Get North! Opening Event

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The magic begins on Friday 22 June with the spectacular Get North! Opening weekend.

Lemn Sissay - Get North! Opening Event

Opening day celebrations will offer your first chance to explore what’s going on at the Exhibition hubs and along the trails.

Tickets will go on general release from Tuesday 22 May at 10am.

Day time

Launching at 1pm with the sound of Teesside-based artist Steve Messam’s Whistle which will resound across the city, our Great Exhibition of the North trails and venues will be officially open for you to start exploring.

Venues will remain open until dusk falls and as the evening draws in, a whirl of colour, live music from bands and choirs, dance, animation and performances will spill onto the streets as visitors are drawn to the Quayside for a special evening event revealing major Great Exhibition of the North pieces.


Audiences will line the Quayside to witness the first dramatic display of the UK’s largest water sculptures on the River Tyne.

  • This 80m long fountain, reaching the height of the Tyne Bridge, will perform to a soundtrack of three specially commissioned music compositions by Maximo Park and Kate Rusby with Royal Northern Sinfonia and Darkstar.
  • We’re delighted to announce, that Mercury prize nominated northern rock band, Maximo Park, will be performing live from the River Tyne.
  • A new anthem for the North will be unveiled and performed live by renowned writer, poet and playwright Lemn Sissay
  • The newly commissioned film – designed to take visitors on a journey through the innovative North – will have its world premiere in large scale.

Over the course of the opening weekend a series of one-off performances and surprises will also pop up around the trails.

How to get tickets for the Opening Event

You are all invited to experience Great Exhibition of the North for the first time from 1pm across Newcastle and Gateshead. The evening event on the Quayside is also FREE, but it will be ticketed and available to book via this page. Listen up, this is the important bit.

SOLD OUT: Limited early bird tickets will be released on Friday 18 May at 10am for residents who hold a Newcastle or Gateshead postcode.

Further tickets will go on general release from Tuesday 22 May.

Booking your accommodation with us guarantees tickets to the opening night and the best room rate. Book your accommodation.

Why are we issuing tickets in two waves?

We wanted to give the residents of Newcastle and Gateshead local authorities the first chance to register for a selection of early-bird tickets to give them an opportunity to watch the Opening Event of Great Exhibition of the North, which is taking place on their doorstep throughout this summer. We hope this will encourage local residents to join us in becoming ambassadors of the Exhibition.

The general release of tickets for the event, which are free to register for, will be available from 10am on 22 May.

We are excited to host people from across the region and beyond on the 22 June to celebrate the start of what is going to be an amazing summer.

Image credit: Water Sculptures: Imagery by EYELEVEL / Lemn Sissay © Hamish Brown 2017

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Categories for this event:

Suitable for:

Maximo Park (c) Steve Gullick
Mesh - Yorkshire Dance

Venue: Quayside

Accessibility Information

Wheelchair friendly