The emotional way Sam Fender has brought North Shields to Finsbury Park today

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Fender’s North Shields father figure will be at Finsbury Park in spirit

Geordies may be feeling a little left out as local lad Sam Fender plays the biggest headline show of his life so far nearly 300 miles away at Finsbury Park.

The North Shields singer will play to 45,000 people later today in what is set to be a landmark night in the 'Seventeen Going Under' singer's career.

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Fender is known for his North Eastern roots and his pride in being from Tyneside.

Each of his two Brit Awards were dedicated to his hometown, he's recorded American TV performances in North Shields and is outspoken about the reality of growing up in the area.

So, it's no surprise that Fender has found an incredibly classy way to represent North Shields and the North East at the Finsbury Park show.

There are two stages in the park for the star's show in order to accommodate a long list of support acts warming up the crowd for the 28-year-old.

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Fender will play the Main Stage at 8:35 pm and throughout the day artists will play on that stage and on another called the John O'Keefe Lowlights Stage.

The name John O'Keefe and Lowlights might ring a bell for those in the North East.

Fans make their way into Finsbury Park (Image: Jason Button)Fans make their way into Finsbury Park (Image: Jason Button)
Fans make their way into Finsbury Park (Image: Jason Button) | -

The Low Lights Tavern is of course Fender's local watering hole in North Shields.

The bar is where the star was discovered by his manager Owen and where the star worked when growing up.

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Bar manager Lynsey Guthrie told NewcastleWorld: "He worked here seven or eight years ago.

"He was the worst employee and I've got no hesitation in saying that. He was the worst barman ever.

"He'd pull half a pint for someone, let it settle and then go mess around on the guitar.

The Low Lights Tavern (Image: Google Streetview)The Low Lights Tavern (Image: Google Streetview)
The Low Lights Tavern (Image: Google Streetview) | Google Streetview

"Then he'd come back and say 'oh, I forgot to finish your drink'."

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The Low Lights Tavern is also home to Fender's Brit Awards, which are behind beer pumps and valued at a whopping £66,000 - when S Club 7’s Paul Cattermole auctioned his award in 2018 it went for that whopping amount.

The naming of the Finsbury Park stage as the John O'Keefe Lowlights Stage is emotional too.

John O'Keefe was the former landlord of the Low Lights Tavern and passed away earlier this year.

Fender has credited John as a father figure in his life and thanked him when receiving the Ivor Novello for Best Song Musically and Lyrically in May of this year.

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The John O’Keefe Low Lights Stage at Finsbury Park (Image: Jason Button)The John O’Keefe Low Lights Stage at Finsbury Park (Image: Jason Button)
The John O’Keefe Low Lights Stage at Finsbury Park (Image: Jason Button) | -

In his acceptance speech, Fender said: "A very good friend of mine passed away last week, who was my first boss.

"He gave me a job when me and my mum were both unemployed.

"He used to hit me over the head with a newspaper for being a s*** barman.

"I was always playing guitar in front of people instead of serving the customers.

"One day, he went, 'Go get your guitar out and sit in that corner.'

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"Had he not told me to get my guitar that day, I wouldn’t have met that man over there [manager Owen] and none of this would have happened."

The Low Lights Tavern confirmed that John "died peacefully at home with his family around him" in May this year and clients have praised Fender's move to honour his old boss at the London show.

One Facebook user wrote: "That is a fab tribute, very appropriate to acknowledge the part John played in Sam being spotted, also lovely our fave pub is mentioned too."

Another said: "Great tribute to John from his 'Stupid Boy'! Well done, Sam xx."

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