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Crowds to gather on the Tyne to mark new Great Exhibition Of The North

A spectacular show will launch the 80-day celebration of northern culture, business and science.

More than 20,000 people will line the banks of the Tyne to watch a spectacular night-time show to launch the Great Exhibition Of The North.

Fireworks, an 80m water sculpture in the river and a drone display will feature at the show which marks the start of the 80-day long celebration of northern England’s culture, its scientific achievements and its art.

Crowds in Newcastle and Gateshead will be entertained by bands, choirs, dance, animation and street performances, with a live performance from Mercury prize nominated rockers Maximo Park, and the debut by poet Lemn Sissay of his Anthem Of The North.

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Broadcaster Lauren Laverne is contributing to the exhibition (GEOTN/PA)

Up to three million visitors are expected to take in the exhibition which will run until September, with highlights including a loan of Stephenson’s Rocket from the Science Museum in London, a Great Northern Soundtrack curated by North East broadcaster Lauren Laverne and a new solo showcase from Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “The Great Exhibition of the North is an incredible celebration of the very best of Northern innovation, design and culture.

“It is a unique showcase that demonstrates the role the North of England is playing in shaping our future.

“Newcastle-Gateshead will put on a fantastic festival for the whole country.

“It will once more highlight the creative strength of the Northern Powerhouse and how cultural investment can boost economies and inspire communities.”

The opening event will end with the UK premiere of Skymagic, a new drone display which will fly over the Tyne.

Carol Bell, executive director of Great Exhibition Of The North, said: “Today marks the start of an incredible summer and we hope local residents and visitors from far and wide will come and experience the array of amazing exhibits, live performances and displays of innovation we have on offer for free throughout the summer.”

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle Council, said: “Our warm welcome is legendary and our pride and culture has inspired generations.

“Tonight is the first chance for people to see the next chapter in our story, and I look forward to welcoming everyone to Newcastle and Gateshead.”

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