I get excited whenever my weekend is extended by a day thanks to a bank holiday, but even more so in August as the possibility of sunshine and summer events make me super giddy!
The next bank holiday weekend is just around the corner and there are loads of ways to make the most of your time in Geordieland. I’ve rounded up eleven of the coolest, quirkiest and most exciting events (I know ten would have been neater but I just couldn’t narrow it down).
Now all I have to do is try and squeeze as many as possible in to my three days off work!
Bents Park has been alive with music this summer and the Fake Festival promises to keep South Shields partying with world-class tributes to Kasabian, Blondie & The Stone Roses plus four amazing local bands. The bands might be fake but the atmosphere definitely won’t be! It will be the second time the festival has taken place here and last year revellers gave it a big thumbs up! No need to worry about the weather either as the bands will perform in a huge marquee!
A day at the races is usually something that’s enjoyed more by grown ups but the Blaydon Races Fun Day is perfect for families with children as there’s so much more than horse racing on offer! Kids can meet some of their favourite characters including Bumblebee from Transformers and Elsa from Frozen. There’ll be a funfair too, plus face painters, pony rides and cheerleaders. Parents will also be delighted to hear that under 18’s go free!
I’ve been excited about this spectacular event in Blyth ever since I heard about it a few months ago. In truth, it’s actually dozens of events taking place across four days and there really will be something for everyone. If the breathtaking sight of thirty of the world’s largest Tall Ships isn’t enough for you then you can also enjoy live music, fairground rides, grand parades, seaside sculptures, local food and drink and fabulous fireworks! Something tells me that the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta will be creating special memories for many people this August bank holiday weekend.
Imagine snuggling up to watch a movie beneath the stars on the roof of Newcastle Castle! Bula Bula gives you the chance to watch iconic movies in an iconic location with an audience of only 60 lucky film lovers for each screening! On Friday they are showing the classic thriller The Shining at 8pm and at the same time on Saturday, the last screening of the season will be Old Boy (subtitled). You can take your own booze to the events and the £15 ticket price includes free popcorn and the use of cosy blankets.
Times Square (in front of the Life Science Centre in Newcastle) has played host to some huge names in music recently. Fat Boy Slim celebrated his birthday by entertaining the crowds with one of his legendary DJ sets a few Fridays ago and I went along on a Saturday night to see Ocean Colour Scene perform one of my favourite 90’s albums, Moseley Shoals. The fantastic atmosphere is set to return when Glasgow’s finest, Primal Scream take to the outdoor stage on Friday 26 August. Super Furry Animals are supporting too! I can’t think of a better way to kick start the bank holiday weekend.
If you’ve still got any wear left in your dancing shoes by Sunday then get yourself to Hoochie Coochie for a full day of Northern Soul classics being spun by some of the North East’s finest DJ’s. Hoochie Coochie has a mighty reputation for its SOS (soul on Sunday) events but when it’s not a school night, even more soulies come out to play, making the atmosphere truly special. The music starts at 3pm and entrance is free. (If it at this point you are wondering what ‘what on Earth is Northern Soul?’ then look it up on YouTube immediately, you can thank me later!)
One of the North East’s most unique venues is hosting one of the weekend’s most unique events on Friday… The Pitch promises to be an unusual, football themed fun day with a chance to play the beautiful game in a beautiful setting, for free!
The indoor concourse will be transformed in to a 5-a-side football pitch and Newcastle United Foundation coaches will be on hand to provide expert tuition. Don’t worry though, The Sage has not forgotten it’s musical roots, talented musicians from Sage Gateshead will be coming up with chants to be sung proudly from the venue’s balconies. There will also be drama from Unfolding Theatre and football themed graffiti art outside in the Arches. There’s no need to sign up in advance – just turn up and play!
This year is the 40th anniversary of the formation of the Sex Pistols and the birth of punk. So the Tyneside Cinema (my favourite cinema EVER!) has dedicated the bank holiday weekend to celebrating the influence of punk on cinema. There’ll be a short series of events, curated by artist Graham Dolphin, including gigs, films and exhibitions.
I recently had a wonderful family day out at Brocksbushes Fruit Farm (read about it HERE), it’s a fabulous fruit farm where you can pick your own and the Farm Shop and Tea Rooms are also well worth a visit. Now I have another reason to visit thanks to the members of Northumberland’s archery team who will be giving visitors the chance to practice their skills when they bring their equipment to the farm for a fun afternoon on the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend.
I am actually kicking myself that I have still not enjoyed a pint of Wylam Beer from the Brewery’s new home at the Palace of Arts in Exhibition Park, I mean, just look at it, the venue is stunning! Well, this bank holiday weekend I have the perfect opportunity as The Happenings returns for a three day celebration of craft beer, street food & live music. The line up hasn’t been announced yet but I’m sure there’ll be some awesome local bands on the bill.
When the circus comes to Toon I can’t help but feel curious about what’s going on inside the huge big top on the Town Moor. The Moscow State Circus features fearless daredevils and amazing acrobats that I always think must have the most interesting life stories. I’d love to spend a day with them behind the scenes, but I’ll make do with a ticket to the show instead!
UPDATE: I’ve only gone and found a 12th event for you… Summer Storeys is back on Barrack Road for the bank holiday weekend, you can read about my visit to the launch here: https://www.lifeingeordieland.com/random/friday-fun-at-summer-storeys/