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Call Out for What it Means to be Northern - Backbone of Our Land

Posted on 27 April 2018

Musicians and poets are inviting people to share their thoughts on what it means to be Northern and the responses will become the inspiration to a unique performance of new music and spoken word, called Backbone of Our Land. The project is ran by Sage Gateshead and will contribute to The Great Exhibition of the North.

The performance will take place at Sage Gateshead on Saturday 28 July at the end of the Folk on The Tyne Festival – a day celebrating folk music in the North. Backbone of our Land will be produced by poet Degna Stone alongside Peter Brewis of Field Music and poet Andrew McMillan and will feature other artists including Bella Hardy, Sarah Hayes, Dan Rogers and Kim Moore. Backbone of our Land explores what it means to be part of the landscape, finding out who we are through conversation and connections.

Creative Producer, Degna Stone said: “There’s an excitement in not knowing what responses we’ll get to the questions of what it means to be Northern. I’m hoping that people will join us in talking about all the wonderful things about Northern England, but I’m fascinated to hear about the tensions that might exist too. We want to hear every perspective and we’re ready to listen.”

Other questions being asked to anyone connected to the North, include asking why we live in the North and why we often choose to stay. All completed responses will be used to help shape the piece which will be up to one hour of spoken word and music in Sage Two. Entrants will also be entered in to a prize draw to win two tickets to Backbone of our Land.

Other events taking place as part of Folk on the Tyne festival include the triple bill with The Unthanks and The Young’uns and The Wilsons as well as a Late Night Ceilidh with the Monster Ceilidh Band and family friendly activities with free performances, stalls, crafts and folk instrument taster sessions.

Anyone can get involved in the Northern conversation by clicking here, or via social media or popping into Sage Gateshead and adding your comments to a poster board on the Concourse. The deadline is Monday 14 May.


Notes to Editors
Media interview opportunities are available. Please contact:

Gaynor Ellis, PR & Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead (Thursdays & Fridays)
0191 443 4690

Emily Taylor, PR & Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead (Mondays & Wednesdays)
0191 443 4617

Out of Hours M.07826 552945

28 JULY 2018
Saturday 28 July 2018
Concourse 10am- 8pm
Folk on the Tyne: Concourse Performances
Our concourse will be full of family friendly activities all day. From free performances from Northern musicians and dance teams, stalls to peruse and free folk instrument taster sessions. For young people there will be craft activities and the opportunity to build your own small ship and join our Small Ships Parade!

Saturday 28 July 2018
The Barbour Room 11am- 12noon
Folk on the Tyne: Relaxed Performance
An introduction to the music, song and dance of the North of England in a relaxed and informal environment suited to children with autism and their families.

Saturday 28 July 2018
Sage Two 2pm-3pm
Folk on the Tyne: Alastair Anderson’s Folkworks Showcase
Three of the finest folk musicians and singers from the North of England, Amy Thatcher, Andy May and Nancy Kerr, are presented by Alistair Anderson in this afternoon showcase.

Saturday 28 July 2018
The Barbour Room. 3pm-4pm
Folk on the Tyne: Big Tunes Workshops
Learn some great Northern folk music with world class tutors. This workshop is open to all ages, and all instruments.

Saturday 28 July 2018
Sage Two, 6pm – 7pm
Folk on the Tyne: Backbone of our Land

Saturday 28 July 2018
Sage One, 8pm
Folk on the Tyne: The Unthanks, The Young’uns and The Wilsons

Saturday 28 July 2018
Concourse, 10.30pm
Folk on the Tyne: Late Night Ceilidh with the Monster Ceilidh Band
Monster Ceilidh Band Present: their ‘Electrofolk’ spectacular with award winning talents of Accordionist Amy Thatcher and talented young Teeside Violinist Grace Smith.

The Great Exhibition of the North 2018 is a summer of amazing exhibits, inspired technology, vibrant street performance, cutting edge culture and magical experiences.

About Great Exhibition of the North 2018:

● In October 2016, NewcastleGateshead was selected to host Great Exhibition of the North; NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) led the bid and is the lead delivery partner for the Exhibition, working closely with colleagues at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, BALTIC, Sage Gateshead, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and a board chaired by Sir Gary Verity.
● Towns and cities across the North of England are getting involved by being part of the ‘Inspired by’ programme of events, experiences and performances. People can submit details of their event at
● Great Exhibition of the North is encouraging schools to get involved, with content available on the website to both download teaching resources and upload their responses. Schools are able to do follow up work developed in the classroom by booking a tailored visit to the Exhibition during the final four weeks of the summer term.
● Great Exhibition of the North will provide a range of exciting volunteer opportunities for individuals, groups and businesses. A team of over 1,000 volunteers will welcome visitors to NewcastleGateshead, interpreting themes of exhibition, lead school groups and provide event support at special one-off occasions. Applications are now open, training will be 15 hours between February to June and each volunteer will need to commit to 40 hours from 22 June to 09 September 2018.
● On Tuesday 27 February the BBC announced a partnership to support Great Exhibition of the North.
● Great Exhibition of the North is supported by Premier Partners Virgin Trains and Accenture.
● Funding has also been secured via Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Innovate UK, VisitBritain, the Sir James Knott Trust and Reece Foundation and by England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
● Womble Bond Dickinson, Ward Hadaway, Siemens, Port of Tyne and CISCO are proud partners of Great Exhibition of the North.
• Newcastle Airport, Greggs, Go North East, Tyne & Wear Metro and Northumbrian Water are supporting partners.

Sage Gateshead is an international music centre and renowned conference and event venue located in the North East of England. It is for artists, for audiences, for the North and for the long term.
Its concert programme incorporates all kinds of local, regional and international music and runs all year round. Music-making and learning activity takes place not only in the building but across the region.
As a charity, the support it receives helps to ensure everyone in the community can experience the joys of music.