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Stockton 'Fringe Festival' Weekender no longer free
The newly named Stockton Weekender festival
The newly named Stockton Weekender festival

Stockton's largest music and comedy festival will be charging for entry to this summer's event.

After celebrating its 20th year, the Stockton Riverside Fringe Festival is also changing its name to Stockton Weekender.

The as yet undetermined charge will apply to the Friday and Saturday programme only - with the Sunday remaining free as a 'family' day.

The event will run from August 5 until 7 this year.

Back in the summer of '91

The Stockton Riverside Fringe Festival started life in the back room of a pub in 1991, where it offered a sideline of music for those attending the Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF).

The Chapman Family at The Fringe 2010
The Chapman Family at The Fringe 2010

It grew and grew in popularity and last year celebrated it's 20th anniversary, with crowds reaching 60,000 over the long weekend and headliners including Calvin Harris, The Human League and Mercury Rev.

The name change, and shift from free event to pay-per-day, will mark a new era for the festival, and its organisers, Tees Music Alliance.

Director of TMA Paul Burns said times are tough, and the festival can no longer rely on the sponsorship that used to allow the event to go ahead.

He said: "We had a very simple choice to make - either introduce an element of charging; or stop producing the event.

"Research conducted by TMA has shown a willingness on the part of members of the public to pay for entry, so this is the route we've gone down rather than see the festival lost to the local area completely."

Festival headliners and ticket prices will be announced shortly.

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