NCS 2The stage is being set for the return of one of the North East’s biggest events.

The South Tyneside festival’s Sunday Concert series, which attracted more than 77,000 people in 2015, returns next weekend with the first of four open-air gigs in Bents Park, South Shields.

This includes performances by X Factor favourites Alexandra Burke, Ben Haenow and Reggie and Bollie (July 10), as well as The Proclaimers and Lindisfarne (July 17), Tony Hadley (July 24) and UB40 (July 31).

Kim Smith, Director for National Citizen Service (NCS) North East, which is sponsoring the series, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the South Tyneside Festival’s Sunday Concert series, which provides a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our offer to teenagers and their parents, as well as fitting with our mission to empower young people and communities.

“NCS gives 16-17 year olds the chance to experience the freedom of living away from home, take on adrenalin-fuelled activities, learn vital skills and make their mark on their communities and this summer will be our biggest programme yet.”

The South Tyneside Festival’s Sunday Concert Series, organised by South Tyneside Council, is sponsored by NCS North East, as well as Colmans fish and chips, Zeera Indian restaurant and Port of Tyne.

Along with big names stars the event, supported by Radio Newcastle, will also feature appearances by a number of North East acts, including 95OneDream, Channy Thompson and Drum Young on July 10, Beth Macari on July 17, 4 Worried Men, Lauren Amour and Tennet on July 24 and Eve Simpson, Lily Brooke and The Shakes on July 31.

It forms part of the wider South Tyneside Festival, which offers free activities and entertainment for all ages form the start of June to the end of August.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “Excitement is building for the return of the South Tyneside Festival’s Sunday Concert Series and I would like to thanks NCS North East and our other sponsors for their sponsorship and enthusiastic support.”

Gates for each of South Tyneside Festival’s Sunday Concerts will open at around 1pm on the date specified, with an enhanced food and drink offering, including craft ales, Pimms and prosecco, available throughout the day.

Entry is free and all festival-goers are permitted to bring a picnic if they prefer.

For more information and full listings for the festival, which runs throughout June, July and August, visit www.visitsouthtyneside.co.uk or call the South Tyneside Visitor Information Centre on 0191 424 7788.   Further details are also available on South Tyneside Events’ Facebook page and via STynesideEvents on Twitter.

Places for NCS’ summer programme are limited, so teenagers and their parents are being urged to call 0191 247 4020 or visit NCSNORTHEAST.co.uk to book their place. A condensed autumn programme will be running in during October half term.