Summer Streets: Music, comedy and children’s events on the bill for Sunderland culture festival

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MUSIC and mirth will combine as plans take shape for Sunderland’s newest free festival.

It’s been announced that comedy for kids will be added to the line-up for Summer Streets, which will be held in Thompson Park, Southwick, on July 19.

The free programme has been organised by The Futureheads’ Ross Millard, on behalf of The Cultural Spring, a £2million Arts Council-funded project bringing arts and culture to five wards in Sunderland and five in South Tyneside.

“Summer Streets will be a fantastic music festival, catering for all types of musical tastes, but we wanted to make sure it will also be a proper family event so we thought it important that part of our programme was for children,” explained Ross.

“Our children’s comedian, Lee Kyle, has plenty of experience working with young people and I’m sure he’ll be a big hit in our children’s tepee,” he added.

Jarrow-born Lee is delighted to have been asked to perform at Summer Streets and is thoroughly looking forward to the event: “Children can be a tough audience, but my children’s shows are always great fun and I’m sure everyone – children and adults – will enjoy my Summer Streets show.

“There’s never a dull moment at a children’s show and you never know what direction they’ll take you. They’ll tell you exactly what they think, so they are very honest and keep you honest.

“I still do a lot of stand-up for adults, but I’m doing more and more children’s comedy and I love it.”

Lee performs mainly in the region, particularly at The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle, but has recently returned from a gig in Bahrain and performed at several shows at last year’s Edinburgh Festival.

Musical performers at Summer Streets will range from nationally-recognised acts such as The Lake Poets, played recently on Radios 1 and 2, through to local hip-hop, bluegrass, and jazz groups to Sunderland folk-rock band, Lilliput.

Local folk singer and historian Keith Gregson will play a song about the city with children from local primary schools, while Thornhill chemistry teacher Amer Sheikh will perform with his hip-hop group The Word. The group explores issues of race, class, politics and day-to-day living through rap.

The event will start with a musical procession from Southwick Primary School into the park at 1.30pm.