Five festivals designed to bring jobs and visitors to the North East have been given a helping hand by the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

The North of Tyne will support events in Berwick, Morpeth, Tynemouth, Whitley Bay and Newcastle through its £1m Events Scale Up fund, which will be used to grow successful events in the region. Each festival was chosen for its potential to grow year on year, improving the national and international profile of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.

The first funded event is the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, which starts on March 3 with the UK Premiere of Anerca, Breath of Life, a film featuring word and song from the indigenous people of the Arctic Circle. Finnish film director Johannes Lehmuskallio will be at the premiere, at the Maltings Main House Theatre.

Man holding a sword sitting on a door step

Anerca Breath Of Life

North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Culture Creative and Rural Cllr Glen Sanderson said: “Culture is about bringing people together, appreciating where they live, and being part of an adventure. “Each of the events we’ve supported through the Scale Up Fund has proven already their potential to grow, to capture people’s imagination, and to celebrate our region. It will be wonderful to see them go from strength to strength with our support, making the North East a more exciting and vibrant place to live.”

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (BFMAF) Deputy Director Elisa Kay said: “We’re really looking forward to this year’s festival. The North of Tyne investment has already made a big difference; we’d sold more passes than ever before even a week before the opening day.”

BFMAF will feature three days of inspiring films by international filmmakers, followed by an extended programme of free exhibitions around the town, giving locals and visitors more opportunities to engage with film and historic locations in Berwick. This will include a new year-round programme of skills development for young people in the region, and career development for filmmakers.

In May, The Whitley Bay Carnival celebrates its tenth anniversary with a parade that will take over the streets for the late bank holiday weekend, stages at Spanish City Plaza, live bands, a circus and a ceilidh. Morpeth Fair Day in June will offer family fun including street entertainers, stalls, displays, games, rides and activities for all ages. The 27-year-old Festival regularly attracts more than 30,000 visitors to the town and with this year’s investment is set to be bigger and better than ever.

On the Friday of Great North Run weekend in September the Scale Up Fund will support 5K and 1K community races, the UK Athletics 5K Championships, and food and entertainment on the Newcastle Quayside. Great North Run Friday will become a “kick-off” for the Great North Run weekend, encouraging people who cannot run the full “half marathon” to get involved in shorter runs and to enable Newcastle Quayside to host a key UK Athletics Championship Race, which will be televised.

The third North Sea Weekender in October will bring surfing, Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), food, drink, music and wellness to the Tynemouth coastline. The Weekender is growing year on year to become a key event of the water sports and the North East visitor calendar.