Hot event just days away

One of the hottest events of the summer is just days away.

The Festival by the Sea – presented by the North East Chilli Fest – unleashes its mix of food, drink, music and entertainment at 5pm on Friday and the party lasts until Sunday evening.

This is the eighth year of the festival and the second time it has taken place at Meggies Burn Fields in Blyth. It is one of the North East’s longest-running summer events and, with around 15,000 people expected, one of the biggest.Crowds at the 2019 Festival by the Sea

Organiser Mark Deakin said: “Every year we add new elements to festival.  This year, for example, we’re introducing a Hot Tub Chill Out zone – which has three hot tubs as well as two saunas – where you can relax, have a drink and listen to some of the fantastic live music.”

The soundtrack to the three days is provided by the Peroni DJ garden and bands and singers on the main stage where, on Friday night, there will be a face familiar to fans of late 70s and 80s music.  Neville Staple was a singer with The Specials who were responsible for two of most memorable songs of the time – Too Much Too Young and Ghost Town. He then went on to form Fun Boy Three with Terry Hall and Lynval Golding. The Neville Staple Band will be on stage at 9.30.

Over the years the festival has featured up-and-coming and established artists from the North East.  The highly successful and hugely popular Smoove and Turrell will be bringing their British soul and funk sound to The Festival by the Sea on Saturday evening.

By Friday, Meggies Burn Fields will be transformed into a stunning festival site featuring marquees for exhibitors and performers, a producers’ market, beer and cocktail bars and street food.  There will also be areas set aside for children’s activities and arts and crafts.

“Last year is a hard act to follow but we’ve been working really hard to make this year’s Festival by the Sea even better,” said Mr Deakin.

“People come year after year because they enjoy the style of the festival, which is very laid back. Meggies Burn Fields is also a great location because there’s loads of space and you don’t feel like you’re sitting on top of each other.”

Although the event has evolved over the years, a celebration of all things Chilli is still very much at its heart – in particular, Rob Dumbrell’s Chilli Eating Competition – and this time it has become very, very serious.The pride and much pain experienced at Blyth's Festival by the Sea's chilli eating competition

“Our volunteer amateurs will be taking on one of the greatest and bravest competitive chilli eaters in history,” said Mark.

She is Shahina Zeenat Waseem from London who is undefeated in 50 competitions and rightfully known as the UK Chilli Queen.

“Some well-known faces from television are going to take her on,” said Mark.  “Let’s hope they’ve got the stomach for it.” The competition takes place on Saturday afternoon and will provide a fitting conclusion to the festival from about 6pm on Sunday.

“When we started the North East Chilli Fest in 2012 we never thought it would become what it is now.  There’s a great team working behind the scenes and they’re extremely proud of what they’ve achieved. Despite the quality of the event and the entertainment we’ve still managed to keep the price of tickets very low,” said Mark.

For more details visit the Festival by the Sea website


Enjoying The Festival by the Sea