FEATURE: North East Festivals Round-Up | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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While some of the region’s bigger festivals (namely Evolution, Split and Stockton Weekender) may no longer be taking place, Claire Dupree’s still determined to don her wellies. There’s already a wealth of events featured elsewhere in this issue, so here’s our handy guide to some of the other great festivals taking place in the North East (and a bit beyond)…


Zyna Hel by Ian West

Zyna Hel by Ian West

Unlimited Festival

Saturday 13th-Saturday 20th June, various venues in Tynemouth. From £2

The ambitious Unlimited Festival hosts a week-long series of gigs across five venues in Tynemouth, with a North East-heavy line-up. Pop act The Waiters play alongside pop punkers Short Side Avenue, songwriter Jack Arthurs, young singer Eve Simpson, Brit rockers The J.T.A and heavy rockers First Born Son. Grab a £12 wristband and enjoy music all week!


NARC. Fest

Saturday 4th July @ Various venues in Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle. Free

Top local promoters present a free showcase across a varied range of genres at the musical arm of the Ouseburn Festival. Welsh noise pop four-piece Falls, garage rockers Avalanche Party, sci-fi synth pop Zyna Hel, alt. rock trio Sun Dance, hotly tipped indie popsters Coquin Migale, lo-fi punkers Mouses, alt. pop band Shields, acoustic folk duo Skylark Song and blues supremo’s Monkey Junk plus many more will grace the stages. Plus, check out the Ouseburn Festival’s website for family-based fun and games with an Alice In Wonderland theme across the weekend.



Summer Streets

Saturday 18th-Sunday 19th July @ Thompson Park, Southwick, Sunderland. Free

West Sunderland’s streets will come alive with music, dance and entertainment thanks to the return of Summer Streets. The community event aims to celebrate all that’s great and good about the area, with live music from Hyde & Beast, Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra, Brassy B, This Little Bird, George Shovlin & The Radars, The Harton Harmonisers plus many more. Workshops will also be on offer, there’s family-friendly live comedy and stalls galore.


Woodhorn Lane

Friday 24th-Saturday 26th July @ Ashington Football Club, Northumberland. Free

Excellent community event featuring exuberant rockers Mechanical Mouse Organ, post-hardcore metallers Digits, hip-hop duo The Great & The Magnificent, alt. noise band Petrol Terriers, top indie act Shrug among others. Search for the event on Facebook.


Friday 4th-Sunday 6th September @ Druridge Bay Country Park, Northumberland. Camping £25, day tickets from £3

Over 30 acts will perform a hop, skip and jump away from the beach. Highlights include performances from nine-piece ska juggernaut Bombskare and reggae rompers Urang Matang featuring Dexy’s trombonist Big Jim Patterson, plus country skiffle rocker Carl Cape Band, one-man contemporary pop maker The Shooting Of…, funk rockers Juggernaut Love Band and pit popsters Dennis among many others.



Friday 4th-Sunday 6th September @ Bellingham, Northumberland. From £20

Better known as Bellingham’s All Acoustic music festival, enjoy performances from BBC Folk Awards nominee Jez Lowe, honey-voiced songstress Lesley Roley, Northumbrian roots and blues rockers Gilded Thieves and multi-instrumentalist Meghann Clancy plus more.



Rufus Wainwright (Mouth of the Tyne Festival)

Rufus Wainwright (Mouth of the Tyne Festival)

Mouth of the Tyne Festival

Wednesday 8th-Sunday 12th July @ Various locations in Tynemouth and Whitley Bay. From £10

The iconic surroundings of Tynemouth Priory plays host to Beautiful South’s Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbot, Mancunian rockers I Am Kloot, ska sensations The Specials, rapper Roots Manuva and American soul group Martha Reeves & The Vandellas among others; while at Playhouse Whitley Bay enjoy the inimitable sounds of Rufus Wainwright, the dreamy acoustics of Jack Savoretti and top alt. pop locals Lisbon.


BRASS Festival

Thursday 16th-Sunday 19th July @ Various locations in Durham. Ticket prices vary

The historic environs of Durham City hosts a plethora of brassy delights, including performances from funk, soul and rock ‘n’ roll maestros Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Scotland’s leading baroque ensemble Dunedin Consort performing Monteverdi at Durham Cathedral, virtuoso wind group His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts and much more besides.


SummerTyne Americana

Friday 17th-Sunday 19th July @ Sage Gateshead. Ticket prices vary

Sage Gateshead’s hallowed halls play host to the cream of the Americana scene, with roots, blues, gospel, country and rock also getting a look in. Highlights include Super Furry Animals’ frontman Gruff Rhys performing his American Interior project, country music royalty Emmylou Harris, rustic folkies Felice Brothers and music legend Roseanne Cash, plus the Jumpin’ Hot Club outdoor stage mixes top local talent with sizzling performers from across the globe.


