Final preparations are now underway for the launch of the Great Exhibition of the North.
This exhibition will showcase the best of what the region, and the rest of the North of England, has to offer, including art, culture, design and innovation.
This eighty day free event will run from June 22- September 9, beginning with a spectacular launch night this Friday, June 22.
This event will then finish with a 'Creating the Future' closing weekend and the annual Great North Run.
Great exhibition of the North launch night
The exhibition will begin with an opening event, named 'Get North', which will official launch this summer-long event.
The jam- packed programme of various trails and venues across Newcastle and Gateshead will officially open at 1pm on Friday June 22, with the day then culminating in a splendid evening event down by the Quayside.
From 7pm crowds will be able to witness a variety of bands, choirs, dance, animation and street performances, all of which are free and unrestricted until 8pm, when the performers will make their way into the ticketed areas.
The first showing of the UK's largest water sculpture will feature at this event and will continue to be shown throughout the summer, performing hourly (10am-11pm) every day of the Exhibition.
For many, the highlight of launch night will be the switching on of the spectacular “Angel of the North” water sculpture, which measures 80m in length.
There will also be three specially commissioned soundtracks available to download and after dark, the water sculpture will turn on in sync with a beautiful light display and specially commissioned musical collaborations by Maximo Park and Kate Rusby, alongside Royal Northern Sinfonia and Darkstar.
Maximo Park will perform live from the River Tyne and a new anthem for the North will be performed live by Lemn Sissay, who is a renowned writer, poet and playwright.
Alongside the water sculpture, this launch event will then round off the evening event with a splendid fireworks display, which is always a visually superb sight given the dramatic backdrop of the Tyne and Millenium Bridge.
The fireworks are set to get underway at 22.50pm and should last for around 10 minutes.
There will be a series of one-off performances and surprises to enjoy over the opening weekend, including a show about Northern women from stand-up poet Kate Fox, a musical performance of life in the North with Trailblazing, a trio of choirs, and a large-scale sonic artwork spilling onto the streets, which will capture the North’s passion for football.
The approximate timings for the Great Exhibition of the North evening event on Friday June 22 are:
19:00 onwards: Street entertainment commences
20:00: Gates open on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside for the ticketed event
21:30: Last entry into the site for all ticket holders
22:00: Main event
23:00: Event draws to a close
Carol Bell, Executive Director of Great Exhibition of the North, said:
“We wanted to keep the Opening Event free of charge because that’s what the Exhibition is all about this summer – accessible exhibits, live performances, displays of invention and behind-the-scenes opportunities for all audiences.
“As the 80-day programme is jam-packed full of incredible experiences, we had to make sure it started in spectacular fashion so after many months of planning we’ve created an event which we hope the whole of the North, and beyond, will be proud of”.