Heather Small announced as first headline act for Sunniside Live

Heather Small
Heather Small
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Soul singer Heather Small will headline the first night of next year’s Sunniside Live festival.

The former M People singer is expected to perform a mixture of the band’s hits such as Search for the Hero, as well as her solo anthems which include Proud, when she takes to the stage on Friday, July 7 to cap off the evening’s entertainment.

Another household name will be announced in the coming days as the Saturday headliner.

Early bird tickets are available now for next year’s festival which has been extended to two days, with live music from late afternoon on the Friday and all day and night on Saturday.

It will be the third year of the festival, which last year attracted a capacity crowd of 4,000 to Sunniside Gardens to see the likes of Brand New Heavies and Shola Ama.

Organisers Helen Davies and Sean Maddison, who own Sunniside bars Bar Justice and Gin & Bear It, say they are delighted to have secured two big names for the event on a bill which will feature home-grown talent, as well as national acts.

The crowd at Sunniside live

The crowd at Sunniside live

“We wanted people who would mirror the party atmosphere of last year’s festival,” said Helen. “Heather has had some great tracks, with the band and as a solo star, and we’re sure she’ll get everyone up dancing.

“We’ve had to increase the ticket prices this year but we hope everyone will appreciate that it’s still good value for money.”

Early bird tickets are available at a 20% discount, priced £28 for a weekend ticket or £14 for a Friday night ticket and £18 for a Saturday ticket. Once these tickets are gone, prices will rise to £35 for the weekend or £17.50 for the Friday and £22.50 for the Saturday.

There will also be VIP tickets available, priced from £35 on the early bird offer, which gives VIP access to facilities, an exclusive bar and seating area. Sean and Helen, who fund the event themselves with support from sponsors including Sunderland Bid, say the price rise was necessary to ensure the future of the festival, which has been praised for boosting footfall for businesses in the Sunniside area.

•Tickets are available from http://sunnisidelive.co.uk/