Fireworks, flying displays and fantastic music will launch this year's Airshow on Friday 21 July.

The Friday evening launch for the weekend event has become increasingly popular, and large crowds are expected to gather on Cliffe Park and along the seafront again to enjoy the music and flying spectacular.

A full night's flying programme including the Red Arrows and Typhoon Display team will provide a spectacular aerial backdrop, to music from the stage and ground based displays, activities and entertainment along the seafront.

Musicians including African performance group the Lions of Zululand will take to the stage from 4pm, before the main event at 6pm with an opening speech from the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Doris MacKnight.    

The programme includes performances from Hetton based folkrock, roots and colliery brass band 'Dennis' fresh from sell-out shows across the country, before some of Europe's finest tribute acts provide a nineties music themed climax to the show before a fireworks finale at 9.45pm.

The ninety minute 'City Life' programme celebrates the 25th anniversary of Sunderland being granted city status by Royal Assent, with music from the Spice Girls, Steps, Take That, Robbie Williams and Britpop era of Oasis, Pulp and Blur along with some of the 90s greatest dance hits.     

The Mayor, Cllr MacKnight said: "The Friday night musical launch event is a fantastic way to start the airshow experience, and this year has even  more significance as a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Sunderland being granted city status by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second.        

"Our city and our airshow have developed significantly over the past three decades, and the international headline acts entertaining the crowds with music from the 1990s are a great way to celebrate that."