Victoria Tunnel: Ouseburn Trust

Victoria Tunnel: Ouseburn Trust Victoria Tunnel is a Grade II listed structure which runs under Newcastle-upon-Tyne from the Town Moor down to the Tyne. We run tours and special events from Ouseburn all year. Come and find out more!

The Victoria Tunnel is a Grade II listed structure which runs under the city from the Town Moor down to the Tyne. It was built as a waggonway to transport coal from Spital Tongues (Leazes Main) Colliery to the river and operated between 1842 and the mid 1860s. In 1939, the City Engineers converted the Tunnel into an air raid shelter to protect hundreds of Newcastle citizens during World War II. Between 2007 and 2009, the Tunnel was carefully repaired and opened for guided tours by Newcastle City Council with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and TyneWear Partnership. This part of the Tunnel is now open all year round to the public for guided tours operated by The Ouseburn Trust and include fantastic sound and visual effects. Tours cost £6 per adult £4 for under 16s and last approximately two hours. We also offer one hour tours during school holidays for families or anyone wanting a shorter tour.

17/06/2020
Ouseburn Trust

Ouseburn Trust

We hear you, Pete!

We are working hard to bring back Victoria Tunnel tours safely. To compliment our upcoming virtual tours, we will introduce physical tours to single households from late-July! These will be priced at a flat rate & host up to six people. More information coming soon...

We look forward to helping your access the Tunnel - it really is a fascinating & special place.

We're so excited to bring you a brand new take on the Victoria Tunnel tour! Take a look at the post below for more infor...
03/06/2020

We're so excited to bring you a brand new take on the Victoria Tunnel tour! Take a look at the post below for more information.

Remember, for regular updates head over to our main page - Ouseburn Trust

We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded a grant from Historic England's Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund.

Victoria Tunnel tours and Ouseburn guided walks have been suspended during the coronavirus lockdown, but this grant will now enable us to launch innovative digital tours!

This new offer allows us to continue delivering the award-winning Victoria Tunnel tour, but it will also mean we can reach new audiences who, even before the lockdown, were unable to access physical tours due to additional mobility needs, anxiety or claustrophobia.

❗️ Look out for more details about digital tours this summer ❗️

Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to this new, exciting chapter ✨ For more information, visit our website: https://www.ouseburntrust.org.uk/covid-19-emergency-response-fund

Victoria Tunnel is managed by the Ouseburn Trust and we want to make it easier for you to access information about what ...
28/04/2020

Victoria Tunnel is managed by the Ouseburn Trust and we want to make it easier for you to access information about what we do. From now on, you can keep up to date with tunnel news through our main page: https://www.facebook.com/iloveouseburn

If you haven't already, head over to the Ouseburn Trust page to hear updates about Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn Valley, and other projects relating to heritage, regeneration, the environment and local culture.

31/03/2020
Basil v4

We have a brand new video showing our World War 2 workshops for primary school children - starring Basil, our wonderful 90-year old reminiscence volunteer, plus Victoria Tunnel volunteer guides Gerard and Pete (also wonderful).

When a class comes to the Victoria Tunnel half the group goes to the Tunnel while the other half does this workshop, then they swap over.

It's great for children but also this is an opportunity for adults who cant experience this school workshop to hear Basil's memories of sheltering in the Victoria Tunnel as a child.

Take a look at it here https://youtu.be/yAhJJuC0DzA (lasts about 50 minutes)

Victoria Tunnel WW11 memories.

26/03/2020
The Victoria Tunnel Tour by Ouseburn Trust

With the Tunnel shut at present we are missing our lovely volunteer guides and all the visitors we get from near and far - here's a little taster video of one of our tours. We hope to be seeing you soon. https://youtu.be/mF6efo6bal4 Ouseburn Trust

n 2008 the Victoria Tunnel was carefully repaired and opened for guided tours with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and TyneWear Partnership. Since 201...

We've been busy cancelling Victoria Tunnel Tours for the rest of March and April and contacting customers to refund or d...
18/03/2020
You can be part of the celebrations

We've been busy cancelling Victoria Tunnel Tours for the rest of March and April and contacting customers to refund or defer bookings made. We will keep reviewing the arrangements according to government and health advice.

If you are missing the Tunnel take a look at this fun speeded-up video made by Newcastle Chronicle a while ago. https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/newcastles-secret-underground-tunnel-set-12531293

Built in 1842 and running two miles under Newcastle to the River Tyne, the Victoria Tunnel celebrates its 175th anniversary

Great photos from the first Photography in the Victoria Tunnel Tour last night. Thanks Keith Scott Photography. More opp...
10/03/2020

Great photos from the first Photography in the Victoria Tunnel Tour last night. Thanks Keith Scott Photography. More opportunities to try out photography underground coming soon!

