Three new North East festivals celebrating best food and drink

Three new North East festivals, celebrating the very best in food and drink, will take place next year.
 Tim Monkhouse
Organisers Mark and Shelley Deakin have confirmed that for the first time their ever popular Proper Food and Drink Festivals – which are all free to enter – will visit Blyth and Gateshead. The festivals will also return to North Shields, South Shields, Whitley Bay and Cramlington.

Details for a new event are also being finalised. It is called The Great North Feast and will run from 25 to 28 August in Bents Park, South Shields.

“The Great North Feast is going to be huge and amazingly exciting,” said Mark. “It’s going to be a massive celebration of food and drink but it will also bring together the community for a social eating experience which has never been seen before in the North East. We’re also be trying to break loads of records.”

The first Proper Food and Drink Festival took place in North Shields in 2012. The events have attracted thousands of visitors and been held in an increasing number of towns in the North East.

“We’re always a little apprehensive about bringing the festival to new places,” said Shelley. “But they’ve always gone so well. Last year’s first one in Cramlington was incredibly popular. Saltwell Park in Gateshead will be a fantastic location and we’ll be returning to Ridley Park in Blyth, where we ran the Northumberland Village during Blyth’s Tall Ships Regatta, and that was great.”

Shelley and Mark Deakin (1024x683)

Throughout each day of all the North East festivals there will be live music and a large choice of hot food and drink to help make them days out to remember.

“I think we’ve got the recipe just about right,” she said. “We want to appeal to the growing number of people who appreciate and enjoy beautifully produced food and drink, but also couples and families who just want a great day out.”

The events have also proved to be a successful shop window for producers, generating enough interest to help some turn their passion into a living.

“We’ve seen a lot of people develop and refine their offer and we’ve shared with them the great satisfaction of seeing people queuing up to buy their product,” said Mark.

“I love Christmas as much as anybody, but at this time of the year when it’s cold and dark you also need something to look forward to and note in your diary. That’s why we’re announcing all this now.”

The North Shields Proper Food Festival is being held in Northumberland Square on the May Bank Holiday weekend (29 and 30 April, 1 May). It then moves to Bents Park in South Shields for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (27, 28 and 29 May). It is in Whitley Bay for 17 and 18 June (Father’s Day) before Cramlington on 29 and 30 July. In August Gateshead’s Saltwell Park stages its first Proper Food and Drink Festival on 5 and 6 August before it also makes its debut in Ridley Park in Blyth the following weekend (12 and 13 August).


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