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  1. Thousands see opening of Great Exhibition

    BBC
    Image caption: Drones

    More than 20,000 people lined the banks of the Tyne for a show marking start of the Great Exhibition of the North this evening.

    Over the next 80 days, up to three million people are expected to visit the festival, which celebrates the scientific and artistic achievements of the north of England.

    Find out more about the Great Exhibition of the North

  2. Stoke the Fire with Darkstar

    Aiden Whalley and James Young
    Image caption: Aiden Whalley and James Young

    Darkstar is James Young and Aiden Whalley who are from Cheshire and Wakefield in Yorkshire respectively. They met in London and started making music together creating a cutting-edge, melancholy, synth-laden sound influenced by grime, garage, dubstep and synthpop. They teamed up with singer James Buttery for their debut album North, released on Hyperdub in 2009.

    Following on from North, in what is becoming a bit of a recurring theme for tonight, the group signed to... you guessed it... Warp Records! Young and Whalley reverted to being a duo in 2015 ahead of the release of their third album, Foam Island.

    After watching Made In Huddersfield, a 1985 ITV documentary about the legacy of punk in the city, the pair decided to make the album explicitly rooted in the voices and experiences of the people of Huddersfield.

    Read more about the making of the album on The Fader

  3. Underneath the Stars with Kate Rusby

    Kate Rusby on BBC Music

    Also known as the Barnsley Nightingale, Rusby has been playing folk festivals since learning how to sing and play guitar as a child. She’s been part of several folk groups, earned a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 1999.

    Over the course of her 25 year career she has become hugely popular and is one of the best known English folk singers touring today. Even if you’re not very familiar with folk music you might have heard her single All Over Again with Ronan Keating in 2006, or recognise her voice from Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre Christmas advert in 2017 when she donated song sales to charity.

  4. Ready for Maximo Park to Apply Some Pressure?

    Paul Smith from Maximo Park performing at Glastonbury in 2007
    Image caption: Paul Smith from Maximo Park performing at Glastonbury in 2007

    These Geordie lads originally got together in 2000 in Newcastle upon Tyne. The band currently consists of guitarist Duncan Lloyd, keyboardist Lukas Wooler, drummer Tom English and singer and frontman Paul Smith, who joined the band in 2003.

    Like Nightmares on Wax, they signed to dance-electronica label Warp Records (much to the dismay of purists) and released their first album A Certain Trigger in 2005, earning themselves a Mercury nomination with their guitar pop sound.

    Maximo Park

    As the band has matured, so has their message. Their latest album Risk to Exist takes on the big crises of our age while staying true to their earnest and sincere indie pop roots. But their latest work, written in collaboration especially for Great Exhibition of the North, is set to be a departure from their usual sound. Paul Smith describe it as a sweeping romantic song,

    Quote Message: A Scott Walker B-side as if he was from Teeside

    Enjoy the show!

  5. Five minutes to go...

    Audiences are lining the Quayside to witness the first dramatic display of the UK’s largest water sculptures on the River Tyne.

    This 80m long fountain will perform to a soundtrack of three specially-commissioned music compositions by Maximo Park and Kate Rusby with Royal Northern Sinfonia and Darkstar. The Water Sculpture will perform every day throughout the 80 days of the exhibition.

    Mercury prize nominated northern rock band Maximo Park will be performing live from the River Tyne.

    A new anthem for the North will be unveiled and performed live by renowned writer, poet and playwright Lemn Sissay MBE.

    Watch all this live at the top of this page.

  6. Step to the beat

    Graham Massey and Mr Wilson’s Second Liners are getting the party rolling ahead of the opening event at 10pm.

    His electro-based spectacle, glitter ball and the lively Second Liners will be hot-stepping out in uniformed style as they channel the spirit of the 24-hour party people.

    Did you know: Second Lining is a quintessential New Orleans art form: following the band to enjoy the music, marching and dancing. It is a full-on street intervention. If you're lucky enough to be caught up in the commotion, you’re part of the Second Line.

    View more on twitter
  7. The final countdown

    The North in 100 Songs

    We are getting very close to the main opening ceremony, we are particularly looking forward to the water fountain being unveiled.

    We hope that you have enjoyed seeing what anthems were on #Northin100songs

    The Zutons – Valerie

    Various – The Water of Tyne

    Venom – Black Metal

    Venom – Welcome to Hell

    Vessels – Eliptic

    Vic Reeves and the Wonderstuff – Dizzy

    Warm Digits – The Connected Coast

    Wedding Present – I’m From Further North Than You

    Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

    Wild Beasts – Big Cat

    See the full list here

    Mark Knopfler as illustrated by Manchester based artist Stanley Chow
    Image caption: Mark Knopfler as illustrated by Manchester based artist Stanley Chow
  8. Come together...

    People have started to arrive and get their spot for the Great Exhibition of the North opening ceremony. Watch it all right here from 10pm.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  9. Are we having fun by a great Northern River?

    The North in 100 Songs

    We are on the final countdown for the #Northin100songs. Did Sage Gateshead add your anthem to the playlist?

