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Around the North in 80 days

The Great Exhibition of the North (#GetNorth2018) opened in NewcastleGateshead 22 June and runs until 9 September. It will be England’s biggest event in 2018. Catch it while you can. Paul Colston reports

Northern style is being celebrated as never before, with festival activities, family fun, immersive experiences, celebrations of past achievement and mind-expanding exploration and innovation.

If it’s industrial heritage that interests, then icons such as Stephenson’s Rocket are on display in this home town of the electric light bulb; if it’s art, then check out the Great North Museum: Hancock, and if it’s future models of development and innovation, then time spent at Newcastle Helix, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and The Sage will fill you with wonder. 

And it isn’t just a celebration of all the heritage and spirit of the North East, GetNorth2018 shows off the achievements and how the future is being forged in labs, lecture theatres, offices, studios and factories from Carlisle to Hull and from Liverpool to Blyth.

A wealth of venues in NewcastleGateshead are staging events as part of this three-month spectacular and there are plenty of opportunities to not only see the event magic close up, but to meet the people behind it all and get involved in a truly immersive project.

At the Northern Powerhouse Summit in July at the Boiler Shop, Bank of England governor Mark Carney delivered a keynote with strong economic insight.

The Discovery Centre, Life Science Centre, Chinatown, Newcastle University and St James’s Park are all major venues in on the GetNorth2018 act.

Paul Szomoru, director of Business Events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, told CN exclusively: “The Get North! opening event kicked off a spectacular evening of entertainment, with drones, fireworks, the unveiling of a water sculpture on the River Tyne, poetry and music. The crowds on the Quayside  were truly wowed.”

A buzzing city

“There’s a fantastic buzz in the city this summer, with visitors travelling from all over to enjoy the eclectic programme which celebrates Northern art, culture, design and innovation at its best,” Szomoru said. 

He continued: “We’ve immersive music experiences using geo-tagging, a graphene dress, you can stand on a wind turbine in the North Sea using VR, see the largest water sculpture in the UK performing to specially commissioned songs, Stephenson’s Rocket has made its journey home, and there’s an ever-changing poem on display outside of Theatre Royal which creates poetry based on the city’s smart data.

“There’s no doubt that the Great Exhibition of the North is boosting NewcastleGateshead’s profile, and the event offers the perfect incentive for organisers to bring their event here this summer. More long-term, it will help the city’s image as a place of cutting-edge innovation, which gives organisers more reason that ever to choose it as the destination for their events.”