abi Garrido (3)The North East became a time machine this weekend as tens of thousands of music fans were taken back to the 70s and 80s.

Soul superstar Billy Ocean, who stormed the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with hits including Love Really Hurts Without You, When The Going Gets Tough and Loverboy, performed a free concert in South Shields on Sunday (July 19) as part of the South Tyneside Festival 2015.

He was joined for the open air gig by renowned songstress Gwen Dickey, who also enjoyed international success as front woman for Rose Royce, voicing top tracks such as Carwash, I Wanna Get Next To You and Wishing On A Star.

Both icons performed tracks from their extensive back catalogues, while X Factor star Abi Garrido, from Jarrow, added a touch of modern talent, covering a range of chart hits such as Jason Derulo’s Want to Want Me and Hold Back the River by James Bay.

The event, attended by up to 25,000 people during the course of the afternoon, was the second in a series of four Sunday Concerts taking place at Bents Park as part of the South Tyneside Festival 2015.

Other acts still to appear in the series, sponsored by Colmans, Dicksons and Port of Tyne, include Sophie Ellis-Bextor and The Feeling (July 26) and North East stars, Joe McElderry, Collabro and Lola Saunders (August 2) – and organisers are advising visitors to arrive early to ensure entry.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “Billy, Gwen and Abi are all fantastic performers and more than maintained the standards set by 5ive and Atomic Kitten in our first Sunday Concert of 2015.

“It was great to see the crowd on their feet for the second week in a row and I hope that many will return to see Sophie, The Feeling and our North East stars in the coming weeks.”

For more information about the South Tyneside Festival 2015, which offers free events until the end of August, visit www.visitsouthtyneside.co.uk, search South Tyneside Events on Facebook, follow STynesideEvents on Twitter or call the South Tyneside Visitor Information Centre on 0191 424 7788.