4 July 2017

Summer Is Sorted with Q Festival!

After thinking I was going to be on a Greek Island until August, I didn't expect to be writing about festivals at home.  Luckily I'm back in the North East and I'm blown away with the amount of great cultural activities happening in Newcastle over the summer. We've got Curious Festival celebrating LGBTQ culture this week (5th to 9th July), Masala Festival, the North East's own South Asian Arts and Culture Festival (17th to 23rd July) and the inaugural Q Festival, coming to Gateshead from 14th July to 6th August.


With events taking place in the lavishly decorated Spiegeltent in Baltic Square, you'll be transported back the 1920s whilst enjoying a massively diverse programme of (modern day) events. Laugh till you cry with some of the country's top comedians during Jesterval Comedy Festival, enjoy great live music and theatre, experience immersive cinema, sample delicious gin and wine, tap into your inner creative at craft events and have fun with your kids (baby rave, anyone)?

The stunning 1920s Spiegeltent
There's a lot packed into this new festival, which spans twenty four days from mid-July. Most events are ticketed, but everyone can enjoy the Q Festival site from midday until late every day.  You'll be pleased to hear the tent is equipped with a bar, a range of food pop-ups and a summer-themed beer garden complete with outdoor bar. There's also a box office so you can buy tickets to events if you're spontaneously inspired by the programme when you're kicking back with a cocktail.

One of the biggest draws is Jesterval, which since its launch in 2011 has attracted some of the country's top comedians. Teaming up with Q Festival for the first time, 2017 is certain to be its biggest year yet. This year sees the return of the hilarious Patrick Monahan and comedy favourite Ed Byrne (previewing his Edinburgh Festival show), as well as king of puns Gary Delaney who is bringing back his sold out show from 2016. Catch more great stand-up with Sara Pascoe (LadsLadsLads), Matt Reed's Gintellectual, local favourite Gavin Webster and Best Newcomer nominee Johnny Pelham. There are forty-five comedy events taking place, so make sure you check out the comedy programme to see if your favourite comedy hero is coming to town. Don't miss the opening Gala on Friday 14th July to get you in the mood for laughs.

Ed Byrne
Gary Delaney
 I'm looking forward to improving my blogging skills at Blogging: Create Your Own Opportunities on Monday 17th July, a networking event for the North East blogger community, marketeers, writers (a great event if you're thinking of starting your own blog). It's been a while since I wore my flapper dress, so I'll be giving it an airing at Glitz and Glamour: Getting Ready For A Party on Tuesday 25th July. Costume Historian Meredith Towne will be sharing her knowledge of fashion history with this talk on vintage costume from the 20s, 30s, 50s and 60s.

Glitz and Glamour: Getting Ready for a Party
I absolutely love Screenage Kicks' immersive cinema events, and their Q Festival offering is not to be missed. Venture into 'a world of pure imagination' with their screening of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory - expect live music, themed food and drinks, LOADS of chocolate, psychedelic costumes and decor - who will you come as? (I'm thinking Violet Beauregard).

Screen age Kicks: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Live music fans will love the Jumping' Hot Club's evening of country, folk, blues and roots on Tuesday 1st August. 80s kids (like me) should backcomb for volume and head to the 80s Social Club on Friday 4th August, expect retro electro, neon everything and talented local DJs, hosted by local creative entrepreneur the Culture Vulture.

Like a drink? Gin lovers need to mark the weekend of 21st and 22nd July in their diaries. The Steampunk Gin Festival is showcasing the best regional, national and international gins over three sessions (one day time and two evening). Enjoy the botanicals with a backdrop of live music and burlesque. Oenophiles (wine lovers - I learned a new word) will be spoilt for choice at Carruthers & Kent Summer Wine Fair on Sunday 6th August. Sample over ninety wines, champagnes, sherries and ports and learn more about food pairing (to book call 0191 213 1818).

Steampunk Gin Festival (Can't wait to try that tonic)
There's lots going on for families and kids over the holidays too. There's no chance of missing out on comedy, Jesterval's kids and family programme features a local and international circus, and TV celebrities Big Howard Little Howard. Keep the kids occupied and creative with The Breakfast Club Coffee Rave (might check out this 80s baby rave myself), Storytime in the enchanting Spiegeltent, break dancing camp with the awesome Bad Taste Cru and an immersive screening of Dumbo by Screenage Kicks (again, tempted - can I sneak in? I might have to borrow my nephew).

The kids will love an immersive screening of Dumbo (you know you will too) 
There is so much going on that I haven't got the space to mention here, please spend time checking out the programme online or if you pick one up on your travels sit down with a nice cup of tea (or gin) and start planning. I don't even want to mention the Closing Party on 5th August as it makes me sad, but it's sure to be epic. Gateshead is definitely the place to be right now.

For the full Q Festival programme click here 

For the Jesterval programme click here

Find out how to get there

Follow Q Festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and don't forget to use the hashtags #QFest and #Baltic Quays when you attend!
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