Shields Gazette, August 29, 1981

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Shields Gazette
  • 1981 August 29

UK & Ireland newspapers


Make Tyneside rock!

With 15 groups and a galaxy of stars

Fraser Massey

Today is the big day that Tyneside rock fans have been dreaming of.

It marks the beginning of the first ever major rock festival to be staged in the North-East.

While the promoters pray for sunshine to bring in the crowds — and possibly people living near Gateshead Stadium invest in a pair of earplugs or prepare to spend the weekend away — local fans can count themselves lucky.

Fifteen bands will be performing over the two days of the Rock on the Tyne festiva1.

And summer time is normally such an entertainment black spot for rock fans, as the big local venues and the colleges dose clown for a seasonal break.

All of which makes it a little surprising that the festiva1 organizers are showing some concern the weather.

"I think if the sun shines over the weekend, then we should have no trouble packing the place," says promoter Barry McKay.

"We would probably be all right even without the good weather, but festivals are so much more enjoyable if the sun shines.

"There would be no danger of the festival being cancelled if it did rain. We are putting up a huge Hollywood Bowl type stage — which means that the electrics — and the performers will be all right.

"Also a fair number of the crowd will be under cover."

There is a feeling in the music business that the promoters may have blundered in staging the festival on the same weekend as the Reading Festival — Britain's only regular major rock festival.

"I don't think that is true," says Barry McKay.

"Reading does not worry us. I've looked at the bill they have and I don't think it compares with ours.

"We have put together a list of artists that we know will appeal to local people."

Joint bill-toppers tonight are Ian Dury and Elvis Costello. For Ian Dury it is clearly an important time. He is no longer the major act he was a year or two ago.

His new single, Spasticus Artisticus, is unlikely to fare any better than his last – Superman’s Big Sister.

And if he is to be re-established as a big attraction he will have to start soon – and here’s his big chance.

For Elvis Costello though it is a different story. It seems he can do little wrong at the moment.

Even when he turns his hand to producing instead of performing – as he did recently on Squeeze’s East Side Story album, he still seems to make the charts.

And if reports of his recent festival appearances in Europe are accurate then he and his band, the Attractions, are really in top form at the moment.

Special guests on today’s bill are rockabilly stars, the Polecats.

The promoters had their first major disappointment when Pauline Murray withdrew from the festival through ill health.

She has been replaced by Beckett – a famed Tyneside band of the early ‘70s, who have just been reformed by vocalist Terry Wilson Slessor. Today’s line-up at the festival is completed by Doll by Doll, U-2 and Huang Chung.

SUNDAY is opened by South Shields own heavy metal heroes, Fist, who broke off specially from a busy touring schedule to come home for the festival.

Latest North-East hit makers, Busker, have also been added to the bill.

But Sunday’s stars are Rory Gallagher, Dr Feelgood and of course, Lindisfarne.

Rory has long been a firm favourite on Tyneside and will be bringing his new band – featuring drummer Bridie O’Neill – North for the first time.

The Feelgoods too have a new man in their ranks this time. He is guitarist Johnny Guitar. The band will be flying in specially from Scandinavia to play the festival.

Lindisfarne, of course, made their name as a festival band and will be playing on home ground.

They alone drew 27,000 fans to a series of Christmas concerts at Newcastle’s City Hall last year and will be one of the biggest crowd pullers for Rock on the Tyne.

Also appearing on Sunday will be Ginger Baker’s new outfit, Ginger’s Nutters, heavy metallers, Diamond Head and stars of London’s alternative cabaret circuit, Trimmer and Jenkins.

Cross your fingers that all goes well and that we can enjoy another Rock on the Tyne Festival next year.


The Shields Gazette, Weekender, August 29, 1981

Fraser Massey previews Rock On The Tyne, Saturday, August 29, 1981, International Stadium, Gateshead, England.


1981-08-29 Shields Gazette clipping 01.jpg


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