Festival on the Wall to Attract Major Local Rock Stars Back to the Region.

Festival on the Wall organiser Dale Mason


A festival celebrating the best of North East musicians will include special appearances by The Pet Shop Boys and The Libertines.

The Festival On the Wall is set to be the largest music festival ever held in the North East when it takes place at Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland later this summer.

Festival organiser, Dale Mason, said: “The Festival on the Wall is primarily a festival for the North East, created by the North East.”

“I’ve thought for some time that this amazing region needs a music festival to be proud of and what better location than the stunning Northumberland countryside, just a few miles from our world-famous landmark Hadrian’s Wall.”

The event will have a real regional feel with iconic band The Pet Shop Boys’ North Shields born front man Neil Tenant headlining the event.

He said: “We are looking forward to bringing our futuristic show to a wonderful historic area in the North East.”

Neil Tennant and the Pet Shop Boys will be headlining the event.

It will also be a homecoming for Libertines member Pete Doherty, who hails from Hexham.

Mr Mason said: “When planning our line up for the first year we were keen to showcase talent which emerged here in the North East and are thrilled to have secured the likes of The Libertines and Pet Shop Boys, which we hope will excite people in the region.”

Hexham born rocker Pete Doherty and the Libertines

Other confirmed artists playing over the weekend include Mark Ronson, Twin Atlantic, JP Cooper, MNEK, The Sherlocks, Calum Scott and North East rockers Maximo Park.

A wide range of support acts including up and coming bands from the region will also be performing.

Mr Mason said: “Our line up will have something for everyone, whatever their taste in music, and all will be revealed in full over the coming weeks and months, including our Sunday schedule which we are very excited about.”

BRIT and GRAMMY Award winning musician Mark Ronson

In addition to the music, the festival will offer a wide range of experiences for the festival goer.

Organisers insist they aim to ensure a level of service and care which is “different from other festivals”.

Mr Mason said: “There is no reason to drop standards just because a lot of people are on site.”

Festival on the Wall aims to be the happiest festival in the UK by maintaining the quality enjoyed in everyday life and giving visitors every option possible for an enjoyable weekend, from really great food, to easy ways to charge your phone, straighten your hair, have a hot shower or camp in comfort with striking views.”

A key attraction will be the hot tub sanctuary.

Revellers will have opportunity to recover ‘from the night before’ in the onsite spa where they can enjoy a range of treatments, relaxation classes and healthy foods and juices.

A roller disco, witchcraft woods and cinema are just some of the other attractions at the festival.

If you want to try your hand at putting on your own performance you can sing along in one of a number of on site Karaoke Caravans.

Festival goers can also enjoy light and fire shows, a whole host of entertainers or even experience dining out on the ‘Sky Platform’, suspended high above the main stage.

Regular festival goer Amanda Hanvey, 33, is excited by the  prospect of of such a large event coming to the region.

Miss Hanvey, of Winlaton, Newcastle, said: “Myself and my boyfriend always go to a music festival every summer.”

“In the last couple of years we have been traveling across to Kendal Calling. It is brilliant to have such an event on our doorstep.

“I have already bought tickets for us to go.”

Amanda Hanvey has already purchased tickets for the upcoming event.

Festival on the Wall has been welcomed by Northumberland County Council and Northumberland Tourism for its expected boost to visitor numbers and the local economy, with thousands of music fans set to visit during the weekend.

Councillor Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “This is fantastic news for the county and the latest event to put Northumberland in the national spotlight as a go-to destination.”

As well as additional money being brought into the region by visitors, the event will also provide temporary employment for young people from the region who are involved in organising, promoting and showcasing the event.

Mr Davey said:”Not only will thousands of people be flocking to our region, there will also be an enormous financial spin-off locally, from our many suppliers to businesses helping with the infrastructure.”

“It really is another great coup for the county.”

Visitors can choose to either camp onsite or return to the festival at the start of each day.

For those wanting a little more comfort, VIP tickets are available as well as luxury camping yurts and overnight spaces for campervans and caravans.

