The Brand New HeaviesFAMOUS FUNK band The Brand New Heavies have vowed to return to Sunderland, after thousands of music fans flocked to see them at the city’s annual Sunniside Live festival. 

The event, which is Sunderland’s only city centre live music festival, returned to the city for the second time on 16 July with a record turnout.

And the lead singer of the headline band has praised the Wearside audience for their amazing support. 

“There was a fantastic atmosphere at Sunniside Live, along with a great crew and awesome crowd. Everyone had a blast and we hope to come back again,” said vocalist Sulene Fleming.

His words were echoed by fellow band member, Simon Bartholomew who added: “We had a great day out and there was a lovely warm atmosphere.”

A combination of hot weather and music brought revellers in to the heart of the city to listen to The Brand New Heavies and a host of other acts, including North East groups Smoove & Turrell, and Picnic, along with special guests Alison Limerick and Shola Ama.  

The event was organised by Helen Davies and Sean Maddison who run both Bar Justice and Gin & Bear it Bar at West Sunniside and was supported by Sunderland Business Improvement District. 

Helen Davies said she was delighted to see Sunniside Live return to the city: “This year’s event was a huge success and attracted thousands of people into the city centre. The sunny weather definitely brought the crowds out and we couldn’t have hoped for a better turnout. 

“We’re incredibly proud to have brought acts like The Brand New Heavies and Shola Ama to Sunderland,” she said.

 “And we’re already looking forward to planning next year’s event, with plans to make it even bigger and better with more food and drink outlets and hopefully more big names.” 

Sunniside Live was sponsored by Sunderland BID and Chief Executive, Ken Dunbar, said it has provided a great opportunity to boost the local economy. 

“We heard that people had travelled for as far afield as London and Scotland to see their favourite acts and this also gave us the chance to showcase the city and highlight what a vibrant place Sunderland is,” he said. 

“The festival does a brilliant job at bringing people into the city centre which can only be good news not just for music lovers but for the economy.”