TOP poppers JLS hailed North East Live as “the best party in the country”.
The headliners declared Saturday’s nine-hour long music extravaganza a success and proclaimed they “love the North-East” as they rounded off a day which saw 11 pop acts induce screams from around 35,000 excited fans.
Singer Aston, said: “We always get distracted by the audience in the North-East.
“They are some of the loudest, and the love we get up here is unbelievable.”
The biggest concert ever to hit the Stadium of Light heard a plethora of current and past UK Top 40 hits from acts including newcomers to the pop scene The Vamps, Lawson and Conor Maynard, to seasoned chart toppers JLS and The Wanted.
Little Mix were fourth to top the bill and thrilled fans with a selection of tracks, including their second number one Wings and famed cover of En Vogue’s What’s It Gonna Be, which they performed on the X Factor.
The band, which has recently returned from America, said they were pleased to be playing on home turf.
“We are pleased to be home even though it’s only for a short time,” said South Shields born Jade, who was staying in the town with her family.
“It’s nice to hear the accent.”
Romford native Jessie, said she feels at home in the city too.
“For us it’s like home because we’ve always had so much support from the North-East, and we’ve spent time rehearsing in Perrie and Jade’s houses.”
The four-piece played before international popstrel Rita Ora, who received raucous applause for her set that included Hits How We Do and RIP – for which she made a theatrical entrance in a floor length red cape.
The Wanted were second to top the bill, and Tom, who performed in a customized SAFC shirt, said: “Of course we know Sunderland – we hadn’t played here before but we were really excited.
“We’ve been out of the country for a while and this is our first set of gigs back.”
Even singer Nathan Sykes, who has recently had throat surgery, managed to perform for the full set, despite fearing he may not be able to sing.
The day-long festival, which also hosted acts including Middlesbrough’s Amelia Lily and James Arthur - who kicked off the concert - was declared a success by artists and thousands of fans.
Organisers AEG have already begun planning another concert at the Stadium of Light for next year, which they promise will be even bigger and better than this.