Free food festival makes Newcastle debut this weekend

A free food festival – which has been welcomed in North East towns for the past seven years – makes its first visit to Newcastle this weekend.

Gosforth’s McCracken Park, the home of Northern Football Club, will be the venue for fourth and final Proper Food and Drink Festival of 2019.

This summer the event has already been held in North Shields, South Shields and Whitley Bay, where there was a record crowd.Behind the scenes at The Proper Food and Drink Festival

The Gosforth Proper Food and Drink Festival runs from 10am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday and visitors will find McCracken Park transformed from a rugby ground into a festival site featuring food stalls, street food trucks, beer and cocktail bars.  There will also be plenty of live music.

“Bringing the event to Newcastle is long overdue,” said Mark Deakin who, with his wife Shelley, runs the festival.

“McCracken Park is a great location and the weekend is going to be very special.  It’s our first time in Newcastle and the last Proper Food and Drink Festival of the summer – so we’re determined to make it a memorable occasion.”

David Giles, the general manager of Northern Football Club, said: “There is a real sense of excitement throughout the club about hosting the festival. We hope this can become an annual event in Gosforth placing the club at the heart of the local community. The club house will also be open and will host live music and Newcastle Utd book signing featuring past players.”

The name of the festival reflects the Deakins’ Shelley and Mark Deakin - the couple behind The Proper Food and Drink Festivalsaim to provide quality without fuss. Meals and snacks – inspired by menus from across the world – are freshly cooked and served from the fleet of food trucks. Bars will quench visitors’ thirsts and numerous stall-holders will be selling food and drink to take home to try.

The first Proper Food and Drink Festival took place in North Shields in 2012 and has returned there every year since.  South Shields and Whitley Bay are other regular venues.  It has also been held in Blyth, Cramlington and Gateshead.

The Deakins and well-known local event organiser Nigel Holliday are bringing a new event – Feast by the Sea – to the Spanish City Plaza in Whitley Bay over three weekends later this summer.

“It will have a similar feel to the Proper Food and Drink Festival but will also offer some very different things.  We’re really excited about it and can’t wait to return.”

The first Feast by the Sea takes place on 20th and 21st July. Others follow on 10th and 11th August and 7th and 8th September. All will open from 11am until 10pm on Saturday and from 11am to 7pm on Sunday. Admission is free.

There will be giant yurts, stretch tents, street food trucks, bars and stalls and each weekend visitors will be given a different taste of the best street food available in the UK.

There will also be live music, entertainment, a vintage family games area and lifestyle talks about a range of subjects – including food, cocktails and re-cycling. The events will be environmentally friendly. Single use plastic items, such as straws, are banned and producers will be encouraged to use biodegradable containers.