NEWS: Unity Festival @ Leazes Park, Newcastle | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle is sometimes unfairly treated as some kind of industrial backwater by the London-centric media, a cultural vacuum populated by flat cap wearing whippet fanciers. The Unity Festival is the antithesis of this view, offering an opportunity to celebrate the incredible inhabitants of the Toon. The festival, taking place in Leazes Park on Saturday 23rd May, is a festival for the people, by the people; young, old, up, down, left, right, every colour of the rainbow and from all four corners of the globe.

The one-day spectacular will be split over several stages with R ’n’ B royalty Miss Dynamite headlining the main stage and Bangra beat dropper Panjabi MC getting us wobbling; Miss Dynamite’s bro Akala will be spitting lyrics that matter, reggae influenced sensation Natty will be doing his thang and many other guest DJs and MCs, plus the awesome Newcastle Allstars Steel band will turn Leazes Park into the hippest place on Earth.

That’s not all: there will be dance acts, comedy, spoken word, acoustic acts and a whole area dedicated to the young ‘uns. One of the best things about cultural diversity is the food, and Unity’s ‘food alley’ will be where you’ll find a locally produced international smorgasbord.

The remarkable thing about the Unity festival is that it is crowd funded, not just online, but by donations from Novocastrians all over the shop; from World Headquarters, where lollipops raised cash, to the generosity of local businesses and trade unions. One of the festival organisers, WHQ supremo Tommy Caulker enthusiastically told me that “the old fashioned Bob Marley idea of let’s get together” was behind the Unity festival; it’s something everyone can get into. The festival is free, but any donations would be gratefully received to help pay all the excellent acts who have committed to making this a block-busting debut year, let’s get together and feel alright.

Unity Festival takes place in Newcastle’s Leazes Park on Saturday 23rd May.

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