FEATURE: Finding Your Own Way To Give Back with East Coast Visions | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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On Friday 20th of April adventure talks series East Coast Visions is coming to the fantastic TyneBank Brewery in Newcastle. It’s an unlikely concept for an event, so how did it all come to pass that this venue would play host to a crowd of inquisitive surfers, snowboarders, mountaineers, photographers musicians and adventurers?

A few years back, while half watching a Ted Talk about how to tie shoelaces better, a few friends were loosely in conversation about the legendary surf film producer Bruce Brown RIP. Bruce was a man who turned his carefully documented life as a surfer in to a tale for the silver screen, producing cult status films, which were entirely funded by the proceeds from ticket sales taken at independent ramshackle venues, and later cinemas, hired to showcase his way of life. Adventure, travel, surfing & interesting music all found a place in Bruce’s heartfelt lifestyle operas, and his style transcended the niche from which it originally grew. The idea of underground cultures bringing communities together seemed appealing, and Bruce’s approach to life is inspiring. Could this ‘Endless Summer’ way of life exist in a place like Northern England?

A plan was hatched to drag some friends, unwittingly, on a mission to find some of the mythical and regularly elusive waves of the North East coastline, armed with some of the latest and greatest drone technology. We got lucky on that day- all the planets aligned to send perfect surf to Northumberland, and the drone footage of us, complete with wall-to-wall sunshine and perfect blue seas, was truly special. Over fish and chips & a pint later that night we discussed how to do this footage justice, & it was decided to organize a video screening of the footage at a great local pub, nothing too major, just a nice spot to gather a few friends. We threw up a massive screen, powered up the projector & tuned in a serious sound system and wondered: what happens when we hit play?

A quiet hush fell over the crowd as the video began, and somehow it seemed for moment that a little magic had come to a pub beer garden. After the main video was shown we invited other people to get involved, and show any videos they had been working on themselves. Kitesurfing, climbing, skiing- all kinds of other interests started coming out of the woodwork. This made for more laughs, and generally surprise- as the contributors narrated their own stories live. Talk turned in to chatter, and then the music started. Thus was born East Coast Visions- a series of talks by adventurers who tell stories about their extra ordinary lives, with the support of video and photographic imagery, all projected on to a massive screen. With music, and beer!

The next events saw tales told by local people which showed the amazing endeavour of the everyday folk around us, with stories emerging from places all across the world- Africa, Brazil, & even Antarctica. Stories that sound like they don’t happen to normal people. Stories of inspiration. Stories that needed a wider audience.

Sticking to the format of closing with a bang, enter contributor Stuart Swift. Originally from South Africa, avid surfer Stu took the decision to follow Bruce’s approach with an ambitious post- graduation quest to drive from London to Cape Town overland. Travelling with his brother Callum and sleeping in nothing more than either a tent (when wildlife allowed) or a specially converted Toyota Landcruiser, their mission was: to surf, and to find records. What transpired was more than just that simple objective, and the stories of mind blowing point breaks are interspersed with considered words and actions depicting an enlightened and conscientious approach to their new cultural surroundings. A real life surfing & photography odyssey. The hard won African rhythms found on this trip are the icing on the cake of this story; a chance to slide further into the culture presented so vividly in the photos accompanying his talk. Listen to some of that flavor here.

We decided to use the event to fundraise for charities which aligned with our vision. For the 2017 event we helped Surfers Against Sewage, and American organisation ‘Waves for Water’ who did some amazing work with clean water supply in the wake of the terrible hurricanes that tore through the Caribbean last year. Courtesy of a number of kindly donated raffle prizes, including a chance to win a custom made surfboard, we’re raising money for things we believe in as we showcase people we believe in.

Fast-forward 6 months and the next chapter in our story is about to unfold. A long discussion took place about who else we could feature, and the end product was some tearful moments on Youtube watching a female snowboarder win the first Team GB medal for snowboarding at Sochi 2014. Jenny Jones’ tale of Olympic success is nothing short of inspirational, and serves as an empowering message of undying self-belief to guys & girls chasing their dreams. Jenny’s work as an ambassador of another amazing charity ‘Snow-Camp’, who help children get their first experiences of the joys of mountain life, helped steer our charitable support this time, and alongside SAS we’re finding ways to give back to the things we love, and i guess it helps that she surfs too!

Maybe Bruce was on to something.

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