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Things To Do

Festival Season in the City: A Guide to Newcastle's Festival Calendar

Our round-up of some of the most exciting events in the city's forthcoming festival season

10 mins Last updated:
Festival Season in the City (Image: Lost Minds Festival)

Now we’re easing into spring, festival season is almost upon us and as ever, Newcastle is stuffed to the gills with all sorts of fabulous events.

With old favourites returning and some new happenings added to the calendar too, there are festivals celebrating food and drink and the arts, and of course lots of festivals full of exciting musical line-ups.

It’s going to be a busy summer in the city for sure, so we’ve gathered together some of the most exciting upcoming festivals for you to peruse and get tickets for.

Food & Drink

Newcastle Beer & Cider Festival Newcastle Beer & Cider Festival

Newcastle Beer & Cider Festival @ Northumbria University Student’s Union

CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) has been active in the North East for fifty years this year, so it’s appropriate that the Newcastle Beer & Cider Festival is happening once again at Northumbria University (the 46th festival in all). A packed schedule of musical entertainment (the likes of Rob Heron, We Are Champion, the Byker Hillbillies, The Steamboat Players) and a rapper dance performance from the Monkseaton Morris Dancers provide the backdrop to four days of beer and cider – more than 100 of the former and 40 of the latter – as well as all manner of other tipples. The various ticket options all include drinks tokens.

10th – 13th April, £16 (CAMRA members) / £19 (general admission)

Craft & Crust Festival Craft & Crust Festival

Craft & Crust Festival @ Newcastle Civic Centre

This month the Craft & Crust Festival is coming to the city for the first time in the marvellous surroundings of Newcastle Civic Centre. There will be all sorts of drinks – beer, cider, gin and more – from a mixture of big brands and independent brewers, while the food offering will be anything that comes in – or with – a crust. So think pizzas, pies, pasties and the rest. There’ll be music and other entertainment too.

13th April, from £12.50

Newcastle Food & Drink Festival Newcastle Food & Drink Festival

Newcastle Food & Drink Festival @ Exhibition Park

This brand new festival looks like becoming a firm fixture in the Newcastle foodie calendar. Taking place across the May Day Weekend in Exhibition Park and with an emphasis on local food, drink and talent, the festival offers chef demonstrations, traders, live music, international street food stalls, kids entertainment, comedy, magic and more! The festival’s charity partner is Tyneside & Northumberland MIND, so mental health and well-being will be represented too. The market stalls are bound to be a particular highlight, with dozens of traders offering everything from chocolates to scotch eggs, cheese to vodka and much more. Among the many musical acts are We Are Champion, Leeds City Stompers, The Climate Stripes and I Am Meghan! It looks like being a busy and exciting weekend, and hopefully the first of many.

4th - 6th May, day tickets from £5.95, weekend tickets from £9.95

Tyneside Vegan & Music Festival @ Domain, Northumbria NUSU

This annual celebration of all things vegan is back at Northumbria University Students' Union this May. There’ll be food and drink stalls, plus all sorts of ethical traders (clothing, crafts, home supplies, animal rights and the rest), demos and activities and a day of poetry and music too. It runs from 11am – 4pm.

11th May, £3

Bite Back Festival Bite Back Festival

Bite Back Festival for Cancer Research @ Wylam Brewery

How does a food festival raising money for a fantastic cause whet your appetite? Bite Back is the brainchild of Sian & Cal Byerley - owners of acclaimed Northumberland restaurant Pine - and is set to bring 15 Michelin-starred chefs from across UK to Wylam Brewery to cook up some seriously tasty street food while raising stacks of cash to support the amazing work that Cancer Research does. The chef line-up is being announced slowly but currently you can look forward to Tom Shepherd (Upstairs), Ian Waller and Cal Byerley (Restaurant Pine), Ryan Blackbourn (The Old Stamp House), Nathan Davies (SY23), Kenny Atkinson (House Of Tides / Solstice), Josh Overington (Restaurant Mýse) and Pam Brunton (Inver). Entry is free but tokens priced at £6 each are needed to purchase food.

9th June, free entry (tokens cost £6 each)

Gin, Rum & Vodka Festival Gin, Rum & Vodka Festival

Gin, Rum & Vodka Festival @ Boiler Shop

Gin is probably the most popular it’s been since the days of Hogarth, and this big festival at Newcastle’s appropriately Victorian Boiler Shop aims to showcase the best the domestic gin industry has to offer. But rum and vodka get a look in too, and the sampling tickets allow you to try tipples from a vast range of distillers and producers. As well as samples, there will be bars offering cocktails and beer as well as the spirits, and there’ll be music and entertainment all day too. There are two sessions on the day – midday to 4pm and 6pm to 10pm – and your ticket also gets you a tote bag with a sampling cup and more.

22nd June, £17.50


Aelius Alternative (Jupiter Strange by Elvira Morris) Aelius Alternative (Jupiter Strange by Elvira Morris)

Aelius Alternative @ Various Locations

Newcastle has a strong reputation for a thriving and evolving underground music scene, which every now and then throws up a band or artist that go on to conquer the charts and stages of the UK and beyond. And it’s festivals like Aelius Alternative – which makes it debut this year – that help get those bands noticed. Taking place across three city centre venues (The Globe, Head Of Steam, Mosaic Tap), the festival has an impressive and varied line-up of established and upcoming local talent and is followed by an after-party at The Globe to keep you dancing till the early hours.