The event is to be held on 35 acres of private farmland in the beautiful Northumberland Countryside and can be accessed from the A69.

Councillor Grant Davey and festival organiser Dale Mason at the site of the festival


With 35,000 tickets up for grabs, organisers hope the festival will become an annual event.

Tickets have already gone on sale with a student discounted price of £150 for standard tickets and £320 for a VIP package.

In keeping with the festival’s ethos of care and sustainability, £10 from every ticket purchased will go towards UNICEF UK to help enable the worlds largest leading children’s charity to continue their vital work.

Use the link below to find out more about the festival, including VIP packages and how to purchase tickets.






from Tside

Multimillion Pound Development Project Earmarked for Beamish Museum

Development plan showing what the 1950’s town will look like.

Beamish Museum has announced multimillion  plans for a redevelopment project to attract more visitors and help dementia sufferers in the region.

Funded by £11.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Remaking of Beamish project will focus around the development of a new 1950s town.

And it is hoped the 1950s town will help people with dementia as they relive their childhood memories.

Another £6.5m will be raised by the museum to help fund  a fully functional 19th Century coaching house.

Work will start on the the combined £18m  plans at the end of the summer and attractions will be gradually opened to the public with full completion of the project by the end of 2020.

It is hoped that the development will attract an additional 100,000 visitors to the award winning museum.

Julie Wilson, the museum’s Communications Team Leader, said: “This will be the largest new development of Beamish since it opened in 1971. It really will bring the museum into a new era.”

Beamish ‘Communications Team Leader’, Julie Wilson.

Project manager Nick Butterley, 34, feels the new development will secure the future of the popular North East attraction.

He said: “The importance of this development is huge. It will have a transforming effect on the museum.”

‘Remaking Beamish’ project manager Nick Butterley.

The 1950s town will return Beamish to the living memory of its older generation of visitors.

Mrs Wilson said: “When we originally opened in 1971 the museum focused on the Edwardian period, which was still in the memory of our older visitors.”

“Ensuring the museum maintained this concept was an important principle behind this new development.”

Mr Butterley believes providing an attraction within the living memory of its customers has always been important in the museums success.

He said: “Living memory is absolutely vital. For older visitors to be able to go around with younger relatives and be able to say ‘this is how it was in my childhood’, is absolutely fantastic.”

Anfield Plain resident Les Masonby is a volunteer tram driver at the museum.

He believes the chance for people to return to their childhood is something which will be a massive attraction for older visitors.

He said: “I was born in 1948. The new development will take me back to the time I was growing up.”

” I used to shop in the Co Op which is being brought into the street as part of the development.

” It will be a nostalgic trip back in time for me and visitors of my age.”

Tram Driver Les Masonby is looking forward to the new development

The museum hopes the new development will not only allow the opportunity for older generations to reminisce but will also provide a positive experience for people in the region who may be living with dementia.

The museum intends to use the miners cottages as a weekly meeting place in which people with dementia can come together.

Mr Butterley said: “There is a real gap in the provision of care and entertainment for older people. We hope we are able to help that need.”

“We will provide a meeting place for people to come, which creates a feeling of comfort and relaxation in an environment which is familiar.

“Even if people don’t recall being here, it will hopefully create positive feelings which allows them to go away feeling better in themselves.”

The New 1950s town will be located close to the current Edwardian High Street.

The end of the Edwardian Main Street looking towards the site of the new 1950’s town.


A range of familiar local attractions are included as part of the plan for the town:

  • The former ‘Grand Electric Cinema’ from Rhyope in Sunderland.
  • Miners cottages originally from ‘Marsden Road’ in South Shields.
  • ‘John’s Cafe’ of Wingate in County Durham.
  • Billingham Bowling Club green and pavilion.
  • Fish and Chip Shop from Middleton-St-George.
  • And Heworth Police station.

Rhyope Grand Electric Cinema in its 1950’s heyday

‘Johnny’ arrived in Wingate as an Italian immigrant. He started his business selling ice creams before opening ‘John’s Cafe’. As well as selling traditional English food he also offered Italian dishes from his homeland.

