The sounds of music will be echoing around Morpeth as a summer of fun and entertainment is lined up for shoppers.
The Morpeth Town Team will be co-ordinating a string of events aimed at adding that little something extra to the shopping experience at a time when the town is expected to be especially busy with summertime visitors.
The entertainment has already begun with the return of the popular Saturday afternoon series of open-air concerts in the Market Place, covering a variety of musical tastes and styles.
Last weekend, saxophonist Harry Mears entertained shoppers, as well as diners enjoying an al-fresco meal, with his mellow sounds, and this weekend, popular crooner Jason King will be taking centre stage.
Other artists booked for the following nine weeks, until Saturday, September 5, include Tom Wylie, Lou Cole, Steve Halliday and Vicky Sanderson, with Harry and Jason also making return appearances.
The musical entertainment takes place all afternoon, from just after lunchtime, and is free to enjoy.
The concerts are organised by the town team and, one of its members, town councillor Ken Brown, said: “Everyone I spoke to thought it was a great idea and really added to the ambiance of the town centre.
“What we are trying to do is add something to the Saturday afternoon shopping experience by providing the sort of entertainment nowhere else is doing locally.
“Many of the people I spoke to said they would be coming into the town centre every week to enjoy the music.”
But it’s not just on Saturdays that an entertainment package is being lined up over the summer holidays.
Every Wednesday, summer fun is planned when the weekly market is held, from July 22 to August 26.
Ponies and owls will be around to meet shoppers, plus there’ll be music and activities for children.
Town councillor Nic Best, chairman of the authority’s Markets Advisory Group, added: “Summer holiday activities proved popular last year, and this year, there’ll be even more and better things happening.”
On Sundays throughout July, the entertainment scene switches to Sanderson Arcade, where there’ll be music to enjoy each weekend. This summer, the arcade is even planning an event in association with newcomer, the Pudding Parlour, in the shape of a bake-off competition for children on Saturday, August 8.
All youngsters have to do is bake a cake and take it along for judging, with the winner being presented with a great prize and, of course, cake.
Not far from the town centre, in Carlisle Park, one of the town team partners, the Greater Morpeth Development Trust, will also be once again staging its popular picnic to kick off the school summer holidays.
This year, the event will have a First World War theme, and entertainment already lined up includes a magician and juggler, storytelling, Ellington Colliery Band, medieval tile-making demonstrations, displays and workshops by the Woodhorn Matters proggy and hooky mat-makering group, St George’ Players, alpacas, face-painting, guide dogs and a free barbecue, courtesy of Morpeth Churches Together.
The Picnic in the Park takes place on Sunday, July 19, from noon until 4pm. Admission is free.
“This is just a flavour of what we are planning to do over the next few weeks of summer to show that Morpeth is more than just a great place to shop,” said Coun Brown.