6th April, from £17

In The Park Festival In The Park Festival

In the Park @ Leazes Park

In The Park Festival is taking place in leafy Leazes Park on the May Day bank holiday weekend – on Friday and Sunday, with Lost Minds (see below) taking over on the Saturday. The Friday event will see Tom Grennan supported by Brooke Combe and a soon-to-be announced special guest. Sunday has Rag’N’Bone Man with support from Red Rum Club, 5onger, and Liam Fender, It looks like a fun couple of days, and kids aged 11 and over are welcome too!

3rd and 5th May, from £55.95

Lost Minds Festival Lost Minds Festival

Lost Minds @ Leazes Park

If the In The Park events either side seem fairly sedate, Lost Minds is another matter. A ten-hour extravaganza of dance music greats across multiple stages with high-end production values, Lost Minds is clearly going to go off! The line-up includes the likes of Ben Hemsley, Ben Nicky, Example, Ferry Corsten and many many more, from trance to hard dance and beyond. There’ll be a festival village and rides, a secret garden, art installations and more, and an official after-party at World HQ from 10.30pm – 4am.

4th May, from £65

Great British Tribute Festival @ Times Square

Tribute bands are such an important part of the British cultural landscape that they even get their own festivals now, like this two-day event in Times Square on the late May bank holiday weekend. Where else can you see the likes of Queen, Sam Fender, Elton John, Madness, ABBA and Blur (or something very much like them) in one weekend on one stage, and still have change from a twenty?!

25th – 26th May, from £15

Trick Fest Trick Fest

TrickFest @ Town Moor

Brought to you by the team behind LooseFest, Trickfest is hitting Town Moor for the first time this year, on a bill headlined by local DJ hero Patrick Topping. Details are still being finalised but expect a day full of fresh house and techno sounds on the edge of the city.

3rd August, from £50.40

90s Baby Fest 90s Baby Fest

90s Baby Festival @ Town Moor

The night after TrickFest, the same team are bringing 90s Baby Festival to the Town Moor. This is a full-on nostalgia trip for people who never recovered from raving in the nineties. There’s a packed line-up of pop and dance acts scheduled to appear on the main stage– the likes of Ronan Keating, Blue, Eternal, Atomic Kitten, Blazin’ Squad and more – while the Clubland stage has ravetastic outfits like DJ Sash, Ultrabeat, N-Force and Friday Night Posse, plus a team of MCs.

4th August, from £44.24

Noughty 90s @ Leazes Park

Taking place in Leazes Park, which is having a busy summer, the Noughty 90s Festival aims to recapture the spirit of the nineties and noughties with three stages of nostalgic acts. B*Witched headline the pop stage with other artists including East 17, Gareth Gates and N-Trance, while the Dance Stage headliner is Darren Styles, with other acts booked to appear including Basshunter, Ultrabeat, and Love Inc. Stage 3 has a host of rave acts and there are other attractions like a roller disco to keep everyone buzzing!

24th August, from £38.75

Arts & Culture

The Late Shows The Late Shows

The Late Shows @ Various Venues

The Late Shows really are one of the greatest things to happen in Newcastle all year - two evenings of special happenings in venues, art spaces and the like across the city. As with previous years, the Friday night is focused on the thriving artistic community around the Ouseburn, while Saturday broadens out to the rest of Newcastle and into Gateshead. From printmakers to art exhibitions, live music to bars, crafting to historical tours, The Late Shows really does show the best Newcastle has to offer.

17th – 18th May, free

Pride In The City Pride In The City

Pride In The City @ Various Venues 

This year’s Pride Festival is  is focused on the city centre, aiming to show the Newcastle queer community as ‘unapologetically visible’, with many of the activities centred around Times Square. Running from July 19th – 21st, the Times Square stage has big names like Whigfield, Fat Tony, Angie Brown and Ginger Johnson while there’s a Curious Arts Stage at Northern Stage, a Family & Youth Zone at the Assembly Rooms, a Health & Well-Being Zone at the Civic Centre and a Sport & Active Zone at Sport Central. Meanwhile, the Market Village will be at the Monument, with stalls, campaigners, activities and more. The traditional Pride March will move from the Civic Centre on Saturday (more than 15,000 people turned out in the rain last year!) and there will be a closing candelight vigil at Times Square on Sunday at 9pm where we can remember those we’ve lost.

19th – 21st July, Times Square day tickets from £7.50

Novum 24 Novum 24

NOVUM @ Newcastle Civic Centre and more

Last year’s inaugural Novum festival was an exciting new fixture on the cultural calendar, and this year’s second edition hopes to build on that success. Novum ’24 promises to be even more remarkable, using more venues (including Great North) and a wealth of artistic talent – local, national and international. Events across the four days include performances from musicians like Flamingods, Ruth Lyon, Knats and India Arkin; a Triple Threat Breakdancing competition; a performance of circus skills at Shy Bairns Get ‘Owt; an aerial dance performance Wild – Motionhouse; and so much more. New events are being added all the time, so keep an eye on the website.

8th – 11th August, ticketing varies so check the website

Newcastle Mela Newcastle Mela

Newcastle Mela @ Exhibition Park 

Newcastle’s annual Mela is always one of the most colourful and vibrant cultural events on the calendar, and this year’s 30th anniversary event will be no exception. Details are still being finalised  but expect two days of music, art, food, dance and more in Exhibition Park, celebrating the cultures of the city’s Pakistani, Bengali, Indian and other South Asian communities. It’s an inclusive friendly family event that everyone will love.

25th – 26th August, free

This might be the city’s biggest festival season ever, with barely a weekend passing without some big event in one of Newcastle’s open spaces or cultural centres. From brilliant representations of queer or ethnic communities to arts events and of course a steady run of big music events, there’s a dozen reasons to get off your sofa and out into the sun this spring and summer.

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