    The Kane Gang – Closest Thing to Heaven

    The La’s – There She Goes

    The Lake Poets – City by the Sea

    The Liverbirds – Why Do You Hang Around Me

    The Long Blondes – Once and Never Again

    The Marmozets – Play

    The Smiths – How Soon is Now

    Soft Cell - Say Hello, Wave goodbye

    The Stone Roses – Mersey Paradise

    The Unthanks – A Great Northern River

    See the full list here

    Mark Almond form Soft Cell as illustrated by Manchester artist
    Image caption: Mark Almond form Soft Cell as illustrated by Manchester artist Stanley Chow
  10. Sunset over the Tyne

    It's been a beautiful day here in the North East. The sun's starting to set over Newcastle Gateshead but this evening's entertainment promises to shine brightly.

    Sunset over Newcastle
    Image caption: Sunset over Newcastle
    Cameras are ready and waiting on the Quayside
    Image caption: Cameras are ready and waiting on the Quayside
  11. Darkstar

    Round and Around We Go

    Aiden Whalley and James Young
    Image caption: Aiden Whalley and James Young

    Closing the opening ceremony later tonight, Darkstar is James Young and Aiden Whalley who are from Cheshire and Wakefield in Yorkshire respectively. They met in London and started making music together creating a cutting-edge, melancholy, synth-laden sound influenced by grime, garage, dubstep and synthpop. They teamed up with singer James Buttery for their debut album North, released on Hyperdub in 2009.

    Following on from North, in what is becoming a bit of a recurring theme for tonight, the group signed to... you guessed it! Warp Records. Young and Whalley reverted to being a duo in 2015 ahead of the release of their third album, Foam Island. After watching Made In Huddersfield, a documentary about the legacy of punk in the city that originally aired in 1985 as part of ITV's First Tuesday documentary strand, the pair decided to make the album explicitly rooted in the voices and experiences of the people of Huddersfield.

    Read more about the making of the album on The Fader

    If you've never heard them performing live before, check them out at the iconic Maida Vale studios performing with Gaika for BBC Radio 1 back in 2016:

    View more on youtube
  12. Countdown to the big event

    One hour to go...

    When broadcaster, author and poet Lemn Sissay performs his Anthem to the North tonight there'll be four people in the 20,000-strong crowd who will find the moment particularly poignant.

    Tickets for tonight's event were snapped up in ten minutes, leaving plenty of people disappointed. But the performer had four free tickets which he said were "burning a hole in my conscience". But he found a perfect opportunity to give them to a deserving family.

    Lemn takes up the story...

    Watch the entire ceremony right here on this page from 10pm.

    View more on twitter
  13. Skinny Pelembe will be on your mind

    Supporting Nightmares on Wax

    His music roams hazy afro-tipped soul with psychedelic tangents. Born in Johannesburg, growing up in Doncaster, he’s a sparkling multi-instrumentalist who blends his production, guitar, singing and MCing to tap into a unique, influence-weaving sound. Recently signed to BBC 6 Music DJ Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings, his first release on the label Spit/Swallow has all the trippy, down tempo stylings to get you in the right frame of mind for Nightmares on Wax.

    Skinny Pelembe
    Image caption: Skinny Pelembe

    As if that wasn't impressive enough, he's also a broadcaster! Back in April he sat in for 6 Music Recommends and shared some of his favourite new music, including tracks from Black Milk, Kadhja Bonet and Dominic Canning.

    Skinny Pelembe sits in for Lauren Laverne
    View more on twitter

    Have a listen to Skinny Pelembe's tracks here

  14. Now Is The Time for Nightmares on Wax

    Live stream now playing

    Nightmares on Wax aka George Evelyn

    Nightmares on Wax take to the stage at Sage Gateshead. Also known as DJ E.A.S.E., George Evelyn is a DJ and composer who hails from Leeds and now lives in Ibiza, Spain. Originally part of a duo, his debut album was released on Warp Records in 1991 (then based in Sheffield) and featured seminal rave anthem Dextrous.

    After going solo, Evelyn went on to develop his signature chilled-out, down tempo sound, incorporating reggae, hip-hop, soul and funk. Often grouped under the trip hop banner alongside Portishead and Massive Attack, Evelyn broadened the scope of the label, influencing and paving the way for artists and producers around the world.

    View more on twitter

    His latest LP Shape the Future was 6 Music's Album of the Day back in January when it was released, and saw Evelyn expanding his electronic reveries with new collaborators.

    View more on twitter

    The weather is perfect for some blissed-out beats so we hope you're as ready as we are!

  15. What are you most looking forward to?

    Sian Davies

    BBC North East Online

    We met a family out enjoying the evening at the opening event of the Great Exhibition the North. Eleven-year-old Rhyan and Niamh, nine, have autism so are "more visual" and looking forward to the fountain and confetti according to mum Angela. She said: "Rhyan is six weeks out from having surgery to remove tumours from his brain, so it's nice to be out and all together." Shawn, 12, said he's "most excited by the music". Dad Craig heard about the exhibition and booked tickets online, but said he didn't know many other local people who were coming.

    The family on the Quayside in Newcastle
    Image caption: The family on the Quayside in Newcastle