A Year of festivals set to lift the North East of England’s profile on the national stage and boost the regional economy, has been announced.
The Festival of the North East will take across the region in June 2013 and is the brainchild of world-famous Northumberland smallpipes player and recording artist, Kathryn Tickell.
She sees the festival as a means to showcase the innovation and creativity of the North East.
It is being supported across the region and will take place before the arrival of the Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham, around which a programme of high profile events is also being planned.
The year 2013 will also mark the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden, with many events and activities taking place in north Northumberland.
The British Science Festival, Europe’s largest and most high profile public science event, will also be hosted in Newcastle in September 2013.
The news that the fair will take place on Tyneside has been described as ” a real coup” by Professor Ella Ritchie, deputy vice-chancellor of Newcastle University.
Kathryn told The Journal, Newcastle, that the idea for the Festival of the North East came when she was appointed artistic director of Folkworks, the folk music promoter which is now part of The Sage Gateshead.
“It just seemed such an obvious thing to do because there is so much great stuff in the North East. You don’t have to be arty to be involved. It’s just about having pride in where you come from because there is so much to be proud of in the North East.
“When we found out about the Lindisfarne Gospels coming back, we thought that would be a fantastic opportunity to make the festival happen.”
The gospels were produced in the 7th or 8th century on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and are considered to be the finest example of a style of religious art which combined Celtic and Anglo Saxon elements and themes.
Lee Hall, writer of Billy Elliot and The Pitmen Painters, is supporting the Festival of the North East.
The preliminary steering committee is being chaired by Anthony Sargent, general director of The Sage Gateshead and a director of previous festivals in Birmingham.
He said the festival, along with all the other events in the region,will help strengthen the North East’s position in light of a sudden drop-off in activity after the London 2012 Olympics.
Organisations are now being asked to put forward ideas for the Festival of the North East.
Content and creativity should focus not just on today’s events and activities, but also on past activity since the Lindisfarne Gospels were written hundreds of years ago.