My beloved home city is having a huge party this summer and you’re all invited….no, really! The Great Exhibition of the north is a huge 80 day festival, hosted by Newcastle & Gateshead celebrating: art, culture, innovation and technology in the north of England. The whole of the summer is set to be packed with events and exhibitions in many of the cities’ museums and cultural hubs, including lots of hands on activities and a range of live performances to suit all ages and interests. It’s definitely a great time to visit Newcastle/Gateshead.

Great Exhibition

The festival kicked off with a huge launch party event on both sides of the river Tyne on Friday night that featured street entertainers, bands, fireworks, a huge water sculpture and the UK’s first ever drone show. I’ve got to admit, the drone show was my favourite part, forget fireworks when you can write in the sky with changing coloured lights attached to drones!

drone show

Maximo Park playing on a huge floating stage on board “The Bobby Robson” were the headline act of the night, followed by Lemn Sissay performing the socks off his “An anthem for the north” from the Millennium Bridge. I was lucky enough to have tickets for The Sage Gateshead concert hall, where I danced along to Nightmares on Wax chilled out beats before the big finale on the river. Thousands of people lined both sides of the Quayside though, dancing and singing into the night. Such a brilliant atmosphere and if the Great Exhibition of the North epic launch party is anything to go by the rest of the festival and a summer in the mighty Toon will be a reet belta!

Nightmares on wax

If you’re interested in coming to The Great Exhibition of The North here is the link to their event website. Events include: Lauren Lavern’s Great Northern Sound track at The Sage: a series of concerts featuring the DJs favourite artists from the region. 1UpNorth Gaming Exhibition at Northumbria University, and Aeons: a sound walk with wireless headphones along the Quayside. But there are literally hundreds of events, with lots of free events as well as ticketed, so there is something for everyone.

The Sage Gateshead

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The bar scene in Newcastle is fast moving and there are some fabulous new additions. So, if you’re heading to the Toon for the up-coming bank holidays, I’ve put together a handy list of some of the best bars in Newcastle, with something to appeal to everyone.