TENS of thousands of music fans soaked up the sun and the sounds of an array of artists at a major free festival yesterday.

Both banks of the Tyne, on Newcastle's Quayside and the Gateshead Quays, were pulsating to the sounds of big-name acts from across the globe, performing everything from modern dance favourites to blues, roots and reggae.

It was the culmination of the two-week Orange Evolution Festival, featuring a number of performers playing at various venues around Tyneside.

The final day brought the festival to a climax with the good weather helping to swell the numbers taking in the sounds from the three stages, at Spillers Wharf and near the Pitcher and Piano, on the Newcastle side of the Tyne, and outside the Baltic, on the Gateshead Quays.

The nine-and-a-half hour programme was designed to round off with the top-of-the-bill acts providing a fitting finale on each of the three stages, dubbed Innovation, Imagination and Inspiration.

Two were al-fresco and the other, the blues and roots venue, was under cover but, given, the pleasant conditions, all three were busy throughout.

Festival-goers were spoilt for choice with acts such as Dizzy Rascal, the Futureheads, Candy Statten, and the Super Furry Animals vying for their attention as the event neared its conclusion.

Maureen Dixon, regional spokeswoman for Orange, said of the weather: "You can't plan for these things, but it has proved to be fantastic.

"All the stages have been packed out and, hopefully, given the line-up, there was something for everyone.

"It's also shown the Quayside area off in all its glory and proved what a great venue it is for this type of event."

Orange Evolution was one of the Culture 10 2005 Alive series, backed by both Newcastle and Gateshead councils.