The Victoria Tunnel is a subterranean waggonway that runs under Newcastle upon Tyne, England, from the Town Moor down to the River Tyne. It was built between 1839 and 1842 to transport coal from Leazes Main Colliery in Spital Tongues to riverside staithes ready for loading onto boats for export - info Wikipedia. The tunnels were also used as bomb shelters in World War Two.

For International Women’s Day we are celebrating one of our fabulous Victoria Tunnel Volunteer Guides, Marion Anderson. ...
08/03/2020

For International Women’s Day we are celebrating one of our fabulous Victoria Tunnel Volunteer Guides, Marion Anderson. Now in her 80s she is an active and enthusiastic member of our Victoria Tunnel team – and has been since the Ouseburn Trust started running the tours in 2010. In fact Marion is the only guide who has walked through the full length of the Tunnel in the 1970s (before it was blocked under the City Centre).

Marion is particularly fond of taking part in our school workshops, where her own WW2 experiences bring history to life. She survived WW2 bombing raids by sheltering in a Morrison Shelter when her house was hit and the thousands of school children she has met over the years all find her contribution to the workshop realistic and fascinating. Without her stories our tours and workshops would certainly not have the same impact on our visitors both young and old, and on her fellow guides. The Ouseburn Trust is very fortunate to have Marion, whose warm, infectious enthusiasm make her an important and integral part of our team.

In addition to being a Victoria Tunnel volunteer, Marion has been a Newcastle City Guide for even longer and her vast knowledge of the City is outstanding.

The photo shows Marion with Clive and Basil at our 1940s weekend!

Featuring the Victoria Tunnel for both Victorian inventiveness and World War 2 home front stories.... and lots of other ...
02/03/2020

Featuring the Victoria Tunnel for both Victorian inventiveness and World War 2 home front stories.... and lots of other wonderful things to do

Step back in time with Raring2go! Whatever period of history your children may be reading about or studying at school, bring it to life with visits to our amazing museums. http://bit.ly/StepBackInTimeNE

22/11/2019

We'll be at 36 Lime Street for Ouseburn Open Studios all weekend to chat to visitors - and we'll be taking our new stock of Victoria Tunnel edible coal and gift vouchers for Tunnel tours, Tipple in the Tunnel and Back to the Future Guided walks.

Escape from the cold wet weather on an award-winning tour of our underground marvel. It is a constant 12 C in the Victor...
14/11/2019
Welcome to our shop

Escape from the cold wet weather on an award-winning tour of our underground marvel. It is a constant 12 C in the Victoria Tunnel all year and doesnt matter what the weather is like outside!

We are also selling gift vouchers if you'd like to send anyone underground next year... www.ouseburntrust.org.uk/gv

Family Christmas Adventures in the Victoria Tunnel!Come and meet Santa and Mary Christmas  - and their elves on one of o...
05/11/2019

Family Christmas Adventures in the Victoria Tunnel!

Come and meet Santa and Mary Christmas - and their elves on one of our Family Christmas Tours, every Sunday 1st to 22nd December from 11 a.m. Full details and booking at https://www.ouseburntrust.org.uk/Event/christmas

We're very excited to be nominated amongst such other lovely prestigious attractions. Now you get to vote for your favou...
23/09/2019

We're very excited to be nominated amongst such other lovely prestigious attractions. Now you get to vote for your favourite! We'd love it if you'd vote for us!

INTRODUCING… The Living North Awards 2019 Attraction of the Year Shortlist, sponsored by Jules B. Our judges have narrowed down your thousands of nominations to reveal this shortlist which celebrates a diverse range of cultural and contemporary attractions from historical buildings and castles to gardens and stately homes. It’s time to vote for your favourite ahead of the most exciting and entertaining awards evening in the North East.

www.livingnorth.com/northeast/events/living-north-awards/shortlists

The Alnwick Garden Beamish Museum Durham Cathedral Great North Museum: Hancock Victoria Tunnel: Ouseburn Trust Arbeia Roman Fort The Bowes Museum Raby Castle

Star and Shadow Cinema
05/06/2019

Star and Shadow Cinema

Just finished installing 'Up the Street: 100 years of photographs round the Star and Shadow' with Ouseburn Trust. A great wee exhibition of photographs selected from the Ouseburn Trust’s photo archive, representing the passage of time around the site now occupied by the Star and Shadow. Drawn from collections by anonymous photographers and those of the late Davey Pearson, they show the very literal change to the landscape over the past 100 years.

