Creative Product 004 • 4 min read
Novum Festival 2023 is Newcastle’s exciting new, cross art form festival providing three-days of music, workshops and performances and plenty of free attractions, thanks to the North of Tyne Combined Authority and Newcastle City Council.
The festival, which took place for the first time from 11-13 August 2023 showcased local, national, and international talent, transforming the Civic Centre and surrounding gardens into a cultural playground, where audiences could make, explore and engage with art, music, performances and installations.
Billed as huge and ‘incredible’, the festival’s ambitious programme was designed to showcase the mix of local, national and international talent, which captured the essence of the North East’s ever evolving cultural scene.
The festival’s universally appealing programme certainly didn’t disappoint, with plenty of free family workshops delivered by Newcastle’s creative scene, community led performance events, incredible live music and late night afterparties! However, it was the festival’s focal point, which was described as an ‘architectural marvel’: a sculpture designed by French artist Olivier Grossetête, which really got the crowds excited.
The sculpture, which aimed to be a celebratory but temporary monument to the city, also acted as a focus for performances and was built by local people. And, Newcastle’s Civic Centre provided the perfect setting to facilitate unforgettable performances that paved the way for international connections, new voices, contemporary sounds, local favourites and much more.
Throughout the festival, there was daily experiences to enjoy including music events and hands-on workshops led by artists, including a series of open-to-all workshops.
Highlights included performances from acts such as Faithful Johannes, Northern Proud Voices, Olivier Grossetête Monumental Construction, Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, Maius Mollis, Henna Art from Nazda Khushal & SenseAsians, Beccy Owen’s Pop-Up Choir, The Farrell Centre: Wearable Buildings with Sam Selley and much more.
Principal advisor of culture and events at Newcastle City Council Jim Mawdsley has been quoted in the media stating: “Our ambition is that Novum will become an annual event, created with and for the communities of the city, and wider North of Tyne area.”
“The plan is that, as it grows, it will spread out from the Civic Centre to become city-wide. It will give everyone the opportunity to access incredible cultural experiences on their doorstep, as well as attract more visitors to the region.”
Following the success of this year’s event, the festival looks set to grow year on year, and become an exciting fixture in Newcastle’s arts and culture calendar.