Live music, global street food and teepees have taken over Southwick for a colourful community festival.
For the second year running, Summer Streets is taking place at Thompson Park and has stretched to two days of free music and entertainment.
It began at noon today with a steel drum procession from Southwick Primary School, around the Green and to the park where it opened the weekend’s festivities.
The parade was made up of musicians, as well as young people from Southwick who’ve been taking part in music workshops ahead of the event.
Young carer development worker Sue Callaghan led 25 young carers from Sunderland Carers’ Centre in the parade. For the past six weeks they’ve been working with drummer Dave Harper from Frankie & the Heartstrings to learn about the skill.
Sue said: “Many of them have never played the drums before, but they’ve loved taking part in the workshops with Dave. The parade was great, they were all dancing around.”
Gemma Watson, 32, from Ryhope, was part of a staff team from Grace House taking part in the parade. Her son Jack, five, has Sanfilippo disease which could see him face dementia before his next birthday. He is one of the youngsters who will benefit from the respite care facility when it opens.
Gemma, whose daughter Lucy, two, also took part in the parade, said: “Jack has loved today, he’s not usually good with loud noises but he’s been clapping along. I didn’t realise this festival existed, it’s a great idea, it’s right up my street.”
Summer Streets is a free event organised by Ross Millard, from Frankie & the Heartstrings, on behalf of The Cultural Spring, an Arts Council-funded project working to increase participation in the arts on Wearside and South Tyneside.
The musical programme today will run until 7pm.
Headliners Hyde and Beast will follow performances from blues band George Shovlin and the Radars; 30s-style big band Rob Heron and the Teapad Orchestra; country-style rockers Big Red and the Grinners, and 10-piece ‘brassy jazz’ band Brassy B.
Performer George Shovlin said: “It’s a fabulous festival. People were hanging out of their windows at the parade, clapping along. It’s great that it’s all sorts of music too, it’s giving young people exposure to different musical genres and different cultures. It helps them to realise that there are other things out there.”
BBC Look North’s Jeff Brown, who’s from Roker, is introducing the acts. He said: “This is the second year I’ve done the festival and it’s a great celebration of local and international talent.
“I grew up down the road and it’s great to see the park used in this way. I wish we had something like this when I was a kid.”
Performers on the other three stages include Alf Scott’s Hylton Ukes; psychedelic rockers Pale Horse Riders; ‘gothic country’ band Hillfolk Noir; popular South Tyneside singers Harton Harmonisers; This Little Bird; Southwick folk duo Yuma and acoustic blues duo Auld Man’s Baccie from Seaham Harbour.
As with the inaugural Summer Streets last year, there is comedy for kids from Lee Kyle and music for the younger members of the audience from Tiny Tweeties.
Tomorrow will feature an Alice in Wonderland themed picnic, with the whole day having more of an emphasis on family fun than music.
Families will be encouraged to bring along their own picnics, although there are food vendors and a bar present on both days.