PICTURES: Bedlington was alive with the sound of music

Picture by Jason Thompson
Picture by Jason Thompson

More than 6,500 people crammed into Gallagher Park in Bedlington yesterday to see local bands and international pop stars from the 1980s.

Headlining the event were chart-toppers Johnny Hates Jazz – aka Clark Datchler and Mike Nocito – who belted out hit after hit including Turn Back the Clock, I Don’t Want To Be a Hero and the crowd-pleaser Shattered Dreams.

Johnny Hates Jazz at Northumberland Live at Bedlington. Picture by Jason Thompson

Johnny Hates Jazz at Northumberland Live at Bedlington. Picture by Jason Thompson

Also wooing the audience were Salsa kings, Modern Romance, who got everyone up on their feet and partying along in the spirit of the occasion. They even got the crowd to conga around Gallagher Park to hits like Everybody Salsa, Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey and High Life.

Northumberland Live in Bedlington was supported by Northumberland County Council and BBC Newcastle 95.4FM Digital.

Coun Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying the sunshine and music in Gallagher Park. Northumberland Live at Bedlington was a terrific success, and there was a real family atmosphere throughout the day.

“I would like to thank everybody who worked so tirelessly to make Northumberland Live such a success; from the many volunteers, the bands, BBC Newcastle and most of all the thousands of people who turned out to support the festival. I’m lucky enough to attend a variety of events in my role with the county council, but it was extra-special to see such a fabulous showcase right on my doorstep.”

Picture by Jason Thompson

Picture by Jason Thompson

Supporting Johnny Hates Jazz and Modern Romance were Alistair James (Middlesbrough); The Sleeze Sisters (Bedlington); Anth Purdy (Blyth); Edenthorn (Durham); Channy Thompson (Newcastle); and The Voluntears (Newcastle).

People could also enjoy a host of other attractions including a fun fair, sporting events, food and craft stalls from local traders, street theatre, a bubbleologist, face-painting and even a seven-a-side football tournament.

Northumberland Live at Bedlington worked closely with local charity, Leading Link – which aims to provide young people with real life opportunities, including business and enterprise, through a diverse range of activities, with their focus being to help maximise the potential of young people across the North East.

The group helped out and volunteered their time throughout the whole festival, ranging from promoting the event locally to residents, through to their Youth Ambassadors being ever present on the day to ensure the audience had the best experience possible.

Modern Romance performing at Northumberland Live at Bedlington in Gallagher Park. Picture by Jason Thompson

Modern Romance performing at Northumberland Live at Bedlington in Gallagher Park. Picture by Jason Thompson

They even organised their own talent show, Northumberland’s Got Talent! The final took place onstage at Northumberland Live with the winner being Kyla Swann, 11, who performed a dance routine.

One local resident who brought her friends and family down to enjoy Northumberland Live at Bedlington was Elaine Wylie. The 49-year-old medical secretary at Wansbeck General Hospital attended the free festival with her daughter Neve, friend Helen and dog, Harris.

She said: “The festival had a really good atmosphere, with families and people of all ages just enjoying themselves. We never have anything like this in Bedlington – it’s good for the town. There were young kids and pensioners all dancing in the field together. The space at Gallagher Park is great for this kind of event. We would definitely come back next year.”

People can relive the events of Northumberland Live at Bedlington by visiting the Festival’s social-media pages www.facebook.com/NorthumberlandliveBedlington16 or on Twitter @NlandLiveFest.

Bedlington's very own glam-rockers The Sleeze Sisters. Picture by Jason Thompson

Bedlington's very own glam-rockers The Sleeze Sisters. Picture by Jason Thompson

Clark Datchler, lead singer with Johnny Hates Jazz, said: “I always love performing in this neck of the woods. It can be very inspiring. It was a great location for a festival with the crowd being good-natured; and they sang their hearts out to every song.”

Andy Kyriacou, lead singer with Modern Romance, added: “Everyone was really friendly. I went into the audience after the gig and people were introducing me to their family and generally having a good time. We would love to come back to Bedlington again sometime, as you made us feel so welcome.”