You can see this exhibition any time when Star and Shadow Cinema is open.

We are always open Friday 12-5pm for Fix It Cafe and Sundays 12-5 when the Sunday cafe is open.

Exhibition is on till at least 30th June (maybe longer)

https://starandshadow.org.uk/programme/event/up-the-street-100-years-of-photographs-round-the-star-and-shadow,3899/

Half term in the Ouseburn is here!
27/05/2019

Half term in the Ouseburn is here!

Half term!
Meet our animals by touring the farm with our fantastic tour guide Andrea. You will get to feed our animals and learn a bit about them too! To book click on the link https://www.ouseburnfarm.org.uk/whatson

Joining us tonight for the next installation of our musical events programme 'Sounds of the underground' it's Paul Taylo...
18/05/2019

Joining us tonight for the next installation of our musical events programme 'Sounds of the underground' it's Paul Taylor!

Here's the lad himself checking the sound levels.

#music #jazz #piano #underground #tunnel #ouseburn #newcastle #northeastjazz

Last night we saw record numbers of visitors for both our taster tours of the tunnel and our 'Women in Wartime' talks as...
18/05/2019

Last night we saw record numbers of visitors for both our taster tours of the tunnel and our 'Women in Wartime' talks as part of the @womenoftyneside festival.

We couldn't have done it without our amazing volunteers..
Seriously, you guys make this all possible.

But... we always need more volunteers to help us continue to grow our amazing events programme, our heritage tours, our award winning educational visits and all the other weird and wacky things we get up to underground.

Join us...
Visit www.ouseburntrust.org.uk for more info or DM us.

#volunteer #tunnel #heritage #guidedtours #education #marshaward #underground #newcastle #northeast #visitbritain #dosomethingamazing #music #hiddenheritage @ Ouseburn

A huge thanks to all our visitors and volunteers this evening for an amazing start to @thelateshows! See you next year! ...
17/05/2019

A huge thanks to all our visitors and volunteers this evening for an amazing start to @thelateshows!

See you next year!

#lateshows #cannylasses #womeninwartime #womenontyneside #ww2 #airraidshelter #underground #culture

It's that time again! Come down from 4-6pm for a free peek inside Newcastles hidden history... #lateshows
17/05/2019

It's that time again!
Come down from 4-6pm for a free peek inside Newcastles hidden history...

#lateshows

Tonight! Don't forget that while our 'Women in Wartime' talks are SOLD OUT you can still rock up at the Ouse Street entr...
17/05/2019

Tonight!

Don't forget that while our 'Women in Wartime' talks are SOLD OUT you can still rock up at the Ouse Street entrance to the tunnel between 4-6pm to have a wee look at the worst voted air raid shelter of WW2 and find your very own Late Shows badge...

Tonight is the first night of The Late Shows 2019. Join us in the Ouseburn for a Late Night cultural crawl, including a fabulous Glitter-arty party at The Biscuit Factory. We can't wait!

Tomorrow night- 4-6pm....Kick of this years @TheLateShows with us underground for a FREE taster tour of the tunnel and t...
16/05/2019
Newcastle & Gateshead Culture Crawl | The Late Shows

Tomorrow night- 4-6pm....

Kick of this years @TheLateShows with us underground for a FREE taster tour of the tunnel and the chance to find your badge!

No booking required, meet at the Ouse street entrance.

http://ow.ly/swpk50uePan

#culture #ouseburn

The Late Shows is a free late-night culture crawl taking place in NewcastleGateshead over the weekend of Friday 17 - Saturday 18 May 2019. During The Late Shows, museums, galleries, studio collectives and landmark historical buildings come together to offer visitors one-off events including hands-on...

The sun is shining on Newcastle and that can only mean one thing- we've already all got sunburn....Let us offer you a pl...
16/05/2019
Buy Tour Tickets

The sun is shining on Newcastle and that can only mean one thing- we've already all got sunburn....
Let us offer you a place to cool down before you head out to this weekends Late Shows!
https://www.ouseburntrust.org.uk/buy-tour-tickets

#yaburnt #ahmalilywhiteskin #wearsunscreen #lateshows

Buy tickets for the Victoria Tunnel

A little walk around the #ouseburnriver at lunch today and spotted some swans chilling in the sunshine.Right... Now back...
13/05/2019

A little walk around the #ouseburnriver at lunch today and spotted some swans chilling in the sunshine.

