Peterlee '07

Published: 27 October, 2009 - Featured in Skin Deep 146, June, 2007

If you don’t do many conventions or travel about the UK a lot, chances are you won’t have a clue whereabouts in the country Peterlee is…it is in fact a small town in the North East of England not too far south of Newcastle. It’s the town where Eddie Hardiman and his family run their tattoo studio and where they have held the Peterlee tattoo arts festival for the 5th year in a row.

I unfortunately missed the very first show but have had the great pleasure of photographing at the last 4, including this year. This is one of those shows where you’re made to feel welcome from the minute you walk in the door. The show is held in the Peterlee leisure centre and for one day of the year most of the building is taken over by an ever-growing crowd of tattooed folk from all over the UK. The hospitality and friendliness of this show is second to none and nothing is too much trouble for the organisers and crew. Another really good aspect of this show is extortionate bar and food prices don’t rip you off, in fact it’s probably the cheapest bar prices of all the UK shows.

The list of working artists was impressive even though a couple of people had to pull out at the last minute due to health reasons, people working included Chris Wright from Viking tattoo in Jarrow, Shane Somers from Whitby, Carl Cooke from Durham, Chris Hatton from Physical Graffitti in Cardiff, Dave Banfield from Tattoo House in Dewsbury, Kev & Lee from Steel Paintbrush in Consett, Jim, Wez & Becka from Blood Brothers in London, Bob Hoyle, Rob Doubtfire, Mick Tomo, Ian Higgins from Comedian Tattoo in Bathgate, Glasgow plus loads of others.   

From the minute the doors opened there was a steady stream of people coming in, I didn’t actually see the queue before the doors opened but I had to nip out to the car about 45 minutes later and the queue was still right up the side of the building then, I think this was probably the busiest Peterlee show to date.   

With every show there’s a down side and for me this year it was that I couldn’t be in two places at once, I was really busy in the studio for most of the day and therefore I missed a lot of what was happening down in the main hall including the entertainment and the art fusion which was being done. I can tell you however who was playing. The day kicked off with a guy called Billy Irvine and he was followed by a band called The King Bz’s, both of these I missed totally but later on in the evening was a Bon Jovi cover band on called Bon Jordi, which from there name suggests that they are a North East band and I did manage to catch a couple of tracks that they were doing and they were pretty good.   

On a more serious note one thing that Eddie and the guys running the show always do is have a chosen charity each year that benefits from the day, sadly this year it was in aid of Tony Young who died suddenly from a heart attack just after last years show, the following words are those of the organisers….

“Throughout the course of the day artists/tattooists will voluntarily put their works of art onto canvas/paper (Rotating every 2 mins approx) until designs are complete. These designs will then be auctioned after the presentation to raise money for Tony Young’s children.   

Tony Sadly passed away leaving two young children…. Tattoos and tattoo conventions were one of Tony’s loves in life. He was always the first one to lend a helping hand, doing almost anything to raise money for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We feel that this is our way of saying thank you to Tony for being who he was and what he’d done for others. All money raised from the Art Fusion will be donated to Tony’s children.   

He was a very good friend to ourselves along with a lot of others within the tattoo fraternity. Tony loved Peterlee Arts Fest and Peterlee Arts Fest loved him. Our thoughts will always remain with Tony’s family, Thelma his partner and friends. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.”   

With the Auction of the art fusion and contributions from artists, traders and supply companies over £1000 was raised and the organisers would like to thank everybody who gave up their time to do the artworks and those who gave so generously, with a special thanks to Nutty for giving up her drinking time to oversee everything. Also adding more to this fund was the people who run the Ben Herdis appeal which was a charity the show sponsored in 2005, the charity for that has now been closed and the funds left, some £1400 is being split, 50% is going to be put into trust for the children and the other 50% is going to Thelma for taking them out and other such expenses such
as clothes etc.   

On a final note the organisers would like to apologise to anybody who was inconvenienced by a couple of spots of trouble that broke out during the day, this is the first time in 5 years that there has been any trouble at Peterlee and the incidents were quickly diffused by the doormen and the culprits will be banned from future shows.   

Make a note in your Diary for Peterlee
‘08 on Sunday 30th March and for more info contact Eddies Tattoo studio on
0191 5871787…See you there next year.


Text and Photgraphy: Paul Callaby


Skin Deep 146 1 June 2007 146