The town will be a working environment providing an interactive experience for customers.

Mr Butterley said: “During the day, the cinema will show news reels and old cartoons while on an evening visitors will be able to watch classic period movies.”

“We know people like to eat and drink when at Beamish so we chose the fish and chip shop as this was the most popular take away food in the 1950s.

“It will allow visitors to sample fish and chips prepared in the ‘old fashioned way.

“We decided to focus on Middlesbrough when choosing the different shops to go on the Main Street.

“Researchers went into the town to get peoples’ opinion and in the end the most popular vote was for the toy shop.”

The development will also include the construction of an 1820s coaching inn which will enable visitors to stay at the museum overnight.

Mr Butterley said: “The coaching inn is going to have rooms to hire out. These inns were real social melting pots of the time.”

“Being able to experience an authentic atmosphere and sample the food and drink should be an enriching experience for guests.”


Site location where the coaching inn is to be built.


The  project is expected to bring much needed employment and investment.

Mr Butterley said: “The expansion should create positions for 95 more staff and the construction process will also create jobs for people in the local area. ”

“We expect contracts to be gobbled up by local tradesman and craftsmen which will ensure money stays within the region.”

The museum hopes to attract over three quarters of million tourists each year and to strengthen its “special relationship” with the region.

Mr Butterley said: “The museum is  really special for so many people.”

“To add more experiences supporting the heritage of the local area whilst at the  same time allowing us to reach new audiences and bring more people into the region is a really great development.

“It’s going to be a great project which will really make a difference.”








from Tside

What is the millennial marriage movement and what does it mean?

– google image –

Millennials. Enough said, right? There’s always something with our generation to suggest we’re just not quite living life right!

Before I dive right in I’m going to throw in a little disclaimer; I promise this isn’t a hard-done-by, our-generation-is-treat-so- unfairly kind of verbal explosion.

Just exploring change through curiosity. It came to my attention this winter after I saw the 200th engagement post plastered on Facebook  that while I see a lot of rings and proposals, I don’t see an awful lot of weddings.

Boston Globe columnist, Tom Keane, expressed his worry that marriage is slowly dying because millennials aren’t marrying until they feel that they’re well established in their lives.

That marriage is now an afterthought for young adults and the institution once considered the foundation for life has suffered demotion. Stating that:

“Not getting married at all could prove tragic.”

Really? Tragic? Something still felt amiss so I conducted my own survey. The results showed that the marriage age is rising but people do still value marriage and most do want to be married at some point in their life.

Data results collected via an online survey of 100 people - by Francesca Ahmed, Teesside University

Data results collected via an online survey of 100 people – by Francesca Ahmed, Teesside University

Results from the online survey also showed that the majority could predict the right age categories with 65% stating 25-30 and 19% stating 30-35 for the average age at which people marry now.

With 64% saying that this and the decline in marriage rates does not matter. Stating reasons such as: “Marriage is a personal choice; the same commitment can still be found between couples that cohabit”.

So why the change? Why is our generation so much more different from the others?

The truth is most young people do want to marry per the survey, but they’re not willing to go into marriage as eagerly and blindly as previous generations.

So, I spoke to some couples across the age categories at varying relationship lengths to see how the opinions differ following my research results.

Left - Right: Nick Martin, 25 and partner Liam Matthews, 22

Left – Right: Nick Martin, 25 and partner Liam Matthews, 22

Liam Matthews, 22, a barista from Middlesbrough, said: “I personally don’t like the idea of being married.”

Liam has been with his partner, Nick, 25, since the September of 2013.

He said: “I believe the dramatic decline in marriage is due to the amount it costs.”

“Also with the dramatic incline of house prices it’s difficult for couples to save up for a home never mind paying for a wedding.”

Liam and Nick are currently both living with their parents and saving up in hope of being able to afford their own home by the summer.

Completely unsurprised by the rising marriage age, Liam explains how living costs changing seems like the main factor.

