Play Hard

What’s on in the North East this bank holiday weekend

11 gigs, events and festivals you don’t want to miss.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 25.04.2023

CANDLELIGHT: A TRIBUTE TO TAYLOR SWIFT

28th April

The Common Room, Newcastle upon Tyne

Discover all the ear-worm bangers and breakup blinders of Taylor Swift as you’ve never heard them before at The Common Room in Newcastle this April – beautifully arranged for a string quartet, played under the Wood Hall’s mesmerising stained glass window by the gentle glow of candlelight.

Tickets: from £25.00

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Folk singer Amelia Coburn looks sideways towards the camera. Her dark, blurry green and yellow surroundings give the photo an otherworldly feel.

AMELIA COBURN

28th April

Washington Arts Centre

Catch exciting gothic-folk Amelia Coburn as she takes to the stage at Washington Arts Centre, in an intimate performance that audiences will look back on fondly as her star continues to rise.

Tickets: from £10.00

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SLICE WARS 2023: THE REBEL BASE

28th – 29th April

Wylam Brewery, Newcastle upon Tyne

With another bank holiday weekend comes another stellar street food battle at Wylam Brewery – this time uniting pizza and Star Wars. Spend your tokens on a range of themed pizza from different North East vendors, bop to tunes a live DJ spins, and enjoy some great beer and top BH weekend vibes.

Tickets: Free

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DARLINGTON FOOD & DRINK FESTIVAL

28th April – 1st May

Darlington Market Square

Tantalise your tastebuds at Darlington Food & Drink Festival, where there’ll be an eclectic range of street food and drink stalls to browse all weekend. Plus, you can enjoy live demos and music from local bands, with fun workshops, face painting and entertainers for kids.

Tickets: Free

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NORTHERN KIN FESTIVAL

Friday 28th – Sunday 30th April

Ushaw, Durham

Jethro Tull, Levellers, Beth Orton, Ferocious Dog and Lindisfarne are the big hitters at this folk, rock and blues music festival, along with ‘I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker’ hitmaker Sandi Thom.

Tickets: From £42.01

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Lost Minds Festival Leazes Park Newcastle upon Tyne

LOST MINDS FESTIVAL

Saturday 29th April

Leazes Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Ben Nicky, W&W, Sub Zero Project, Aly & Fila, Dr Peacock, Sickmode and Bryan Kearney lead the dance and trance revolution in this Newcastle festival this spring. Don’t miss the official afterparty, either.

Tickets: From £46.50

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Four cast members of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears pantomime stand together, dressed in colourful and extravagant outfits. In front of them, the title of the show is written in large golden letters against a purple background.

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

29th April

Middlesbrough Theatre

If it’s your lot to entertain little ones this weekend, then join this charismatic cast for a pantomime jam-packed with hilarious moments, fantastic performers, specialty acts and high-energy choreography. The whole family will be wowed by the bold costumes and loveable characters, who you can even meet after the show.

Tickets: from £16.00

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Delicately painted eggs with cute faces sit in a nest crafted from twigs. They are surrounded by white flowers. Crafts such as these can be found at the Spring Craft Market at the Shipley Art Gallery.

SPRING CRAFT MARKET

29th April

Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead

Indulge in a little retail therapy and browse a range of stalls selling beautiful handmade crafts by local makers at the Shipley Art Gallery this weekend. There’ll also be creative activities for all ages, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty before refuelling with some delicious baked treats from Urban Bakery.

Tickets: Free

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Cartoon characters including a panda, bear and snake, all sail towards something in a tiny devil boat. The text above them says Big North Tattoo Show.

BIG NORTH TATTOO SHOW

29th – 30th April

Utilita Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne

The North’s biggest tattoo convention comes to town this bank holiday weekend, which will see almost 300 of the best international, national and local tattoo artists show off their incredible creativity. And, of course, no convention would be complete without a little entertainment: expect fire, magic, music and more.

Tickets: from £24.95

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The Great British Tribute Fest 2023 Leazes Park Newcastle upon Tyne

THE GREAT BRITISH TRIBUTE FEST

Sunday 30th April   

Leazes Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Antarctic Monkeys, Scam Fender, Kopycat Killers, Ohasis… you get the idea. Newcastle’s largest ever tribute festival is guaranteed to bring all the tunes we know and love for a bank holiday weekend like no other. 

Tickets: From £20.00

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Michael Buble runs along an empty highway with a hurried expression on his face. The photo is in black and white. It is overlaid with black and gold text that reads, Higher Tour 2023, Michael Buble. It is the tour poster for Michael Buble's Higher Tour.

MICHAEL BUBLÉ

1st May

Utilita Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne

It seems Christmas has come early for us Geordies, as the king of modern crooners – Michael Bublé – brings his legendary voice and effortless charisma to the stage of the Utilita Arena. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him live, but we bet his performances have aged like a fine wine.

Tickets: from £87.50

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