Right... Now back to the office.
We've got work to do!

#swans #ouseburn #newcastle

We love the biscuit factory- And we LOVED the Mountain of Turkish delight on offer last night! Go see Jim Moir aka Vic R...
10/05/2019
NewcastleGateshead

We love the biscuit factory-
And we LOVED the Mountain of Turkish delight on offer last night!
Go see Jim Moir aka Vic Reeves exhibition while you can...

You can also grab a canny 10% off food in the Factory Kitchen on production of your Victoria Tunnel tour ticket.

DELISH!

#art #factorykitchen #ouseburn

When you hear "The Biscuit Factory,” you may not automatically think “art gallery.” Set on the outskirts of Ouseburn, The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle is a great place to visit for lovers of art, craft and design, any day of the week.

Who remembers rationing? Let us remind you in the worst air raid shelter of WW2 before we treat you to a fabulously deca...
08/05/2019
Tunnel & Tea Tour

Who remembers rationing?

Let us remind you in the worst air raid shelter of WW2 before we treat you to a fabulously decadent ration inspired afternoon tea at the Hotel du Vin.

Tickets available now.

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Can you spare a minute to vote for the valuable work that happens down on the farm? #urbanfarm #ouseburn #supportyourloc...
07/05/2019

Can you spare a minute to vote for the valuable work that happens down on the farm?

#urbanfarm #ouseburn #supportyourlocaleverything

Can you help us out? We've got a chance to win £1,000 worth of funding to support our work down at the farm, but we need your nominations. All you need to do is to follow this link https://www.ecclesiastical.com/movement-for-good/ and fill out a short form to nominate us as your chosen charity. It's free and easy to do, you just need to take note of our charity number which is 1142593. The closing date is 17 May, so please share this post with your friends and family - we need all the support we can get!

#supportyourfarm

Divvent tell naebody but we've been holding some super exciting music gigs in the tunnel!Next up on Sat 18th May is the ...
07/05/2019

Divvent tell naebody but we've been holding some super exciting music gigs in the tunnel!

Next up on Sat 18th May is the fab Paul Taylor- jazz piano maestro!

Tickets are limited to only 50- well it is a tunnel.. 🤣
So divvent miss oot!

https://www.ouseburntrust.org.uk/Event/sounds-underground

#soundsoftheunderground #victoriatunnel #ouseburn #piano #music #jazz

🎁 Happy birthday! 🎁Don't forget you can grab yourself 15% off Newcastle Brew Co beers with your tunnel tour ticket... 🍻
05/05/2019

🎁 Happy birthday! 🎁

Don't forget you can grab yourself 15% off Newcastle Brew Co beers with your tunnel tour ticket... 🍻

It's our birthday.. 2 years old today!!! We're celebrating with DJs on all day and open till midnight xx

Our special 'Women in Wartime' talks are SOLD OUT- But if you missed out you can still visit the Victoria Tunnel FOR FRE...
04/05/2019

Our special 'Women in Wartime' talks are SOLD OUT-
But if you missed out you can still visit the Victoria Tunnel
FOR FREE this year as part of the Late Shows.

All you have to do is turn up to the tunnel entrance on Ouse street between 4-6pm and one of our wonderful volunteer guides will show you around and give you the opportunity to find your own Late Shows badge in the bricks.

For the full programme:
https://thelateshows.org.uk/2019

Happening now!
04/05/2019

Happening now!

Street Food Saturday #6 is cooking on gas! 🍔🌯🥪

Head down for tasty scran, a wander around the gardens and a cuddle with some of our fluffliest friends (Sir Cucumber can't wait! 🐰)...

Don't miss Rock Choir Chester-Le-Street Durham Hexham Newcastle Ponteland & Sunderland performing in the yard at 12.45pm and top North East street food from:

Meat:Stack
Catalinas Newcastle
Sun Of Seitan
Olive Tree
Acropolis Street Food
Kogarashi
Philly Deli

Address

53-55 Lime Street, Ouseburn Valley
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE1 2PQ

You can reach us by: Bus: Any bus 12, 39, 40, 62 and 63 from outside Central Library, Market Street to St Dominics PrioryTanners Arms end of Byker Bridge - Walk down Stepney Bank, onto Lime Street Metro: Byker and Manors Metro Stations are more or less equidistant from our Lime Street Office.

