Johnny Hates JazzOver 6,500 people crammed into Gallagher Park in Bedlington, South East Northumberland to dance all day to music performed by local bands and international pop stars from the Eighties.
 
Headlining the event were chart-toppers Johnny Hates Jazz – aka Clark Datchler and Mike Nocito – who belted out hit-after-hit including “Turn Back the Clock”, “I Don’t Want To Be a Hero” and the crowd-pleaser “Shattered Dreams”.
 
Also wooing the audience were Salsa kings, Modern Romance who got everyone up on their feet and partying along in the spirit of the occasion. They even got the crowd to conga around Gallagher Park to hits like “Everybody Salsa”, “Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey” and “High Life”.
 
Northumberland Live in Bedlington was supported by Northumberland County Council and BBC Newcastle 95.4FM Digital.
 
Cllr Val Tyler, Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture at Northumberland County Council said: “It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying the sunshine and music in Gallagher Park. Northumberland Live at Bedlington was a terrific success, and there was a real family atmosphere throughout the day.
 
“I would like to thank everybody who worked so tirelessly to make Northumberland Live such a success; from the many volunteers, the bands, BBC Newcastle and most of all the thousands of people who turned out to support the festival. I’m lucky enough to attend a variety of events in my role with the County Council but it was extra special to see such a fabulous showcase right on my doorstep.”
 
Supporting Johnny Hates Jazz and Modern Romance were Alistair James (Middlesbrough); The Sleeze Sisters (Bedlington); Anth Purdy (Blyth); Edenthorn (Durham); Channy Thompson (Newcastle); and The Voluntears (Newcastle).
 
People could also enjoy a host of other attractions including a fun fair, sporting events, food and craft stalls from local traders, street theatre, a bubbleologist, face painting and even a 7-aside football tournament.
 
Northumberland Live at Bedlington worked closely with local charity, Leading Link – who aim to provide young people with real life opportunities, including business and enterprise, through a diverse range of activities.  Their focus being to help maximise the potential of young people across North East England. The group helped out and volunteered their time throughout the whole festival, ranging from promoting the event locally to residents, through to their Youth Ambassadors being ever present on the day to ensure the audience had the best experience possible.  They even organised their own talent show, Northumberland’s Got Talent! The final took place onstage at Northumberland Live with the winner being Kyla Swann aged 11 – who performed a dance routine.
 
One local resident who brought her friends and family down to enjoy Northumberland Live at Bedlington was Elaine Wylie. Elaine is 49-years old and a medical secretary at Wansbeck General Hospital.  She attended the free festival with her daughter Neve, friend Helen and dog, Harris.
 
Elaine said: “The festival had a really good atmosphere, with families and people of all ages just enjoying themselves. We never have anything like this in Bedlington – it’s good for the Town. There were young kids and pensioners all dancing in the field together. The space at Gallagher Park is great for this kind of event. We would definitely come back next year!”
 
Just to show the pulling power of the free festival – Ros Thomas posted on Facebook that she travelled 225 miles from Wolverhampton just to see Johnny Hates Jazz performing at Northumberland Live at Bedlington.
People can relive the events of Northumberland Live at Bedlington by visiting the Festival’s social media pages www.facebook.com/NorthumberlandliveBedlington16 or on Twitter @NlandLiveFest.
 
What did the bands think of Northumberland Live at Bedlington:
 
Clark Datchler, lead singer with Johnny Hates Jazz said: “I always love performing in this neck of the woods.  It can be very inspiring. It was a great location for a festival with the crowd being good natured; and they sang their hearts out to every song!”
 
Andy Kyriacou, lead singer with Modern Romance said: “Everyone was really friendly. I went into the audience after the gig, and people were introducing me to their family and generally having a good time. We would love to come back to Bedlington again sometime, as you made us feel so welcome!”