased on the stage in a family fun day involving rides and entertainment for the children, food and drink for the adults, selling opportunities for local businesses, and general good natured fun.

Customs House Director Ray Spencer in his guise of “Tommy the Trumpeter” was enjoying his role as Master of Ceremonies as he told me that:

“This really is as good as it gets for the first weekend, the weather has been brilliant and the crowds yesterday and today really made the effort to come and enjoy themselves. I’m delighted that local bands have got a great audience to play to today we really have some talented people in our community, and I’m looking forward to the other Sundays coming up, lets just hope that the weather continues like this throughout July.”

“Tommy” was enjoying a little break as South Shields actor Dale Meeks, who played Simon Meredith in ITV’s Emmerdale,  was fronting his band “Shake ya tail feather” on the stage. The band has now been joined by a female vocalist who helps to balance Dale’s tones and add some width to the range, as they belted out a repertoire of gutsy blues based beats from the Blues Brothers to the Doors, just what the crowd needed to get them moving! We were later treated to a Beatles tribute band of unusual qualities, not as you might expect a four piece bunch of “mop top” lookalikes but a six piece combo including a female vocalist! Looked nothing at all like the Fab Four but their sound was  authentic Merseybeat as they ran through a stream of early sixties Beatles covers in a very accomplished manner.

Later after the concert in the Bents Park was over another huge crowd listened to “the Proms” at the amphitheatre from South Tyneside’s youth orchestra with great vocal support.

If you were there, I am sure you will have enjoyed it, if not then you ought to have been, if you are reading this from outside of South Tyneside than can I encourage you to visit the Summer Festival web page to get a flavour of what is on offer this year and suggest that a visit here will be a rewarding experience.

Now, if you are a councillor or a council official can I encourage you to think long and hard about the numbers of people visiting South Tyneside this summer, yes it is great when the weather is this kind to us, the spending power is greatly appreciated by local businesses too, but we let a great opportunity slip by a couple of years ago to get our visitors to make more than just a day trip to the seaside. That’s right, we need to encourage them to stay for weekend breaks, and that means more accommodation in the town centre and sea front areas, the ill fated hotel at Gypsies Green would have fit the bill perfectly. We still have land and development opportunities available in the Town Centre,  Harton Staithes, and further along the riverside, we could use a four star hotel and something along the lines of a Travelodge to cover the budget end of the market. We need to be bold and brave and determined to aggressively market these opportunities, let’s not be suckered twice by blinkered opposition.

Enjoy this small picture slide show of yesterday’s events in the Bents Park.

p.s. Following my words yesterday about my dying monitor (which now works again after I fixed a faulty panel switch) I was rather surprised and overcome by the very generous offer of a free monitor from one of my readers! You really were far too kind sir, and your thoughtfulness was that of a typical Sanddancer, thank you very much for your offer I shall not forget your gesture.

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Written by curly

July 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Sounds like a great start of the summer!
    I agree with you that the local council needs to be vigilant in marketing what the town has to offer but I would suggest that the real benefits are derived from marketing the area. Such a regional approach captures all of the highlights to be had in the region as well as the town and encourages the amount of overnight stays. This, unfortunatly, since the demise of ONE has reduced significantly and there is complications at the moment on the tourism alliance to get its act together in terms of marketing. If we are not careful we will end up in the position where each town or particular venue will have its own marketing approach which will end up being more costly and less afective. I’m sure that those involved in South Tyneside tourism will be aware of this and make every effort to make the most of what they now can.


    July 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm

  2. Alas I fear that any new hotel to benefit the tourism trade has been buried for good; a new hotel proposed for Harton Staithes will not, I suggest, provide any tourism benefit.
    The revived caravan park has provided much needed quality accommodation but even here I wonder how many “visitors” it is attracting rather than purely the new caravan owners ?

    Fortunately the new pool on the seafront will, in the near future, provide a valuable attraction for visitors tho I still feel that this will be very much for the day visitor rather than any longer stay visitors.


    July 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm

  3. I came to visit South Shields for the first time 3 weeks ago and I was very very impressed such a lovely clean town beautiful sea front and parks and so much for visitors and town folk to do. You are very lucky. Just on a side note I am coming back this weekend to see the lovely Joe McElderry, could someone tell me which end of the park the stage is nearest to Bent Park Road or the sea front. Just wondering which entrance I should use.


    July 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    • The stage is set closest to the Bents Park Road and there are generally four entrances available for use, a small gate adjacent to the caravan Park entrance in Bents Park Road, a larger gate on the corner of Bents Park Road and Beach Road, and the two main gates on Sea Road. I hope you really enjoy your return visit.


      July 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm

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