General information

Pre booking on all public tours is essential, we recommend booking weeks in advance of your intended visit date as we are extremely busy. We also offer tours for ten or more people, outside of typical opening hours. For further information or to book a tour email: [email protected] Accesibility: >Guide Dogs are Permitted (but not other animals). >Helmets and torches are supplied at the start of the tour. >There are Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors. >Ramp/ Level Access - No Wheelchair access beyond WWII blast walls. >Toilets for visitors including disabled visitors at Ouseburn Trust office (where the tours commence). Catering: >Hotel du Vin and Cluny Kitchen offer discounts for Victoria Tunnel visitors. Provider Facilities: >Educational 'School Work-shop' Facilities - Workshops are held each March, June and October, check our website for full details. Parking: >On site parking in Ouseburn Trust car-park under Byker Bridge and roadside on Lime Street and Foundry Lane car-park (behind Seven Stories bookstore). Payment Methods: >Paypal, CC, Cash on arrival >Maximum group size = 15 people at a time. >£6.00 per adult, £4.00 per child

Opening Hours

Monday 13:30 - 15:30
Wednesday 13:30 - 15:00
Thursday 18:30 - 21:00
Friday 13:00 - 15:30
Friday 10:00 - 12:30
Saturday 13:00 - 15:30
Saturday 10:00 - 12:30
Sunday 13:00 - 15:00

Telephone

(0191) 2304210

Alerts

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Videos

Our Story

The Victoria Tunnel is a Grade II listed structure which runs under the city from the Town Moor down to the Tyne. It was built as a waggonway to transport coal from Spital Tongues (Leazes Main) Colliery to the river and operated between 1842 and the mid 1860s. In 1939, the City Engineers converted the Tunnel into an air raid shelter to protect hundreds of Newcastle citizens during World War II. Between 2007 and 2009, the Tunnel was carefully repaired and opened for guided tours by Newcastle City Council with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and TyneWear Partnership. This part of the Tunnel is now open all year round to the public for guided tours operated by The Ouseburn Trust and include fantastic sound and visual effects. Tours cost £7 per adult £4 for under 16s and last approximately two hours. We also offer one hour tours during weekends and school holidays for families or anyone wanting a shorter tour.

