Crowds flock to North Shields food festival

Stuart Douglas and Chris Mayne, from the Tynemouth Coffee Company, at the North Shields Proper Food and Drink Festival.
Stuart Douglas and Chris Mayne, from the Tynemouth Coffee Company, at the North Shields Proper Food and Drink Festival.

Thousands of people flocked to North Shields over the bank holiday weekend for a popular food festival.

Glorious weather ensured there was a bumper crowd at the North Shields Proper Food and Drink Festival, held in Northumberland Square.

This was the seventh time it had been held in the town and the first of this summer’s six Proper Food and Drink Festivals.

Among the themes at the festival was reducing the reliance on plastic.

Taking the lead is the Tynemouth Coffee Company, which has attended every festival since it started in 2012.

Stuart Douglas, one of the company’s partners, said: “Our cups, lids, straws are all compostable. All of our packaging is cardboard. We don’t have anything that’s plastic. Our coffee bags are aluminium so they can be re-cycled as well.

“It was quite expensive for us to do this, but we had to go with it because it was the ethical thing to do. It’s got to be the way forward.”

Stuart said the Proper Food and Drink Festivals had played vital role in marketing the business, which is about to move to a bigger base in Back Stormont Street in North Shields. It will house a roastery, a barista training area and meeting rooms.

The Proper Food and Festival returns to North Tyneside next month when it visits the Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay, on June 16 and 17.

Other festivals lined up include Seven Oaks Park, Cramlington, on July 28 and 28; and Ridley Park, Blyth, on August 11 and 12.

Another familiar figure at the festivals is Alyson Archer – a former manager with Greggs – who started Simply Cheesecake five years ago first as a hobby now as a full-time business.

Alyson said: “I ran it from home for the first three years and then it just got to the point where I couldn’t manage it in the house any more.

“We had to get rid of wardrobes in spare rooms and put fridges in there. It was taking over life in the house, so it was time make the jump and moving it into commercial premises was the best thing I’ve ever done.”