Sunderland BID: City all set for a summer of football, ships, music and chillies

Football screenings, an armada of ships, live music and chillies are just some of the diverse and wonderful things heading into the city this summer.

Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 10:12 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 2:39 pm
Fans watch England's opening World Cup match against Tunisia, at Sunderland's Park Lane Fanzone.

This week sees the marking of the summer solstice, and with the long days and warm temperatures, it’s hotting up nicely for a busy three months.

With a packed programme of entertainment heading to the city over the summer, there’s never been a better time to spend the holidays at home.

Sunderland BID Fanzone in Park Lane, Sunderland, for the 2018 World Cup Finals.

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“This year, we have what we believe will be our busiest and most exciting programme of entertainment for the city,” said Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID).

“We’ve got a packed three months ahead with something for everyone, and regardless of what the weather chooses to do, there will be no shortage of fun or things to do for all the family.”

The entertainment kicked-off last week as the popular FanZone returned to the city, giving people somewhere to watch all of this year’s FIFA World Cup matches – including England vs Tunisia last night.

The action is being beamed out from a 20-foot screen on the side of a double decker bus, which also houses an on-board bar and seating area.

Sunderland BID Fanzone in Park Lane, Sunderland, for the 2018 World Cup Finals.

Based primarily at Park Lane, the bus will be moving to Low Row for some matches and will head along to West Sunniside for next month’s Sunniside Live event.

The FanZone area, which is open until Sunday, July 15, will also feature drinks offers and special menus from the surrounding bars along with a host of other entertainment – and the chance to catch other major sporting events such as Wimbledon, Formula One and Ascot.

July and August are both set to be busy months for excitement in and around the city centre.

Sunniside Live, a two-day music festival returns to the city over the weekend July 6 and 7.

Sunderland BID Fanzone in Park Lane, Sunderland, for the 2018 World Cup Finals.

This year’s line-up includes Soul II Soul, Cast, Reverend and the Makers, Artful Dodger, Lightning Seeds, The Bluetones and many more, as the streets of West Sunniside come alive with music, street food and bars.

Just days later, the eyes of the world will turn towards the city as the 2018 Tall Ships Races sail in.

For five days starting Tuesday, July 10, the city will become home to a festival of stunning ships and entertainment in what will be the UK’s largest free family event this year.

Fifty five ships from 16 countries are setting sail for Sunderland and are due to arrive on Wednesday, July 11, while action on the ground will be spread across four zones in the city.

Entertainment during the event will include a parade of the crews along with 200 different theatre, music and circus performances and firework displays, culminating in a spectacular Parade of Sail as the ships head out to begin their race to Esjberg on Saturday, July 14.

In August, the city’s Chilli Fest will turn up the heat on Saturday, July 11, at Keel Square.

From 10am to 5pm, a selection of the UK’s finest chilli creators will be selling some of their best products including plants, sauces and merchandise which aren’t available in supermarkets. Live entertainment and street food stalls will be available throughout the day, which will also include a chilli-eating contest for those brave enough.

And as the summer draws to a close, Mowbray Park will host the East Community sports festival on Wednesday, August 22, where local sports clubs will offer taster sessions and other fun activities.

These are set to include football, rugby, martial arts, netball, cricket, mini golf, volleyball, trampolining, cycle rides, walks and traditional sports day games, and admission is just £1 per person.

“Whatever people have planned this summer, I would encourage them to come out and enjoy one or two of our events,” added Sharon.

“Sunderland has long been a city built on its strong community, and we are confident that our programme will help bring people together in exciting and fun environments.

“Not everyone is planning a summer holiday this year, but if there was ever a year to stay put, this is it.

“Our pop-up city centre will also be at a number of events, from the Tall Ships to the Airshow and our first Little Book of Offers will be available, full of discounts for people to enjoy.

“We know it’s going to be a summer to remember.”

Further information is available at