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Comments

Watch Races Around The World's vlog on the Ouseburn pubs to plan your post-Lockdown pub crawl!
Visited santa today and what a fabulous experience, kids loved it, I loved it, nanna loved it 😁 the staff were great and so friendly! Definitely worth a visit ❤️❄️🎄
We were here today to see Santa and it was amazing.. kids loved seeing the 'real' Santa and they had a lovely time. The staff are fantastic and the customer service I received when buying tickets and the visit today was second to none. Happy kids, happy parents. Thank you and Merry Christmas 🎅
The 'Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music' 2019 begins tomorrow, we're in for a weekend of intense and brilliant music and workshops, limited tickets still available for some concerts, advance booking recommended. www.facebook.com/newcastlefestivalofjazzandimprovisedmusic Thanks to Paul Bream for his great round up of this years festival, If you're not signed up to 'Jazz Alert', it is alongside the Be Bop Spoken Here Blogspot a great way to hear about all the latest jazz events happening in Tyneside, email Jazz North East if you want to be added to this mailing list and we'll be sure to pass your details over. [email protected] NEXT WEEK’S GIGS There’s no getting away from it - all of the jazz that’s happening in the coming week falls under the shadow of the Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music. Except, let’s reconsider that statement . . . “shadow” suggests something rather gloomy, but that’s the last thing one could say about four days packed with brilliant, imaginative music from around the world and across the stylistic spectrum. It’s not a shadow, it’s a spotlight on some of the most exciting things happening in the world of contemporary jazz. In only its third year, this Festival already has as much concentrated and creative dynamism as any to be found in the UK . . . if there is a downside, it’s that the Festival’s reputation has grown to the point where tickets for some sessions are snapped up almost as soon as they become available; you can try turning up on the door, but my advice would be that you’re better off booking in advance. And then, enjoy! ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with Jazz North East & DJazz presents SOMERSAULTS Toby Delius (reeds); Olie Brice (bass); Mark Sanders (drums) + LIBER MUSIKA Faye MacClaman (tenor sax & clarinet); John Garner (violin & viola); John Pope (bass); Will Hammond (vibes & percussion) Thursday 3rd October | 8.00pm (doors 7.30) Black Swan Bar & Venue | Black Swan Court | 69 Westgate Road | Newcastle NE1 1SG Tickets £8.00 | £6.00 concessions from Reflex Records (0191 260 3246), or www.seetickets.com Bang! Straight in! This year’s Newcastle Festival could hardly start with a more exciting double bill. The trio of Toby Delius (a key member of Holland’s wonderful ICP Orchestra), Olie Brice and Mark Sanders have played a couple of previous Newcastle gigs at the Bridge Hotel. I think, however, that this is the first time they’ve used the group name ‘Somersaults’, an entirely appropriate designation for music that leaps and bounds with a fierce gymnastic energy, yet always retaining a sense of structure and purpose. Thrilling stuff. Likely to be equally thrilling is the debut performance of Liber Musika, a new venture from musically omnivorous bassist John Pope, this time inspired by the ideas of AACM radicals such as Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell and Wadada Leo Smith. The intriguing instrumental line-up will be given free rein to inhabit and deconstruct new compositions in what is described as “an exercise in space and form, rhythm and melody, texture and abstraction”. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with the Lit & Phil presents CHARKIE PARLOUR John Garner (violin); Mark Williams (guitar); John Pope (bass); Russ Morgan (drums) + ALEMBIC Melanie Fox (voice); Paul Taylor (piano) Friday 4th October | 1.00pm (doors 12.30) Literary & Philosophical Society | 23 Westgate Road | Newcastle NE1 1SE Tickets £5.00 from Reflex Records (0191 260 3246), or www.seetickets.com Charkie Parlour, violinist John Garner’s stylistically wide-ranging quartet, rooted in jazz but drawing on influences as diverse as Indian Carnatic music, contemporary classical, and British folk. In unskilled hands this could descend into a shapeless mishmash, but with musicians of the quality of John Pope, Mark Williams and Russ Morgan in the team there’s a creative unity throughout. Support duo Alembic here make their debut. Vocalist Melanie Fox has made a couple of low key appearances singing standards, but has been looking for an opportunity to indulge her more radical inclinations, so when improvising pianist Paul Taylor suggested that they could work together, she jumped at the chance. They have used the Sage Summer School as an opportunity to develop new material, and will be giving it a first public airing at this gig. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with Jazz North East & Gosforth Civic Theatre Jazz Club present YAZZ AHMED’S ELECTRIC DREAMS Yazz Ahmed (trumpet & flugelhorn); Jason Singh (voice & electronics); Samuel Hällkvist (guitar); Rod Youngs (drums) Friday 4th October | 8.00pm (doors 7.30) Gosforth Civic Theatre | Regent Farm Road | Gosforth NE3 3HD Tickets £12.00 | £10.00 concessions from Reflex Records (0191 260 3246), or www.seetickets.com Suddenly there’s a spate of exciting young women trumpeters on the UK scene. Laura Jurd paved the way, and Kim Macari is increasingly making waves at the contemporary/free end of the jazz spectrum. Both have played superb gigs for Jazz North East, and now it’s the turn of Yazz Ahmed, in a performance jointly promoted by JNE and Gosforth Civic Theatre as a contribution to the Newcastle Festival. The British Bahraini artist has been described as playing “psychedelic Arabic jazz”, which - with its hint of exotic orientalism - seems to me to be restrictive. Yes, she draws to some extent on her heritage (which artist doesn’t?), and has written and performed music that specifically engages with Arabic musical structures, but her quest to find new ways of making her music ranges much more widely - collaborations with outfits as diverse as Radiohead and the London Symphony Orchestra illustrate her cultural curiosity. Her recently formed Electric Dreams band, which she brings to Gosforth, explores (and blurs) the lines between acoustic jazz and electronic sound design, creating unique and spontaneous compositions in which vocal sculptor Jason Singh plays a key role alongside the leader. This is compellingly distinctive music that doesn’t need to be saddled with a label. