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Great Exhibition of the North: Everything you need to know about this summer’s cultural extravaganza

From June 22- September 9 the Great Exhibition of the North will showcase a multitude of art, culture, design and innovation
From June 22- September 9 the Great Exhibition of the North will showcase a multitude of art, culture, design and innovation

From June 22- September 9 the Great Exhibition of the North will showcase a multitude of art, culture, design and innovation, showing the best of what the North of England has to offer.

This eighty-day free event will begin with a spectacular launch night this Friday, June 22, and will then finish with a 'Creating the Future' closing weekend and the annual Great North Run.

What is The Great Exhibition of the North?

Summer 2018 will see both Newcastle and Gateshead become alive with art, music and design, with the Great Exhibition of the North set to be the country's biggest cultural event of the year.

This event aims to tell the rest of the globe the story of the North of England, doing so through showcasing the work of its artists, designers, innovators and local businesses.

Exhibitions, displays of artworks and innovative designs, live musical performances, presentations and talks will all be used to aid the telling of this story, showcasing art, design and culture, with a ‘trail’ being dedicated to each of these strands.

The Great North Museum, the Laing art gallery and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art will all feature in this event

The Great North Museum, the Laing art gallery and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art will all feature in this event

Newcastle and Gateshead provides the backdrop for this event, with work being showcased on both sides of the River Tyne.

The three separate Art, Design and Innovation trails will allow people to visit music venues such as the Sage Gateshead, museums such as the Great North Museum and galleries including the Laing and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

Offices, workshops and the city's bars and restaurants will also be part of this cultural celebration, contributing to the collaborative nature of this event

Newcastle and Gatehead's most iconic buildings will display parts of this exhibition, and visitors being able to see innovative designs such as the Tyne and Millenium bridge will contribute to the showcasing of the North's cultural talent.


Why has this exhibition been created?

Not only does this exhibition aim to showcase all that the North has to offer, it also wants to change and challenge preconceptions of the North by showing the pioneering and cultural impact that is has had and continues to make.

Through presenting the cultural talent of the North, reflecting on the impact that is has had so far, this exhibition hopes to show how the future is now being shaped by upcoming talent in multiple forms.

Sustainability is also a large part of this event, showing how innovative talent from the North is impacting transport, energy, healthcare and homes.

This exhibition aims to not only promote local pride and reach people from the rest of the country, but it hopes to attract people from around the world, allowing visitors to both see and experience just how much the North of England has to offer

Great exhibition of the North launch night

The exhibition will begin with an opening event, named 'Get North', which will official launch this summer-long event.

The jam- packed programme of various trails and venues across Newcastle and Gateshead will officially open at 1pm on Friday June 22, with the day then culminating in a splendid evening event down by the Quayside.

From 7pm crowds will be able to witness a variety of bands, choirs, dance, animation and street performances, all of which are free and unrestricted until 8pm, when the performers will make their way into the ticketed areas.

For many, the highlight of launch night will be the switching on of the spectacular “Angel of the North” water sculpture, which measures 80m in length and after dark, the water sculpture will turn on in sync with a beautiful light display and specially commissioned musical collaborations by Maximo Park and Kate Rusby, alongside Royal Northern Sinfonia and Darkstar.

Maximo Park will perform live from the River Tyne and a new anthem for the North will be performed live by Lemn Sissay, who is a renowned writer, poet and playwright.

Alongside the water sculpture, this launch event will then round off the evening with a splendid fireworks display.

The approximate timings for the Great Exhibition of the North evening event on Friday June 22 are:

19:00 onwards: Street entertainment commences

20:00: Gates open on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside for the ticketed event

21:30: Last entry into the site for all ticket holders

22:00: Main event

23:00: Event draws to a close

Carol Bell, Executive Director of Great Exhibition of the North, said:

“We wanted to keep the Opening Event free of charge because that’s what the Exhibition is all about this summer – accessible exhibits, live performances, displays of invention and behind-the-scenes opportunities for all audiences.

“As the 80-day programme is jam-packed full of incredible experiences, we had to make sure it started in spectacular fashion so after many months of planning we’ve created an event which we hope the whole of the North, and beyond, will be proud of”.