The most recently published data stated that from 2001 the age of marriage has risen in both men and women. For men, the average age rose from 26 to 33 and for women 24 to 30.

Liam said: “In your 30’s, you kind of hope you’ve got your life together, have a good stable job, a house under the belt and usually a decent car. So, the appropriate thing to follow would be a wedding. Whereas for younger people I think a wedding is nearing on impossible.”

Left - Right: Liam Matthews, 22 and partner Nick Martin, 25

Left – Right: Liam Matthews, 22 and partner Nick Martin, 25

Liam is a strong-minded man and doesn’t hold back when asked about his reasons for not wanting to marry.

“I think it’s expensive and pointless.” He says boldly.

“My love doesn’t need to be proven by law and that’s all I think marriage is.

“Also, I hate what it’s called for gay couples, civil partnership sounds awful and completely un-romantic.

“I’ve never felt pressured into moving in with Nick.

“A lot of my friends live with their partners but that doesn’t make me feel pressured to move in with him.

“I’m jealous of them for being able to afford it but that’s it.

“I’m more of a right time and right place kind of guy and don’t look too far into the future so planning to move into a house is far too big of a task for me to think about.”

Above: Geoff and Tracy Walker of Middlesbrough, married nearly 12 years

Above: Geoff and Tracy Walker of Middlesbrough, married nearly 12 years

Tracy Walker, 44  and her husband Geoff, 53, have been married for nearly 12 years.

She said: “Tradition has gone out of the window.”

“Women are having children far younger and often more children to other men – myself included so not judging.

“But religion and cultures  are also playing their part.”

Most millennials who expressed their opinions in the online survey said they felt marriage provides greater financial security but the cost of a wedding itself was a major concern for them.

Tracy said: “Finance was not a factor in our decision to marry. Despite Geoff having been married previously, marriage was probably most important to me.

“To me it represented security and stability for myself and my children.

“My mam has been married on three occasions, settled for less and I vowed to myself that I would marry once – forever.”

But she did express concerns for how easy it is for people to divorce these days, and how insignificant it seems.

Divorce has become such a normality with high profile celebrities’ marriage woes splashed all over the internet.

Tracy said: “People no longer work at marriage. It’s no big deal to be divorced or married several times.”

With the number of people choosing to wed each year declining, wedding costs rising and so many high-profile divorces circulating in the media, it can be easy to adopt a pessimistic attitude towards marriage.

Tracy said: “There are very few roles models for marriage these days.”

“I would like to think that my marriage proves that it is an institution and needs to be valued as such.

“When I took my vows, I meant every single word of them.”

Left - Right: Daniel Magson, 22 and partner Brian Knights, 32

Left – Right: Daniel Magson, 22 and partner Brian Knights, 32

Brian Knights, 32, dance teacher and choreographer, met his partner Daniel, 22, when they were both asked to be backing dancers for some local dance gigs in and around Teesside.

Currently living together, Brian  feels less people are choosing to marry because they’re “scared of that commitment.”

He said: “I guess no one wants to say their marriage failed or even worse marriages failed.”

“If it doesn’t work just get a divorce.

“Maybe with people having the option to divorce so easily is the reason people are not fussed to jump in head first without truly getting to know that person.

“I think how are you to know that this is the person for you if you haven’t lived together under the same roof? You learn more about a person by living with them.

“I’m quite a tidy freak where Daniel is more laid back and will gladly leave mess here and there, it drives me mad sometimes

“It’s these types of things that really test a relationship and being able to meet each other half way so you’re not forced to become something or someone you’re not.”

Data results collected via an online survey of 100 people - by Francesca Ahmed, Teesside University

Data results collected via an online survey of 100 people – by Francesca Ahmed, Teesside University

From the data, collected in the online survey, the younger generation still has a value for marriage and most hoped that it would be a part of their lives – just a little later in life than previous generations.

Most used phrases such as: “Grandparents and parents showing it’s possible to love and live with each other.”

“People can live how they wish so long as they are happy”

  Some people felt that the declining rate of marriage may be a good thing as it shows people are waiting longer in their relationships before tying the knot.

