COME TOGETHER NE: The digital festival taking Newcastle by storm

By Natalie Greener (Originally a uni piece found on HOWAYheadlines April 2020)

In this troubled time, we can all safely say that arts and culture is something central to us staying sane during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now there is a certainly a greater appreciation for music, dance and the theatrics of life in lock down. The creative industries are thought to be those most at risk of collapse post pandemic and people in this sector are fighting hard to simply still have a job at the end of this historical event. In some ways, the UK being in lock down has led to some amazing projects rising from the ashes of our booming subcultures and demonstrates the passion many have for things such as music.

Come Together North East was founded by promoter, Matty Lacey.

“Our aims are to showcase, promote and empower artists in the North East.”

A collective of individuals in the music industry helping one another, COVID-19 is not putting a stop to their festival season. It may not be outside in the sun with your friends and crowds of hundreds of people but, considering the circumstances, it is the next best thing. Matty had ignited the fire and anger people are feeling over the cancellation of summer but instead of crying about it, he offered a great solution that isn’t a violation of social distancing. Come Together NE started a trend for a digital series of fundraising festivals.

Raising money for the NHS, the first digital festival went down a hit with amazing North East names in the line up such as Kieran Bowe, Deep Sleep and Palm Beach. A total over £2000 of donations resulted from the live streams. With an incredible community feel amongst this collective of talent, a round two was definitely going to happen. Differing from the first cause, this time Come Together NE wanted to support venues closer to home with a special place in all of our hearts. The main focus for the Digital Festival #2 is independent venues like Little Buildings – places that may not stand a chance of surviving after lock down.

Not only is Come Together NE independently run but it also highlights the talented women in the North’s creative industries. With female led Tits Upon Tyne, Sound Lass and the NU Fashion Society being involved, Come Together NE collective could have a lasting effect post Corona Virus in shaping the local creative industries to be more equal. We interviewed creative director of Come Together, Sophie Jo-Anna Walker, to get her take on the challenge of being a woman in the creative industries. We especially looked into the issue of not being heard – even without the Corona Virus!

Interview with Sophie Jo-Anne Walker

Part 2 is on its way to keep you entertained during 8th – 10th of May. So, make sure your WiFi is connected, grab some headphones and tune in to take part. Lockdown doesn’t have to be a totally horrid time and let’s Come Together in support of the North East.

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