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Festival of the North East gears up for a month of celebration

  • Date: 18 January 2013
  • Area: North
Festival of the North East

Festival of the North East. Credit: Festival of the North East

Festival of the North East is the very first festival to span the length and breadth of the North East of England. With around 200 events being planned throughout June 2013, it is set to embrace the arts, science, heritage, history, industry, technology, provocation and debate - making it one of the largest and most eclectic festivals the UK has ever seen. 

Funded with Arts Council England's Strategic funds, the festival will be putting a deserved spotlight on the region, and celebrating the many things which make it unique. An advisory panel of four leading creative figures will be contributing to the festival. Kathryn Tickell, who first thought up having the festival, is a renowned Northumbrian piper and composer; she is joined by Paul Smith of Maximo Park, playwright Lee Hall (The Pitmen Painters, Billy Elliot), and contemporary sculpture artist, famous for North East-based creation the Angel of the North, Antony Gormley. All four advisors will be working closely with Festival of the North East Producer, Jonathan Best.

Alison Clark-Jenkins, Regional Director, Arts Council England said: 'After much hard work and careful planning, I'm thrilled to see the Festival of the North East come to life. I don't think any region could host such a bold and brilliant celebration of what makes it so unique - but that's exactly what the North East is. From its people, geography, industry and heritage, to of course the arts and cultural experiences it is now famously home to. I'm proud to say the Arts Council is supporting this project, and I look forward to the people of the region, and further afield, taking part this June.'

Watch this space...

The festival's full programme will officially be launched in March - but confirmed highlights already include:

  • The premiere of Grayson Perry's tapestry series, The Vanity of Small Differences, at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
  • Summer Sessions; a series of unique, one-off musical happenings in pubs around the region, celebrating the North East's living tradition of song
  • A new musical collaboration between Paul Smith of Maximo Park and Peter Brewis of Field Music
  • A region-wide visitor trail and online gallery capturing defining moments of the North East's innovation and creativity in 100 objects from museums and galleries. Led by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

View the countdown to the festival and sign up for the latest news at

Useful links and more information

Festival of the North East
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Arts Council England, North East