This decline could be the beginning of a generation free to choose which model of marriage we’d like based on our age, financial position, inclination for parentage and sexuality – rather than just for a ‘white wedding’ and the sake of tradition.

from Tside

Behind the scenes of an unstoppable teen’s fitness venture

Amy Simpson, 19: at A.S.Fitness studio in Normanby

Amy Simpson, 19: at A.S.Fitness studio in Normanby

It’s 10:30am on a freezing cold Monday morning and I’m scraping the winter ice from my newly ice-popped-mini.

Today I’m meeting one of Middlesbrough’s youngest Fitness entrepreneurs, Amy Simpson. As soon as I hop into my car for the journey; I know it’s going to be one of those mornings where I need my heating on full blast.

I’ll be meeting Miss Simpson at her very own fitness studio in the heart of Normanby.

So here I am driving down the high street, singing along to Eric Prydz ‘Call on me’ in my car – feeling very much like I should be in my own fitness video.

On my left I spot the big monochrome ‘AMY SIMPSON FITNESS’ sign attached to the head of a tremendous dark gate at the first high-street unit.

So, I pull up just around the corner and head towards the building. There’s just one problem: I can’t find the entrance. And Amy is nowhere to be seen. Luckily, with all these huge Amy Simpson Fitness boards around it doesn’t take me long to get in touch for some further direction.

“Frankie!”: I hear my name called out behind me.

“Up here!” she shouted down from the top of the stairs of a building just tucked away around the corner.

Amy Simpson, 19: at A.S.Fitness studio in Normanby

Amy Simpson, 19: at A.S.Fitness studio in Normanby

She has the friendliest smile and laughs at me and my apparent lack of direction as I shoot to the staircase – a perfect ice-breaker this frosty morning.

“I really should have more signs up near the steps, people always get confused here” she laughs as I follow her up the dark railed stairs. I can’t help but joke about how desperately I wouldn’t want to be walking down them with jelly legs after one of her sessions.

Just like any other 19 -year -old, Amy has a lovely warm personality, offering me a seat at her desk.

I instantly feel welcome in her studio as I glance around the industrial décor – “this is so crazy” I tell her. “This is an incredible achievement, especially for someone so young”.

Clearly, a confident young woman, Amy smiles proudly while looking around the room which is now the heart of her business.

If you’re yet to read about Amy in your local paper or see her Facebook posts in your suggestions, let me fill you in very quickly…

Amy is not your average 19-year-old. While she might look like your typical bubbly, outgoing young lady – Amy is already making her mark as an entrepreneur.

Her fitness business has taken off in the last two years after launching the business at just 17 years old.

Now in her own studio, with purchasable uniforms and a wealth of clients; this unstoppable teen is proving you don’t need a degree to be a savvy business woman.

“I’ve always loved sports, I was a really active child” she tells me while sharing primary school memories.

“Believe it or not I used to be a dancer, a real girly-girl.”

She laughs while thinking about those times. Explaining to me that she took Ballet lessons among other dance classes with a local school.


Amy Simpson, 19: at A.S.Fitness studio in Normanby

Amy Simpson, 19: at A.S.Fitness studio in Normanby

Until a football coach came to her primary – “I loved it, I told my dad that night that I wanted to start playing football because I had had that much fun” her assertiveness is there in her voice.

“I did both for a little while, but the times always clashed and I had to choose.

My dad actually bought me a £5 pair of football boots, Umbro ones!” stopping in fits of laughter.

“He said I could have proper boots once he knew I was going to stick it out.

And I did, I still play for my team now” counting out on her fingers the years she’s been playing now. 11 years, from aged 8 until present. “I’m the Captain of team. I’ve always enjoyed being a leader.”

She was working part-time for a fitness company alongside her college qualifications when she came to realise she wanted to earn for herself.

“When you work for a company like that you give 50% of your earnings to them. So, say I did an hour for £25, I’d be giving £12.50 to them.

I just thought – I would rather make money for myself and do it myself than work for someone else and have to give up my money.” She says, amused.

