Newcastle’s top events and festivals for 2014

Now we’ve settled into the new year, it’s time to start thinking about what we want to do with ourselves – you know, all the little trips we’d like to take and events we don’t want to miss. Newcastle’s calendar is jam-packed with treats for 2014, so this is somewhere that should definitely be on your radar, whether you live locally or not.

And if you don’t, the good news is that there are plenty of affordable places to stay (and lots of swanky accommodation too, for that matter!) – you can check out a comprehensive list at NewcastleGateshead. Plus, this website has lots of information on local events, shops and attractions, so it’s well worth referring back to it for pretty much all aspects of your planning.

Without further ado, lets take a look at our top picks of events and festivals in Newcastle in 2014.

Zip the Tyne line at the BALTIC
When: March 29th – 30th
Where: BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, South Shore Road

Our first event is something you can really throw yourself into – a charity zipline at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Organised with the Stroke Association, this exciting event gives adventurers locals and visitors alike the chance to whizz down nearly 1,000 ft, from the top of the BALTIC centre to the ground, giving you amazing views of the local area.

Of course, this is a charity event, so if you want to enjoy the thrill of the zipline you need to sign up in advance and do a little fundraising – the organisers are asking each participant to raise £100.

Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2014
When: April 4th – 6th
Where: Sage Gateshead, St Marys Square

This year, the annual Gateshead International Jazz Festival will celebrate its tenth anniversary, making this event all the more special. And in case you’re not familiar with it, it’s one of the UK’s biggest jazz festivals that takes place under a single roof.

This year’s line up includes a group called the Spring Quartet, which features some of the world’s biggest names in jazz, including drummer Jack DeJohnette, bass player Esperanza Spalding, saxophonist Joe Lovano and pianist Leo Genovese. This will be the first time the group has played together in the UK.

Maker Faire 2014
When: April 26th – 27th
Where: Centre for Life, Times Square

Next up is the Maker Faire 2014. This two-day festival is the ultimate celebration of creativity – especially in the digital realm. Hackers, coders, inventors and crafters will all be flocking to this event, which includes hands-on workshops, the chance to meet creators of amazing things and talks by speakers like Cory Doctorow.

Plus, it was recently announced that one of the world’s most advanced AI projects – the Philip K Dick android – will be showcased for the very first time in the UK at this fair.

Turner and Constable: Sketching from Nature
When: Until June 28th
Where: Laing Art Gallery, New Bridge Street

Painting in the open air wasn’t always commonplace, and back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, artists including John Constable and JMW Turner were among those who began heading into the great outdoors to sketch and paint directly from life. This exhibition celebrates the achievement of these artists, showcasing more than 60 works by these artists.

As you explore, you’ll be able to see the various techniques used not only by Turner and Constable, but also by contemporaries like John Crome, George Stubbs and Francis Danby.

Newcastle Pride
Where: Town Moor
When: July 18th – 20th

Our final event is unmissable for anyone looking for something with a real joie de vivre. The Newcastle Pride weekend festival includes an amazing mix of attractions – everything from fun-runs and funfairs to talks, parades and pet shows.

Pride events are famous for their lively atmosphere, sense of fun and inclusiveness, and this year, the Newcastle festival is hoping to attract a 60,000-strong crowd. And, priding itself on the family-friendliness of the weekend, it’s something people of all ages can enjoy.

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