1. South Tyneside Festival
The South Tyneside Festival is back and it’s better than ever before. There are four concerts taking place this summer with some of the biggest names in pop, RnB and reggae flocking to the region. We’re talking The Proclaimers, Lindisfarne, Tony Hadley, UB40 and the X Factor stars – can we get a (Ben) Haenow? And it’s all free.
South Tyneside Festival:10–31 July, Bents Park, South Shields, www.visitsouthtyneside.co.uk
2. Underneath The Stars
This bold new family festival – offering music and arts aplenty – is the brainchild of Barnsley born-and-bred folk singer-songwriter Kate Rusby and the team behind one of Yorkshire’s favourite attractions, Cannon Hall Open Farm. Forget all you thought you knew about festivals, here you can gaze at stars in the planetarium, clown around in a circus skills workshop, bang your own drum with the Pennine Rumblers and even learn how to swing dance like Gatsby. After all that, you can rest your sleepy head in a boutique pre-pitched bell tent – who said camping couldn’t be glamorous?
22–24 July, Cannon Hall Farm, Barnsley, www.underthestarsfest.co.uk
3. Potfest in the Park
Celebrating ceramics in style, Potfest in the Park showcases the work of over 100 exhibitors from across Europe, each with their unique style but sharing the same passion for working with clay. The venue itself is stunning – think walled gardens, topiary terraces and plenty of surrounding woodland walks – whilst the festival itself takes place in various marquees, as well as a display of competition pieces on the lawn. This year’s competition theme is ‘Bird Bath – Flight of Fancy’ and we just can’t wait to see what this talented bunch have created.
29–31 July, Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith, www.potfest.co.uk
4. Hull Freedom Festival
As Hull dusts itself down and rummages through the wardrobe for its Sunday best as its year in the sun as City of Culture in 2017 draws closer, it’s a great time to get a feel for the place. The Freedom Festival has become a much-cherished fixture since its inception in 2008, bringing art, spoken word, drama and dance, plus comedy from the likes of Simon Munnery. There are loads of opportunities for local artists to take part too – keep an eye on their website for the chance to get involved.
Hull Freedom Festival: 2–4 September, Hul, www.freedomfestival.co.uk
5. Times Square Weekender
Prepare yourself for the roar when legendary DJ Fatboy Slim takes to the stage for the first Times Square Weekender held in the heart of Newcastle. One of the most highly anticipated events of the summer, this epic outdoor festival will also see performances by local favourites Maximo Park and Britpop legends Ocean Colour Scene.
Times Square Weekender: 29–31 July, Times Square, Newcastle, www.yourfutureisdigital.com
This one’s rather special... A festival on the beach! Get your fill of live music from some of the country’s best up-and-coming artists, including Newcastle’s Bitter Sweet Hearts and local ska group Third Beat Drop, then camp beneath the stars on one of the North East’s most beautiful beaches. Top it all off with a pint of Northumberland’s finest – perfect.
CoquetFest: 2–4 September, Druridge Bay Country Park, www.coquetfest.co.uk
7. Riverside Live
One day, 12 hours of non-stop music, that can only mean one thing – Riverside Live is back. And what an incredible line-up: The Ordinary Boys will be spitting indie rhythms, The Undertones will be offering Teenage Kicks, Craig Charles will dish up the best of funk and soul, then Jamaican legend Lee “Scratch” Perry will wrap up with dub and reggae. Hurray.
Riverside Live, 28 August, Riverside Park, Chester le Street, www.riversidelive.org
8. Lindisfarne Festival
Returning for its second year the line-up features Reef, British Sea Power, the North East’s very own indie rock band, the Little Comets and a host of other great bands.
Lindisfarne Festival: 1-4 September, visit www.lindisfarnefestival.com
9. Whitby Folk Week
A seven-day celebration of folk, boasting over 600 events including workshops, concerts, singarounds, dances, and street entertainment. Whether you’re a regular attendee or new to the coast’s foot-tapping, hip-shaking festival, you’re in for a treat this year. Some of folk’s biggest names will be taking to the stage, including The Askew Sisters, Bernard Wrigley, and Colum Sands as well as story telling from Dave Tonge and Ian Douglas. What are you waiting for? It’s time to boogie.
Whitby Folk Week, 20–26 August, www.whitbyfolk.co.uk
10. SummerTyne Americana Festival
Celebrating all things American from chilli dogs to bluegrass, soul and Southern rock music, SummerTyne is back. This year there’s performances by Striking Matches, Ward Thomas and Imelda May on the main stage, while an explosion of gospel, blues and country will take place on the free outdoor stage. With exclusive boutiques and street food by some of the North East’s most popular restaurants, this one’s sure to bring a smile to your face.
22–24 July, Sage Gateshead, www.sagegateshead.com