An eight-week programme of events celebrating Northumberland is taking place this summer while millions of extra visitors are in the region for the Great Exhibition of the North.
Launched today at Hexham Abbey, Great Northumberland 2018 is 56 days of arts, culture and heritage events across the county.
The opening showcase, which will provide a taster of what else is to come over the summer, will take place in Hexham on Saturday, July 7, and a celebration of the county’s musical traditions and talents will bring Great Northumberland to a close in Berwick on Saturday, September 1.
It is being organised by Northumberland County Council to tie in with the Great Exhibition of the North in Newcastle and Gateshead, but the authority is keen for it to involve everyone.
Council leader Peter Jackson said: “Today is a call for action because we want everyone to work together in partnership.” He added that by working together, it can become ‘something quite special’.
The extensive programme of events is only a starting point and venues and organisations from across Northumberland are encouraged to get involved. Events can be submitted via the website – www.greatnorthumberland.co.uk – to be listed, featured and promoted.
Coun Jackson said: “With the spotlight firmly on our region this summer, we wanted to showcase what Northumberland has to offer, encouraging visitors and residents to explore our stunning county.
“Great Northumberland will celebrate our art, culture, heritage and innovation. Today we are unveiling our packed programme of free, family-friendly events for the first time and we want everyone to be a part of it.”
Performances and events will be taking place at the likes of Lindisfarne Castle, Cragside, Vindolanda, Cherryburn, Alnwick’s Bailiffgate Museum, Woodhorn in Ashington, Cheeseburn Sculpture near Stamfordham, and in Blyth.
Coun Cath Homer, the council’s cabinet member for culture, arts, tourism and leisure, said: “Great Northumberland is an exciting mix of heritage events, new exhibitions and commissions, and live performances covering all corners of the county.
“Northumberland is a place where everyone is welcome and where there is truly something for all. We want everyone to get involved and support Great Northumberland so if you’re an event organiser, tourist attraction or venue, we want to hear about your events this summer.
As well as the website – greatnorthumberland.co.uk, the programme has a presence on social media – www.facebook.com/GreatNland and @GreatN_land on Twitter and Instagram, where the hashtag #GN18 can be used.
By Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service