POP princess Pixie Lott will lead a host of stars heading to the North East this summer as the South Tyneside Festival Sunday Concert series returns.

The All About Tonight singer will be joined by former JLS singer Aston Merrygold at Bents Park on Sunday 8 July, to launch the 2018 shows which will be held over four consecutive Sundays.

And with a host of big names still to be announced, music lovers across the region will be spoilt for choice this year.

Admission to all four concerts will remain free of charge, but fans can choose to upgrade to a Priority Plus ticket.

Priced at £5 each, these will guarantee earlier access to the park to pick the best spot, along with access to a dedicated bar area and toilets. However, there will only be a limited number available, and they must be bought in advance.

Pixie Lott burst onto the scene in 2009 when, aged just 18, her debut single Mama Do went straight to number one in the UK singles chart.  Her second single, Boys and Girls, was another chart-topper and her first album reached number six in the album chart that same year.

Her second album was released in 2011 with the single All About Tonight giving her a third number one hit. Since then she has also turned her hand to TV and acting, appearing in Inspector George Gently in 2013, and Strictly Come Dancing the following year.

Last autumn she released new material amid rumours a new album could be on its way, and the star will be performing some of her biggest hits when she heads to South Shields.

“I absolutely love performing at outdoor festival events like this and it’s great to be returning to the North East again,” she said.

“The audiences here are always incredible, and I hope we can get everyone into the party spirit ahead of what will be a great summer of entertainment.”

Pixie will be joined at the opening concert by singer and dancer Aston Merrygold. One quarter of the successful British boyband JLS, he became famous for his trademark backflips in his TV appearances.

When the band split in 2013, he became a judge on UK talent show Got to Dance, before going on to star in last year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing, and has released a string of solo singles and EPs.

“I’m delighted to be part of the opening show at this year’s Sunday Concert series,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed performing for North East audiences as they’re always so amazing, and I can’t wait to head back there this summer.”

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, is looking forward to another summer of music.

“The Sunday Concert series is one of the biggest events on our calendar and I’m delighted that we will be launching this year with two fantastic pop acts,” he said.

“Both Pixie and Aston have a huge following, and we know that they are going to be very popular with fans and audiences of all ages.

“This year we have launched our new Priority Plus tickets which offer a more enhanced experience, and fans can snap these up early to guarantee early access as well as a bar area and toilets.

“We have three more exciting shows still to reveal in the coming weeks, and I think everyone will agree it is going to be a wonderful summer of music.”

The Sunday Concert series, supported by BBC Newcastle 95.4FM and sponsored by Port of Tyne and Colmans Seafood Temple, regularly attracts tens of thousands of visitors from across the region and further afield.

Priority Plus tickets are available strictly on a first come, first served basis, and under- fives will be admitted free with a ticket-holding adult.

For tickets to the Pixie Lott show, visit Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/southtynesidefestival or call: 0844 844 0444.

They can also be purchased in person at Shop @ The Word in Market Place, South Shields.

For more information and full listings visit: www.southtynesidefestival.co.uk or follow the social media accounts on Twitter @stynesideevents and Facebook /southtynesideevents