Summer Streets was back with a bang today, transforming Southwick’s Thompson Park into a hive of cultural activity.
Sunderland band Field Music headlined the line-up, while the Royal Northern Sinfonia will perform tomorrow.
Other bands today include Martha, the Cornshed Sisters, New York Brass Band, Hylton Ukes, The Heavenly Thrillbillies, Don’t Panic Steel Pan Band, Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band, The Sons of Bido Lito and Immy Williams.
Summer Streets is being delivered on behalf of the Arts Council-funded Cultural Spring by Futureheads and Frankie and the Heartstrings star Ross Millard.
“With both The Futureheads and Frankie and the Heartstrings, we've always been closely attached to Sunderland,” he said.
Ross has been honoured to be asked to pull together the Summer Streets line-up.
“It is a chance to try to show off all the good work that everyone is doing year-round,” he said.
Among today’s performers were members of a young songwriters group, based at Pop Recs in the city centre and run by Natahsha Haws and the Lake Poets’ Martin Longstaff.
Martin was delighted to see the group’s memebrs given an opportunity to showcase their work.
“Events like this are very important,” he said.
“Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of venues in Sunderland for young people to play in.
“Seeing them given an opportunity to play and a chance to show off their songwriting makes me very happy.”
Acclaimed North East opera star Graeme Danby was also on-hand today.
Graeme and wife Valerie Read are both performing arts professors at Sunderland University and a group of students were showing off the results of some of their recent week with Bend It Like Beckham choreographer Shelby Williams.
“The university is very keen to forge closer links with the local community, which is why events such as this are so important,” said Graeme.
Four generations of the Willis family had come from Southwick, Htlon castle and Town Farm for today’s event.
They attended last year, when eight-year-old Leah Walker was among the performers.
“It’s definitely the kind of thing we’d like to see more or,” said mum Anita Willis, 45.
“It is a good day out.”
Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Sunderland University Graeme Thompson is chairman of the Cultural Spring steering group: "It has been a brilliant turn-out," he said.
"We reckon by the end of the day. we will have had in excess of 5,000 people through the site, which is a record for Summer Streets. All the stages have attracted big auidences for some amazing performances."