Saltburn Folk Festival

Friday 14th-Sunday 16th August @ Various locations in Saltburn. From £32

The seaside resort of Saltburn welcomes the festival of folk, dance and song, with performances from traditional folk singer Bob Fox, the innovative New Rope String Band and the highly regarded talents of Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies amongst others.


Lindisfarne Festival

Friday 4th-Sunday 6th September @ Beal Farm, Northumberland. From £50

Surrounded by the beauty of the Northumberland coastline, just a hop over the causeway from Holy Island. Top musical talent rubs shoulders with street food, holistic therapies and much more. Highlights include AV maestros Public Service Broadcasting, scratch stunner DJ Yoda, brooding chanteuse Nadine Shah, Northern Soul tastemakers Smoove & Turrell and alt. pop darlings Frankie & The Heartstrings.


Allen Valleys Folk Festival

Friday 2nd-Sunday 4th October @ Various locations in Allen Valleys, Northumberland. From £15

Part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Allen Valleys welcomes some of the UK’s best roots performers including R.M Hubbert’s wry tales of love and life’s troubles, North Eastern swingers Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra, trad folkies The Will Pound Band, the genre-defying Polly & The Billets Doux and virtuoso fiddle player Tom McConville among others.


Hartlepool Folk Festival

Friday 16th-Sunday 18th October @ Various locations in Hartlepool. From £15.

Playing tribute to the region’s rich cultures and traditions, Hartlepool’s folk festival welcomes performers from near and far. Folk legend Martin Carthy joins perennial Teesside favourite Vin Garbutt, folk renaissance man Chris Wood, folk and hip-hop infused mentalists Demon Barbers XL, Anglo-American folkies Cath & Phil Tyler and many others. Plus there’s food stalls, dancers, storytelling, film screenings and more.



James (Hardwick Live)

James (Hardwick Live)

Durham Blues Festival

Saturday 20th June @ Gala Theatre, Durham. £28

Blues and soul heavyweight Geno Washington and guitar virtuoso Aynsley Lister head up a day of blues rock which also features The Brew, Larry Miller, Erja Lyytinen and Red Butler, with an acoustic stage featuring modern blues supremo Jack J Hutchinson, slide guitarist Gary Smith.


Corbridge Festival

Saturday 11th July @ Tynedale Park, Corbridge. £25

The one day event, with optional two night camping, is a great family favourite. Legendary punk band The Undertones head up the sounds, alongside songwriter Chris Helme, local industrial folk band The Jar Family, psych rockers Kobadelta, electronic pop duo Silent Houses and more.


West Fest

Saturday 25th July @ West Auckland Village Green & Football Club. £6

The inaugural West Fest features top entertainment alongside a vintage market and street food stalls. Music comes from hip-hop folk fusion act Coco & The Butterfields, one-man musical supremo The Shooting Of…, Sheffield-based indie rockers The Sherlocks, local post rockers Abel Raise The Cain and much more to be announced.


Chase Park Festival

Saturday 8th August @ Chase Park, Whickham. £5 (free for those with disabilities and their carers)

One of only three festivals in the country to be awarded Gold Standard for accessibility (the others being Glastonbury and Liberty), Chase Park celebrates established, emerging and disabled artists from across the country. Lined up to play so far are indie heroes Ash, MC/grime artist Blizzard, punk duo Hulkenberg and MC Crazy Legs.


Home Gathering

Saturday 22nd August @ The Boiler Shop, Newcastle. £22.50

The expansive environs of the Boiler Shop will play host to folk lovelies The Unthanks, world music masters The Baghaddies, Scottish folkie Alasdair Roberts, the ever-popular gypsy jazz swing of Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra and Scottish folk duo Twelfth Day, plus there’s rapper sword and clog dancing. Get in quick, it’ll be an early sell out.


Hardwick Live

Saturday 22nd August @ Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield. £49

A camping festival set in the lovely surrounds of Hardwick Hall in County Durham, Hardwick Live welcomes indie stalwarts James, Razorlight and Embrace, plus Northern funk group Smoove & Turrell and folky blues-man Scott Matthews. There’s also comedy courtesy of Grinning Idiot.


Twisterella Festival

Saturday 10th October @ Various locations in Middlesbrough. £15

The music conference returns for its second year, but Twisterella bookers Henry Carden (Pay For The Piano) and Andy Carr (The Kids Are Solid Gold) are keeping their cards close to their chest with regards to the full line-up. We did manage to squeeze a few names out of them including rising Scottish acts Fatherson and Model Aeroplanes; regional heavyweights Hyde & Beast and Bi:Lingual and hotly tipped new indie acts Lives and Cold Ocean Lies.


