*We received complimentary tickets but all views are my own
Bank holidays have been a little different over the last few years that’s for sure. I remember fondly the VE Day celebrations weekend where the weather was glorious and we celebrated by making chocolate brownies, ham and cheese toasties and margaritas. You know, since we couldn’t leave the house! These last few bank holidays though have been a little more back to ‘normal’ with lots of friend and family time over Easter and the welcome return of the Gateshead Beer and Music festival in early May.
Dave had COVID and I had gastroenteritis the week leading up the festival so the two negative lateral flows that Friday morning meant we were so ready for a night out more so than usual. And in my opinion, the Friday is the best day to attend the weekend long gig. The beer is fresher, in this case the bands were better and I think a lot f people save themselves for the Saturday or Sunday is it’s nicely busy with a great atmosphere but not so packed that you can’t get a seat or have to queue too long for the toilet.
Hosted at Gateshead Rugby Club in Low Fell there’s the main bar room with over 60 ales plus a marquee which has wine, cocktails spirits and ciders. They operate a token system for beer, lager and cider where it’s £10 for 5 tokens and each token gets you a half. Pints are of curse available too but to be honest a half is more than enough when you’re looking to try lots of different things.
I can only drink so much beer and cider (although the Tutti Fruiti cider was really nice, I probably could have drank that all night were it not 6%) so the wine on offer was welcome for me and at £4 a large glass and only £12 a bottle it was actually quite a bargain!
So that’s the beer but what about the music element? Well another reason why going on the Friday night was so appealing for us was that one of my favourite local bands; Hip Hop Hooray were playing. I’ve written about them before but needless to say they were the highlight of the festival for me. They did an amazing set including Beyonce, Run DMC, Mary J Blige and Jay-Z and Kanye and although there was no one up dancing when they first started, everyone was dancing by the end of their set.
The whole weekend is packed with local bands and tribute artists so they really do strike the right balance between the beer and the music. A few extra things to note if you’re thinking of going when they’re back in August; under 18s are welcome but it’s encouraged that you only bring your own children rather than ‘vouch’ for other peoples. There’s plenty of food options available from woodfire pizzas to hot dogs to kebabs and lots of vegan and vegetarian options available. The toilets are just the rugby club toilets in the clubhouse, which I image get quite busy throughout the weekend but is better than portaloos I suppose.
Tickets are £14 each which includes entry only. Drinks and food are all extra. Check out the Gateshead Beer and Music Festival website for more information about what’s coming later in the year!