The programme of events included ‘death defying aerial stunts’ from trapeze artists at High Street West as well as circus performers entertaining crowds at Keel Square.
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Also popping up around the city centre were entertainment act Elton Wrong, a brass band and a variety of visual characters.
The aim of the acts is to provide entertainment for people in the city who are going to Elton John, as well as those who weren’t able to get tickets.
Boxiang Zahn and Myou Yang, who travelled to Sunderland from Lincoln to see Elton John, were among the crowds enjoying the entertainment on offer.
Boxiang said: “The shows and performers have been really good. The atmosphere is really nice. We’re very excited to see Elton John and with it being his last tour we wanted to see him before he goes. We’re really excited for the show and can’t wait to see him. My favourite Elton song is don’t let the sun go down, it means a lot to me.”
The programme of events was staged by Sunderland BID and Sunderland City Council, who wanted to encourage visitors to the city to make the most of the Rocket Man’s performance.
Sharon Appleby, chief executive of Sunderland BID, said: “It has been an incredible few weeks and after Ed Sheeran’s amazing gigs we now have Elton John to enjoy as well as people being out and about enjoying Father’s Day.
“That means a lot of visitors will be heading to Sunderland so we wanted to ensure that there was entertainment in the run up to the show, which gave people the opportunity to really make a day out of it.”
Thousands of music fans are expected to attend the concert in what is expected be a farewell to the legendary singer, who intended to retire from touring.