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with Durham University presents AESTHETICS OF IMPERFECTION WORKSHOP : SESSION ONE Saturday 5th October | 9.30am - 3.00pm Literary & Philosophical Society | 23 Westgate Road | Newcastle NE1 1SE Free entry These sessions, hosted by Durham University lecturer and jazz author Andy Hamilton, have been a fascinating adjunct to local jazz festivals for several years, commencing with the Gateshead International Festival and now an integral part of the Newcastle project. They seek to build on ideas that Andy first enunciated in a 2000 article ‘The Art of Improvisation and the Aesthetics of Imperfection’, arguing that the spontaneous process of improvising has as much, if not more, aesthetic value as any final recorded or notated product. The sessions feature a mix of talks, interviews, discussions, and live performance, and include contributions from many of the Festival participants, including Brodie West, Achim Kaufmann, Evan Parker, Alex Hawkins and Tony Buck. A provisional programme can be found at www.andyhamilton.org/aesthetics-of-imperfection, but my experience is that it’s worth dropping in at any time to hear what’s happening, and to gain insights into a boundless field of interest to any lover of improvised music. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with Newcastle Arts Centre IN OTHER WORDS Faye Thompson (reeds); Nathan Lawson (guitar); Dylan Thompson (drums) FRANCINE LUCE & ANDY CHAMPION Francine Luce (vocals); Andy Champion (bass) BRADLEY JOHNSTON Solo Guitar Saturday 5th October | 1.00 - 5.00pm Black Swan Bar & Venue | Black Swan Court | 69 Westgate Road | Newcastle NE1 1SG Free entry An afternoon triple bill ranging from the established to the brand spanking new. ‘In Other Words’ is a trio of teenage musicians of considerable talent, although their repertoire of jazz standards and ‘modern hits’ has the disadvantage of going head-to-head with previous versions; any performance of ‘Caravan’ has to be very special indeed to stand out amongst the 3,217 other recorded takes on the tune. Whereas ‘In Other Words’ may be playing old standards as they work towards a more personal approach, Bradley Johnston embraces jazz’s back catalogue as a matter of policy, with a set promising “a musical journey from Eddie Lang and Django Reinhardt, through Joe Pass and Louis Stewart, to Pat Metheny”. There are likely also to be some of Brad's own compositions, although these too are heavily influenced by his largely deceased heroes. The duo of Francine Luce and Andy Champion, here making their first ever public appearance, is, though, totally original in all respects. Vocalist Luce, originally from Martinique, and having spent much of her musical life between France and the UK, was last on Tyneside as singer with Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra. On moving to North Yorkshire she was put in touch with Andy as a musically compatible partner, and they have been working on this duo project for around 18 months, developing original compositions that link groove, jazz and free improvisation, built around lyrics in Creole, France and English, with sound and speech, and of course Andy’s inimitable bass playing. Probably uncategorisable, and certainly unmissable. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with the Jazz Coop presents RICHARD MICHAELS : PLAY JAZZ WORKSHOP Saturday 5th October | 2.00 - 6.00pm Sage Gateshead Registration £25.00 | £22.50 Jazz Coop members, from 0191 443 4661 Pianist Richard Michaels, Professor of Jazz Piano at the University of St Andrews, is the guest tutor at this workshop, prior to playing an evening concert at the Globe. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with the Ouseburn Trust EVAN PARKER Sounds from the Underground Saturday 5th October | 5.00pm Victoria Tunnel | Ouse Street | Newcastle NE1 2BE Sold out. I’m listing this in the interests of inclusivity, but tickets sold out within days of it being announced; hardly surprising, as the opportunity to hear the great improviser in the acoustically distinctive setting of the Victoria Tunnel is a mouth watering prospect. I’m one of the many who were too slow off the mark to get a ticket, so it’s some compensation that Evan will be at the Lit & Phil tomorrow night in a quartet specially assembled for the Newcastle Festival. