One of the North East’s biggest summer festivals is drumming up community spirit by inviting the public to join the parade.
The This Is South Tyneside Festival is set to return on Saturday 1 July with the annual Summer Parade getting proceedings off to a spectacular start.
But this year all those taking part will be marching to a new beat – courtesy of a band playing a wide range of percussion instruments, from a bass marimba xylophone to a Chinese tam tam gong.
And organiser Brendan Murphy – who has more than 20 years’ experience of percussion – is calling on anyone who would like to take part to attend a taster day at Temple Park Leisure Centre, South Shields, on Saturday 3 June from 2pm to 5pm.
Those who decide to join the band will then be called to rehearsals at the Leisure Centre on Thursday 15 and 22 June between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, Sunday 18 and 25 from 2pm to 5pm and Wednesday 28 June from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
The parade – which this year has a coastal theme as 2023 has been designated Year of the Coast – will leave South Shields Town Hall before making its way down to Bents Park on the seafront, where the entertainment continues with a family fun day.
Cllr John McCabe, Mayor of South Tyneside, believes the Parade “really showcases the superb community spirit that exists throughout South Tyneside.
“It’s always huge fun and gets the festival off to a fantastic start,” he said said, “and what better way to take part than in the percussion band?”
“There will be all kinds of instruments including unusual ones such as the Indonesian angklung – made from bamboo pipes, so I hope as many people as possible will come along.”
The Parade and family fun day kick start a packed weekend of entertainment, which also includes street performances at Sandhaven Amphitheatre and along the Promenade on Sunday 2 July, followed by the traditional Proms in the Park afternoon.
And this year the popular Sunday concerts in Bents Park will feature The Vamps, Jason Donovan, Bjorn Again and Boyzlife on four consecutive Sundays.
The This Is South Tyneside Festival is supported by a wide range of sponsors, including Port of Tyne, Minchella & Co, Colmans, Ramside Event Catering, Ocean Beach Pleasure Beach and Metro Radio and Greatest Hits.
The Sunday concerts are free, although priority tickets are available at £6 each which give early access and can be bought at Ticketmaster or Shop @ The Word.
Further details are available at www.southtynesidefestival.co.uk or follow South Tyneside Events on social media: Facebook (South Tyneside Events) and on Twitter @STynesideEvents.