Companies praised for festival success

The organiser of some of the summer’s most popular festivals has praised companies in South East Northumberland for helping to make them such a success.

The Cramlington Proper Food and Drink Festival took place at the weekend and later this month (11 and 12 August) visits Blyth.sundays-weather-did-not-stop-festival-goers-from-having-a-good-time

The team behind the events – lead by Mark and Shelley Deakin from New Hartley – also run the North East Chilli Fest, which last month attracted thousands of visitors to its new home at Meggies Burn Fields at South Beach in Blyth.

As well as local food and drink producers – including Kitty’s Ginger Wine from Blyth – the success of the festivals hinges on support behind the scenes.

Hubbway in Cramlington, for example, supplies plant, and festival security and safety is provided by Frontline Security North East, which is also based in Blyth. “Good security’s like a good football referee: you don’t really know it’s there,” said Mark Deakin.

Frontline Security was set up by Tony Ellis from Choppington in 2011 and has 20 highly trained security personnel on its books.

Tony has worked with Mark for four years and, at major festivals like the North East Chilli Fest, can have up to 15 members of his team on site.

“We take care of all the logistics and make sure that everything runs smoothly,” said Tony.  “It starts by making sure the traders and members of the public arrive safely on site and goes on from there.”

The Cramlington Proper Food and Drink Festival attracted thousands of visitors on Saturday, but rain on Sunday kept a lot of festival goers indoors.

“This summer we’ve had Proper Food and Drink Festivals in North Shields, South Shields, Whitley Bay and Cramlington, as well as The North East Chilli Fest.  That’s 13 days and this is the first time we’ve had rain, so we can’t complain,” said Mark.

As well as preparing for the Blyth festival – and The Great North Feast in South Shields over the August Bank Holiday weekend – the Deakins are already planning ahead for next year’s events.

“The Chilli Fest was a great success this year.  We’re always looking to evolve the event to provide extra value for our loyal visitors,” said Mark, who is keen to hear from local businesses or organisations who are interested in discussing sponsorship of the festival.

“Come and see me at the Blyth Proper Food and Drink Festival or drop me an e-mail at,” he said.

More details about the Proper Food and Drink Festivals can be found at