It’s that time of year again. The sun is barely warming the ground and the rain is still lashing down for most weekends. SO, yes that will be the British summer and the Festival Season. We like to take it a little easier and stroll along to the South Tyneside Festival at Bents Park. Which is where we saw KT Tunstall.
South Tyneside Festival
The South Tyneside Festival host a live open air concert over 4 Sundays in July. This years headliners are KT Tunstall, Busted, Louisa Johnson and Sister Sledge. Each with selection of supporting artists. Last year we saw the Proclaimers in Bents Park at the Festival. This year there is a little bit of extra detailing. Although the Live concert is free to attend, last year the event became so popular that it reached capacity. So this year you can purchase a priority entry ticket for £5. This gives you early access and guaranteed entry.
Last year we queued on the perimeter of Bents park around the corner from the North West gates, only to realise that the queue we were in lead all the way to the North East corner. With arms laden with foldy out chairs and festive beverages it was hard work. This year Catherine’s Mam went straight online and book tickets for KT Tunstall and for next weeks Busted.
We were also spoilt with a hamper full of snacks and sandwiches. Much more variety than we had at the bloggers meet up a few weeks earlier. Smoked Salmon and cream cheese, Brie in a Ciabatta bun, ham and chicken. If she was opening a restaurant we’d have wrote a good review.
Even the kids sandwiches were de-crusted! They be spoiled rotten!
I was settled nicely in our camping chairs, which we’d pitched up about half way back from the stage. The first artist was Charlotte Yanni.
The French singer / songwriter started off with an acapella version of french song. I’ll be totally honest and say that I can’t remember the title of it and if I guessed I’d probably come off looking worse. What I can say is that her french accent had since blended into a local Geordie twang since she’s moved over here.
Big Red and the Grinners
I continued to munch through our hamper of snacks. Anna Foster came on and introduced the next act. Big Red and the Grinners. I’ll be totally honest and say that I wasn’t expecting much. Five guys warming up the crowd before KT came on. I was so wrong. What came off the stage for the next 20 minutes was absolute genius.
Big Red (lead singer / guitarist): we’d like to play a little song written by my ole Granpappy, back in the day.
This turned out to be Pump Up the Jam by Technotronic, but performed hillbilly style. The song style is very much like Hayseed Dixie. Next up was “Walk this Way” by Aerosmith. I was that impressed by the band that I climbed out of my foldy chair and headed down to the front for a photo. The band was full of energy, with a nice humour in it’s delivery. Catherine’s Dad loved it that much he went over to buy the CD and T-Shirt (which sold out on the day). It was a refreshing burst that really did warm up the crowd.
It was at the merch stall that the illusion was broken. Big Red talked the talk on stage and reminised about Louisiani with his southern drawl. Turns out he’s a local lad with a local band. Which to me grounds the concept, but then raises it up a level. Creating a band, but then building it into an act with a back story is brilliant. Well done lads. I’d love to book you for my 40th, when I get a venue sorted.
I remember when I used to buy CDs. There was a time when I bought them every week, then there was a time when it was special ones occasionally. KT Tunstall’s Eye to the Telescope was one of these specially selected ones. It was an album that stood out at that moment of time. This was the first time I’d seen her live.
KT was on stage with a backing band, but one of the highlights of her set was “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”. For two reasons, firstly I haven’t bought much music since that album, but secondly she played it alone. The band had left for a break and she played it with the use of a loop pedal. By starting off adding the “woo hoo” on loop, the song was built up from here.
Last song of the gig was “Suddenly I see”. A beautiful upbeat track to leave with that feel good factor. Imogen refused to dance, but Abigail was up for it.
The South Tyneside Festival in Bents Park continues on through out July with 3 more Sunday headliners. If you fancy going down, it is seriously worth the £5 priority ticket to avoid the queue and stress.
Also don’t forget that the South Tyneside Comedy Festival is also on at the Customs House.