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The high note of summer!

SUMMERTYNE and the living is easy! But you won’t be relaxing for long with the latest festival to come to Tyneside, as Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR finds out.

SummerTyne and the living is easy! But you won’t be relaxing for long with the latest festival to come to Tyneside, as Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR finds out.

IF YOU’RE looking for something to do with the children at the start of the summer holidays then look no further!

SummerTyne is a 10-day summer festival of diverse events based around NewcastleGateshead Quays for all the family, as well as concerts, film screenings, photography exhibitions and more.

The range of family events and activities for all ages includes the popular Playing the Building musical tours of The Sage Gateshead (Monday, July 23, to Sunday, July 29, at noon).

There will also be workshops for under-fives and their parents/carers with songs, music-making, games and dances from around the world specially chosen for the very young.

Family choir sessions should see whole families heading along to enjoy singing together for half an hour – no previous experience needed!

Add to those the SteelTyne, an event for children aged seven-plus and their families to learn to play the steel pans, family ceilidhs with award-winning dance band 422 as well as games and songs, and lots more besides, it promises to be a hectic time at The Sage.

As well as these events and activities planned specifically for families, there will be a free outdoor stage on the newly-transformed Performance Square outside The Sage Gateshead, which will host everything from folk and world music on the opening weekend of the festival, to family events and performances throughout the week and a Jumpin’ Hot Club Americana stage on July 28 and 29.

Highlights include a UK exclusive performance by top European performance group La Fura dels Baus from a ship moored at Spiller’s Quay, international performers from all genres at The Sage Gateshead, including Kris Kristofferson, Nanci Griffith and Wynton Marsalis and related film events at The Star and Shadow and Side cinemas.

The festival starts with a bang, a spectacular new show from one of Europe’s leading performance groups, La Fura dels Baus.

Among other notable successes, they were responsible for the central element of the opening ceremony for the Barcelona Olympics. This show, Naumachia, will feature daring imagery and effects including giant puppets, projections on to screens, live music, massive moving structures and a giant web with 60 aerialists hanging over the action. It takes place this Friday and Saturday, 9.30pm, Spiller’s Quay, Newcastle. Tickets are just £5. Note, though, the show, which lasts about 75 minutes, contains partial nudity and parental guidance is required.

Back indoors at The Sage Gateshead, big-name international concerts include Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Nanci Griffith, Glen Campbell, Kris Kristofferson and Northern Sinfonia.

On Saturday there will be a late-night ¡VAMOS! Latin Dance Party on the concourse.

SummerTyne is part of NewcastleGateshead’s world-class festivals and events programme. Stella Hall, creative director for NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “This year’s SummerTyne festival promises to be the best ever, with a world class line-up of exceptional performers.

“We are particularly proud to host, in partnership with The Sage Gateshead, La Fura dels Baus.”

For more information and tickets, visit www.thesagegateshead.org or call (0191) 443 4661.

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