Around 3,000 Mod and Ska enthusiasts helped an inaugural festival go with a swing.
A strong line-up, including original Jam bassist Bruce Foxton with From the Jam, ska legends The Selector and Mod revivalists Secret Affair, attracted a large crowd to Riverside Live.
Held in Riverside Park, Chester-le-Street, on Sunday it featured nine hours of live music including national headliners and local bands.
Opening the show was Logoz from Northumberland.
Lead singer Peesh said: “We’ve played at a few festivals in the North East and Yorkshire and this one’s been brilliant. There’s not many festivals up here specific to this genre, though I think we have got our own style. We don’t have a bass guitar, we are ska, punk and rock, I would say we have a universal appeal.
“We are still fans of this genre though, and it’s great to see acts like Secret Affair on the same bill as us.”
Other bands performing included The Style Selektors, The Whodlums, The Last Fakers and The Lambrettas.
The event was staged by Stanley Events Ltd, who organise an annual music festival in Stanley.
Gareth Stones from the not-for-profit organisation said: “We wanted to branch out from the Stanley Music Festival to appeal to a wider audience. This is a brilliant venue, so it proved ideal. We’re really happy with the response to the festival and we may look to hold other events here, aimed at different music genres. We’ll wait and see what the feedback is after the event.”
Ben Yeowart programmed the festival on behalf of Stanley Events.
“The headliners are from the south coast and they don’t often play in the North East, so to have them here is a bit of a coup,” he said. “We had sales of 2,500 for pre-sales and we haven’t counted on the door sales, so we’re looking at probably 3,000 with walk ups. I knew this festival would sell well. There’s a big Mod contingent in the North East.”
The Lambrettas, who rose to prominence in 1980 with their cover of Poison Ivy were among the most popular acts.
Original member Doug Sanders said: “There’s aspects of the music business that have changed, the records and gig thing is different. Back then, we would go out on the road and from a financial point of view we’d lose money, but the idea was to promote the record and encourage sales.
“Now it’s the opposite, you have to deliver live now, you can’t just be a wizard in the studio.” He added: “When we play places like this, most of the audience are of a certain type. When we play festivals it’s more general public, but the Mod fashion, compared to something more fringe, is very easily accessible. More so than an out and out punk band. Something like that is more of a culture shock to the general public. Our music is not too far removed from the mainstream.”