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with the Lit & Phil presents RAYMOND MACDONALD & JER REID Raymond MacDonald (alto & soprano saxophones); Jer Reid (guitar) + MASSIMO PUPILLO & TONY BUCK Massimo Pupillo (bass & electronics); Tony Buck (drums & electronics) + WAYS with ACHIM KAUFMANN Brodie West (saxophone); Evan Cartwright (drums); Achim Kaufmann (piano) Saturday 5th October | 7.00pm (doors 6.30) Literary & Philosophical Society | 23 Westgate Road | Newcastle NE1 1SE Tickets £12.00 | £10.00 concessions from Reflex Records (0191 260 3246), or www.seetickets.com A three course feast of free improvisation from some of the world’s finest exponents. Closest to home is the duo of Raymond MacDonald and Jer Reid, both members of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and here merging Raymond’s fractured melodicism on sax with Jer’s more rock-inclined guitar. The outcome is an ecstatic celebration of musical possibilities, ranging from delicate sound worlds to blistering torrents where the boundaries between their instruments disappear into a glorious maelstrom of sound. Italian bass Massimo Pupillo player and Australian drummer Tony Buck are best known for their membership, respectively, of thrash-jazz trio Zu and iconic slow-burn improvisers The Necks. Both, though, are also inveterate and open-minded collaborators, between them having worked with a profuse pantheon of celebrated artists, ranging from Katia & Marielle Labeque, through Brian Eno and David Sylvain, to fire breathing free jazz stars Peter Brotzmann and Mats Gustafsson. Their own duo draws on the widest musical vocabulary, given a further dimension by adventurous electronic manipulation. Finally it’s across the Atlantic to Canada, where since 2013 ‘Ways’, the Toronto-based duo of Brodie West and Evan Cartwright, have been exploring new compositional strategies as the basis for improvisation. For this Festival performance (the only one in the UK) they will be joined by German pianist Achim Kaufmann, whose sole previous Tyneside appearance was a memorable December 2014 concert in Newcastle University - it’s great to welcome him back. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with the Jazz Coop presents RICHARD MICHAEL’S HISTORY OF JAZZ PIANO Saturday 5th October | 7.30pm The Globe | 11 Railway Street | Newcastle NE4 7AD Admission £10.00 | £7.00 students An extraordinarily versatile performer, Richard Michaels can play in the style of every major jazz pianist from Fats Waller to Keith Jarrett, an ability that he puts to good use in his popular ‘History of Jazz Piano’ recital. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with Durham University presents AESTHETICS OF IMPERFECTION WORKSHOP : SESSION TWO Sunday 6th October | 10.00am - 4.00pm Literary & Philosophical Society | 23 Westgate Road | Newcastle NE1 1SE Free entry The second day of Andy Hamilton’s stimulating exploration of the nature and value of improvisation. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with Newcastle Arts Centre presents SUE FERRIS QUINTET Sue Ferris (saxes & flute); Graham Hardy (trumpet & flugelhorn); Paul Edis (piano); Paul Susans (bass); Rob Walker (drums) + MARK WILLIAMS SOLO Mark Williams (guitar) Sunday 6th October | 1.15pm (doors 1.00) Black Swan Bar & Venue | Black Swan Court | 69 Westgate Road | Newcastle NE1 1SG Free admission A second afternoon session at the Black Swan, again focussing on local musicians, and again with an element of novelty. On this occasion the unexpected comes from guitarist Mark Williams, who has appeared countless times in ‘Jazz Alert’ listings, but never before in a solo situation. Over the years he has shown his outstanding ability in everything from jazz standards, especially when accompanying vocalists, to something close to free improvisation with the now disbanded ACV, so for this solo set his mission (if he accepts it) is to pull together all the strands in an unfettered expression of his musical persona. The Sue Ferris Quintet is less of a novelty, but is still too infrequently heard on Tyneside - to my amazement (and shock) this appears to be the group’s first Newcastle appearance since a Corner House gig in early 2007! Promoters should hang their heads in shame, because this is a quintet of the highest quality, working from a basically post-bop cache, but with the ability to make even the familiar seem freshly minted. ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with Charts presents JAZZ SOCIAL Jam Session With the STU COLLINGWOOD TRIO Sunday 6th October | 4.00 - 7.00pm Charts | Quayside | Newcastle NE1 3DX Free admission ++++++++++ Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music in association with Jazz North East and the Lit & Phil presents ALEXANDER HAWKINS Solo Piano + EVAN PARKER, HAWKINS, POPE & HESSION Evan Parker (tenor & soprano saxophones); Alexander Hawkins (piano); John Pope (bass); Paul Hession (drums) Sunday 6th October | 7.30pm (doors 7.00) Literary & Philosophical Society | 23 Westgate Road | Newcastle NE1 1SE Tickets £12.00 | £10.00 concessions from Reflex Records (0191 260 3246), or www.seetickets.com This year’s Newcastle Festival came in with a bang, and goes out with . . . well, actually, another bang! This final session was originally supposed to feature the trio of Danish saxophonist Julie Kjaer, but due to an unfortunate cancellation (which it’s hoped will be merely a postponement, as Jazz North East hope to find a slot for her next year). The replacement, however, could hardly be better, as Evan Parker extends his stay in Newcastle to participate in a brand new quartet. The bass and drums team of John Pope and Paul Hession first came together at last year’s Festival, where they played a stunning King’s Hall concert with the great Joe McPhee; now they’re re-assembled as the engine room for Evan, alongside pianist Alexander Hawkins, creating a free improvising rhythm section of stellar luminosity. Before the quartet kicks in, however, there’s a solo set from Alex, who, since his Tyneside debut in November 2006, has steadily built an international reputation that sees him seriously spoken of in the same breath as such titans as Andrew Hill, Cecil Taylor and Keith Jarrett. The mainly short improvisations on his recently issued solo album ’Iron into Wind’ underpin these glowing comparisons, but as the review in ‘AllAboutJazz’ put it, “while he may acknowledge the masters, Hawkins sounds like none of them as he increasingly carves a singular niche”. A set from Alex is worth the ticket money alone - paired with the Parker-led quartet, this is the grandest of grand finales to a superb Festival.