Recognising and rewarding the best of North East creative talent, 16 trophies, made by Gateshead artist, Corinne Lewis-Ward will be handed out in categories including Performing Artist of the Year, Writer of the Year, Best Events in Northumberland, Tyneside, Sunderland, Durham and Teesside, Best Newcomer, Performance of the Year and Visual Artist of the Year.
There will also be special awards for Young Achievement and a Special Contribution to North East Arts and Culture. But tonight isn't just about giving out gongs. We're also lucky enough to have a top drawer bill of entertainment from Sunderland band Hyde and Beast; Whitburn-born singer Nadine Shah (both of whom are finalists in the Performing Artist of the Year category); award winning author David Almond, who will be reading an exclusive extract from his libretto of the Opera for Sunderland; and folk singer, Richard Dawson.
If that wasn't enough, a dozen members of Hawthorn Primary School's wonderful In Harmony orchestra will also be doing their stuff on stage too. Stay tuned for updates on who's won what and all the rest of the action from Sunderland Minster. We'll be live blogging from 7,30pm
Welcome ladies and gents to the Culture Awards 2014 coming to you live from a warm and buzzing Sunderland Minster
I'm Simon and I'll be guiding you through what sets to be a stellar celebration of all things good and great about North East culture
Canapes have been nibbled and prosecco sipped and now the Minster is brimming with excitement with 5 minutes until we kick off the whole shebang
If you're not au fait with all things Culture Awards we forgive you.
Here's a handy all you need to know guide
We've got a change of face for tonight's presenting duties. Unfortunately Chris Connel was taking ill earlier today so the fantastic Alfie Joey from BBC Radio Newcastle has stepped in right at the last minute. We salute you Mr Joey!
NCJ Managing Director Stuart Birkett takes to the stage to the strains of Cheryl's Crazy Stupid Love
Stuart Birkett: "Nominations confirm the talent we have in the North East tonight. To get here tonight is a true achievement."
Stuart Birkett: "I wish all tonight's nominees the best of luck."
If the nominees triumph tonight they can take home a beauty of a statue
Alfie Joey jokes Chris Connel was scared to cross over the water to Sunderland- well plenty of people have. A packed house seem up for a cracking night here at the Minster
The after show party has already been mentioned and the reaction suggests plenty will be attending!
First award of the night. Writer of the Year. Nominees: Alison Carr (The Soaking of Vera Shrimp), David Almond (GNR Million script) and Peter Mortimer (Death at Dawn). It's anyone's for the taking
A very popular one here in the room....David Almond. Many lapped up the awe inspiring GNR Million ceremony and David's words played a massive part in that
Next up is an award focused on the city we're in tonight- Best Event Sunderland. The nominees are Show Me The Money at The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, summer Streets and Sunderland Stages
And the winner is....Summer Streets. Another popular choice with the audience
Best Arts & Business Partnership. In the running are: Berwick Visual Arts & Simpsons Malt for Lowry in Berwick, Northern Stars Documentary Academy with intu Eldon Square & Metro Centre and Port of Tyne & various partners