Constantly laughing to herself throughout our little meeting, her friendly character and excellent sense of humour warms the chilly studio as the winter frost sets on the large windows.

“That’s something I think that made me realise I wanted to do it for myself. I don’t want to earn money and then give half of it away” – just like everyone else! “It costs me a bit more with the rent and bills, but it’s going to be worth it in the end”.

Amy Simpson, 19: at A.S.Fitness studio in Normanby

Amy Simpson, 19: at A.S.Fitness studio in Normanby

Gaining so much confidence through her college tutors and the opportunities, her permanent smile is that of someone thoroughly enjoying life.

“I can’t thank my tutor enough, Rich put me forward for so many things.

I took everything he said on board. He even had me leading fitness classes for a group called Skinny-Pigs” she tells me.

Of course, at 16, when you’re standing in front of 40 people who’ve been led by a ‘qualified’ fitness instructor there are bound to be a few nerves in your system. “It’s SO INTIMIDATING!” she stresses.

“There’s me, at 16, with 40 people looking at me, expecting me to lead the whole session and I’m stood thinking ‘Oh God’” she laughs.

It’s so refreshing to be around someone who is doing so well for themselves and still maintains a humble character.

She glances around the room at all the fitness equipment; “even my first session, before I had my own place, I don’t think I gave it my all because I was nervous.”

“I’ve had a lot of support” she states.

Always knowing she didn’t want to attend university, Amy wanted to pursue a more practical and enjoyable route into fitness and personal training.

Family still in shock, Amy tells me that her mom really wanted her to go to Uni and not just go straight for the Level 2 qualification with Middlesbrough college.

“I think she thought I was doing it as an ‘easy option’. As if I was taking the lazy choice because I knew I could do it. But I wanted to do it because I didn’t want to waste three years at Uni, and then start the course I wanted to do”.

Still in shock, Amy says her mum and dad can’t quite believe just how much she’s achieved through her hard work and determination.

Squeezing family time and a social life into such a fast pace lifestyle, how does she do it? “It’s a struggle sometimes, like some days It’s a 12-hour day not including my lunch break.”

“I’m willing to do the hours though, I love my job and I love my clients, they really cater for me as well.

“I’ve had people ask for late morning personal training instead of 6am starts because they know I’ve been teaching late the night before, our rapport is really good.”

In the future Amy, would love to expand her business, forever wanting to improve herself and her achievements.

There is always something to be striving for, whether it’s a football trophy, helping a client achieve their goals or even pursuing extra qualifications.

Amy is currently cooking up some ideas for the future where she can expand her business.

“In five years, I’d love to have an apprentice. That would be something I’d definitely be interested in”.

Currently with over 30 personal training clients and 8 fitness classes; superwoman Amy is running around 75 sessions per week – but feeds off the feelings her clients get when they can see the results and tell her how much fitter they feel.

Amy Simpson, 19: at A.S.Fitness studio in Normanby

Amy Simpson, 19: at A.S.Fitness studio in Normanby

Amy says that anyone who wants to achieve just needs to “Bite the bullet” – because you can’t let self-doubt keep you from doing what you want to do with your life.”

“If you don’t try you will never know how things could turn out – even if things don’t work out, you can work around it.

“I had a rough patch when I didn’t have a set location where I’d lose clients that week, but I made notes and I’d plan my next session around what people were enjoying.”

Amy has all the motivation and determination needed to be a success and has a very bright future ahead of her on this fitness adventure.



  1. Enjoy what you do – there’s no point running if you hate it because you won’t stick at it. Pick something you’re excited about.
  2. Don’t cut your social life – you’ll resent your diet if you don’t go to that meal out with your friends. So, go and pick a healthier option if you want!
  3. Don’t Kill yourself over a chocolate bar – It’s don’t now. 1 chocolate bar won’t make you fat just like 1 salad won’t make you skinny.
  4. Throw away your scales! – I was told I was overweight by my doctor over the phone. I know I’m not so I asked my clients if they thought I looked overweight. Muscle is heavy!

from Tside