This year’s Summer Streets will have something a bit different for festival goers.
Not only will the popular free music festival have the usual eclectic mix of top-notch musical treats, but this year’s event will also include a programme of dance, circus and street theatre performances.
Summer Streets will be held on Saturday, July 13 in Cliffe Park, Seaburn, and has been organised once again by Ross Millard, from both The Futureheads and Frankie and the Heartstrings.
Ross explained: “One hugely successful element to last year’s Tall Ships visit was the performance programme delivered by Sunderland Culture.
“We thought it would be great to add a similar feel to this year’s festival so have developed an exciting programme with Sunderland Culture’s Head of Performance, Helen Green.”
So alongside Roxy Girls, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Paul Smith from Maximo Park and a brilliant array of local and regional musical talent, this year’s programme also features aerial artist Emma Bloomfield; the Bicycle Ballet group; street theatre performers The Fairly Famous Family and a silent disco with theatre group Wet Picnic.
“Emma Bloomfield is a brilliant Sunderland-based aerial artist who performed at the Tall Ships; Bicycle Ballet are an amazing group of cyclists who deliver highly-choreographed, formation cycling routines; The Fairly Famous Family are street performers who will interact with the Summer Streets audience, while Wet Picnic’s Club Shed performance will be unusual and inventive,” explained Helen.
Emma was one of the most popular acts to perform at last year’s Tall Ships visit.
Her training as an aerial artist began in 2009 when she completed a course at The Academy of Circus Arts, where she won the award for Best Aerial Act of the year.
A contract with Zippo’s Circus followed before, in 2011, she started teaching aerial skills.
She now teaches at three different venues while also organising student showcases.
In 2017, Emma completed a three-month professional aerial course at London’s Gravity Circus School.
She is also a member of Creative Seed, a carnival and performance organisation based in South Shields.
Emma will deliver three performances during Summer Streets.
The Bicycle Ballet Company creates exhilarating outdoor, formation dance performances on bikes.
The company delivers highly-choreographed performances, including a routine called Strictly Cycling, and aims to cross the boundaries of art, sport and health.
The Bicycle Ballet Company will also perform three times on July 13.
The Cumbrian-based Fairly Famous Family has been delivering outdoor performances for more than 30 years and will arrive on Wearside fresh from performing at Glastonbury.
The group has performed in prisons, war zones, football stadiums, village halls, trains, conferences and palaces – and the Eurovision Song Contest.
The street performers have built a reputation of hilarious interaction with their audiences and will deliver their Lifeguard routine, complete with Baywatch towers, during Summer Streets.
Wet Picnic is another street theatre group who will perform at Summer Streets, using slapstick and clever choreography to thrill their audiences.
“They have a range of performances they regularly produce, but for Summer Streets will be performing Club Shed, a unique take on a silent disco, that will be delivered in a marquee on the Cliffe Park site,” explained Helen.
“Our programme for Summer Streets will be fun, surprising and hopefully very enjoyable.
“We’ve brought together a varied and talented mix of performers that will give a new element to the festival – something very different,” she added.
Although the majority of musical performers will be from the region, the programme includes Aristas del Gremio, a Spanish brass/funk band.
Other talent from closer to home includes hip hop artist Kay Greyson; soul band Vandebilt; Gateshead singer songwriter Morris Ford and party band Hip Hop Hooray.
Young people from We Make Culture’s Young Songwriters’ group will also be performing.
Summer Streets has always been a family occasion and this year will be no exception.
Treats for younger festival goers will include Tiny Tweeties singing classes; a junkyard orchestra workshop from early-years arts group Chalk; kite making from Pauline Taylor and theatre-for-one shadow puppetry from Lyn Killeen.
There will be three stages delivering musical performances, and the festival will start at noon on July 13, finishing at 7pm.
The BBC’s Jeff Brown will compere the event and there will be food and drinks stalls and concessions.
Funding for Summer Streets has come from Arts Council England, Sunderland Music and Education Hub and Sunderland Culture, with in-kind support from The Cultural Spring.
Keep up to date with the latest Summer Streets news on Twitter @summerstreets_ or on Facebook @summerstreetsfestival