Byker Grave

Saturday 28th November @ The Cluny, Newcastle. £20

Closing the year with an ear-pummelling festival of noise, doom and metal, Byker Grave is a highlight of the heavier end of the musical spectrum. Bands from across the globe will converge on The Cluny with performances from Australia’s satanic speed metallers Destroyer 666, Finland’s doom rockers Fleshpress and New Zealand (by way of Scotland) black metallers Barshasketh. Local thrills come from Geomancer and Rotting Bull with more to be announced.



Lost Voice Guy (Barnard Castle Comedy Festival)

Lost Voice Guy (Barnard Castle Comedy Festival)

Sunderland Shorts

Thursday 2nd–Sunday 5th July @ Various venues in Sunderland. Ticket prices vary

Providing a platform for filmmakers from around the world, Sunderland Shorts has been curated in collaboration with the prestigious Washington DC event, DC Shorts Film Festival. 60 short films will be selected for screenings at cultural locations across the city, with the aim of bringing together filmmakers from across the globe to celebrate the very best short films of every genre.


Barnard Castle Comedy Festival

Saturday 18th July @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. £45

A host of internationally renowned names have already been announced for Barnard Castle’s first comedy festival, with plenty more to come. Hosted by the Funny Way To Be comedy club, performers include Alex Horne, Jo Caulfield, Tony Law, Lost Voice Guy and Lee Kyle’s family Gunge Show.


Stockton International Riverside Festival

Saturday 30th July-Sunday 2nd August @ Various locations in Stockton

Stockton’s Riverside Festival may no longer include the fringe Weekender event, but the four day extravaganza of street theatre, circus and dance still has plenty on offer. Expect weird and wonderful performances from a variety of practitioners from around the world.


Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance

Friday 7th-Saturday 15th August @ Various locations in Billingham and Middlesbrough. Ticket prices vary

Offering a vast range of traditional and contemporary dancers and musicians, performers have come from as far afield as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Serbia and China. Get your cowboy boots on for a hoe-down with Bailey Mountain Cloggers or salsa the night away with Compania Mexicana de Danza. A strong youth-orientated programme is also a highlight.


Whitley Bay Film Festival

Saturday 1st & Friday 21st August-Sunday 6th September @ Various locations in Whitley Bay. Ticket prices vary

The much-loved coastal cinema celebration returns with what’s bound to be a top line-up of innovative cinematic events. Announced so far is a 40th anniversary screening of Ken Russell’s darkly psychological 70s romp Tommy, followed by a Q&A with The Who’s Roger Daltrey (plus a pin ball tournament) at Playhouse Whitley Bay on Saturday 1st August. With much more to be announced in the coming weeks, stay tuned to their website for more info.


Durham Streets Summer Festival

Saturday 29th-Monday 31st August @ Various locations in Durham. Free

The very best street performers from across the globe bring live performances filled with humour, death-defying acrobatics and slapstick comedy to Durham city. A stunt-filled celebration for all the family to enjoy.


Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

Wednesday 23rd–Sunday 27th September @ Various locations in Berwick. Ticket prices vary

Inspired by the theme ‘Fact or Fiction’, the 11th edition of the Berwick Film & Media Art Festival will take over the border town. A major highlight for fans of film, mixed media and experimental art, their programme of film premieres, site-specific installations and live events will be announced over the coming weeks.



Echo and the Bunnymen (Willowman Festival)

Echo and the Bunnymen (Willowman Festival)

Willowman Festival

Thursday 18th-Sunday 21st June @ Knayton, Thirsk, North Yorkshire. From £60

Willowman welcomes noir rockers Echo & The Bunnymen, punk rockers Goldblade, the superb Alan Hull Songbook, local indie scamps Frankie & The Heartstrings and many more. A comedy tent, real ale bar, healing area, silent disco and chill out spaces add to the appeal.


Beverley Folk Festival

Friday 19th-Sunday 21st June @ Beverley Racecourse, Yorkshire. £110

Focusing on traditional and contemporary British folk, Beverley’s entertainment also comes with a smattering of Americana, world music, blues and classic rock. Nu-folk star Seth Lakeman, the hilarious Hayseed Dixie, Celtic dance trailblazers Peatbog Faeries and local gypsy folk ‘n’ rollers Holy Moly & The Crackers join a vast range of musicians, workshops, film screenings and kids’ activities.


Fell Foot Sound

Friday 17th-Sunday 19th July @ Newby Bridge, Ulverston, Cumbria. From £35

With a stunning location overlooking Lake Windermere, Fell Foot Sound plays host to a knock out line-up of eclectic entertainment from quirky rockers Wave Pictures, pop duo The Lovely Eggs, oddball rockers Biscuithead & The Biscuit Badgers and melodic shoegazers Fever Dream among others.



