A new festival makes its debut in the city this weekend, thanks to the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) and Newcastle City Council. Novum launches on Friday August 11 with three-days of music, workshops and performances and plenty free attractions.

Its centrepiece will be a whopping sculpture which visitors will help to make. And over its run the multi-art festival will transform Newcastle Civic Centre into a live music venue for the first time.

The new festival is being billed as huge and ‘incredible’, with an ambitious programme designed to showcase the mix of local, national and international talent which help make up the city’s cultural scene.

The focal point will be what’s described as an ‘architectural marvel’: the whopping sculpture designed by French artist Olivier Grossetête.

The sculpture, called Monumental Construction, actually will be built by local people, with communities taking part in a series of open-to-all workshops – running in the days leading up to the festival – where they will construct it from recyclable cardboard.

Aiming to be a celebratory but temporary monument to the city, it will also act as a focus for performances.

Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “There will be arts, installations, music.  We’ve made sure there’s lots of local artists on the bill, to help them earn a living and raise their profile.

“This is all about adding to the rich cultural life of the North East.  What’s not to like?”

Throughout the August 11-13 festival, there will be free daily experiences on offer including music events and hands-on workshops led by artists.

The Civic Centre and its surrounding gardens will become a ‘cultural playground’ filled with activities, performances and installations, all adding to the summer vibe.

Tickets are already on sale for the evening music shows which are due to take place inside and these will include performer Mim Suleiman with Afro-Latin percussion and brass duet Hannabiell & Midnight Blue Collective; Gugusar from Iceland and DJ Lou Hayter.

The festival’s slogan is Together We Create and the hope is to boost the city’s cultural reputation.

Poster with image of woman raising her sunglasses above her eyes and the text 'Lou Hayter'

Principal advisor of culture and events at Newcastle City Council Jim Mawdsley said: “Our ambition is that Novum will become an annual event, created with and for the communities of the city, and wider North of Tyne area.”

The plan is that, as it grows, it will spread out from the Civic Centre to become city-wide. “It will give everyone the opportunity to access incredible cultural experiences on their doorstep, as well as attract more visitors to the region,” said Jim.

For more information about the full Novum programme, as well as volunteering opportunities, or to book tickets see here.