Friday 24th-Sunday 26th July @ Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire. £129

Billing itself as a family friendly music, arts and science festival, Deershed has a bit of something for everyone. The musical entertainment is headed up by big names including John Grant, Billy Bragg, The Unthanks and The Wedding Present, alongside an impressive supporting cast from the likes of Villagers, SLUG, Dutch Uncles, Du Blonde, Fatherson and Cattle & Cane among others. Add performance theatre, spoken word, cinema, storytelling and science-based shenanigans, and you’ve got a world-class weekend.


Richmond Live

Friday 31st July-Saturday 1st August @ Richmond Town Centre, North Yorkshire. From £10

Welsh post-hardcore rockers Funeral For A Friend headline alongside performances from a range of local acts including alt. hip-hop band Ceiling Demons, indie rockers The Voluntears, punk folkers Driven Serious and many more.


Northbound Festival

Friday 7th-Sunday 9th August @ Wellington Farm, Cockermouth, Cumbria. £50

Established names cosy up to top local talent at this well-situated festival in the Lake District fells. Headliners Public Service Broadcasting and Dub Pistols play alongside indie rockers Echotape, indie dance act The Sunshine Underground, alt. rockers Colt 45 and psych rockers Bernaccia among others, plus plenty of weird and wonderful goings on across the weekend.


Whitby Folk Week

Saturday 22nd-Friday 28th August @ Various locations in Whitby, North Yorkshire. From £44

Taking over the pretty seaside town for a week’s worth of musical entertainment, Whitby Folk Week welcomes Demon Barbers XL, Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, Andy May Trio, Rattle On The Stovepipe plus ceilidh bands, dance teams, storytellers, workshops and more.


Parklands Festival

Friday 28th-Sunday 30th August @ Duncombe Park, Helmsley, North Yorkshire. From £40

Parklands fuses music, dance and entertainment with top quality food and drink, featuring over 100 bands across three days. Musical acts include The Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwall, carnival rock ‘n’ rollers Tankus The Henge, perennial festival band The Proclaimers and many more.


Bingley Music Live

Friday 4th-Sunday 6th September @ Myrtle Park, Bingley, West Yorkshire. £49

Bingley’s strong and eclectic line-up features ace Welsh revolutionaries Super Furry Animals, Pete Hook & The Light, 2-tone ska band The Beat, Libertines’ frontman Carl Barat and his band The Jackals, rockers Funeral For A Friend, Newcastle’s garage duo Gallery Circus, indie rock stalwarts James, multi-instrumentalist Labrinth and many others.


Musicport Festival

Friday 16th -Sunday 18th October @ Whitby, North Yorkshire. £99

The UK’s biggest indoor world music festival, Musicport will play host to Dub Colossus, alt. songwriter Duke Special, tech pop rockers Interrobang?, grime MC Afrikan Boy, Finnish fiddlers Frigg and the eclectic Världens Band. Plus, you can camp indoors!



Craft Beer Calling

Craft Beer Calling

Proper Food & Drink Festivals

Saturday 13th-Sunday 14th June @ Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay & Saturday 29th-Sunday 30th August @ Northumberland Square, North Shields. Free

60 of the region’s finest artisan food producers join a huge array of hot food stalls, plus real ale, cider, wine and cocktails, as the coastal towns enjoy a glut of foodies over packed weekends.


Vegan Festival

Saturday 4th July @ The Assembly Rooms, Newcastle. £2

You don’t need to be a vegan or vegetarian to enjoy the tasty treats on offer; stalls espousing the virtues of health foods and local producers rub shoulders with ethical clothing and cosmetics. Speakers are on hand to chat about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, and there’s documentary screenings and free samples.


North East Chilli Festival

Saturday 4th -Sunday 5th July @ Delaval Hall, Seaton Sluice, Northumberland. From £4

A hot ticket (sorry…) on the foodie circuit, the ever popular Chilli Festival features a range of scorching exhibitors, from purveyors of spicy ales and beers Fallen Angel Brewery to the Hot Stuff Chilli Company and the award-winning Grim Reaper Foods. Plus, there’s chilli eating competitions and live music.


Cumberland Arms Summer Beer Festival

Thursday 16th-Sunday 19th July @ The Cumberland Arms, James Place Street, Newcastle. Free

The Ouseburn Valley’s much-loved Cumberland Arms welcomes a vast range of real ales, ciders, perrys and much more, alongside scrummy food to soak it all up with. Add a top range of musical entertainment plus plenty of family fun, and you’ve got a weekend packed with the best things in life.


Craft Beer Calling

Friday 23rd -Sunday 25th October @ The Boilers Shop, Newcastle. From £10

The new kid on Newcastle’s beer festival block, the international event once again sees some of the world’s leading craft breweries assembled for tastings and top tipples. A gin palace, artisan cider producers and street food market add to the boozy fun, plus there’s world-class DJs and musical thrills to keep you there until the small hours.


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