When you think Geordie culture, or Newcastle, certain images or activities pop into one’s mind.
Watching the ‘Toon’ for example may be a popular afterthought, getting lashed on the Quayside another, gorging oneself on Gregg’s Steak Bakes until you burst is a personal fav, but there’s one thriving part of Newcastle and Gateshead’s fabric you may not have celebrated before or indeed known about.
Yes, it may come as a surprise to many, but Tyneside has something of a booming Latin American community and for five solid years organisers of the ¡VAMOS! Festival have worked tirelessly to celebrate Spanish and Portuguese speaking cultures across Newcastle and Gateshead.
And this year by jove, certainly isn’t any different.
For the very first time, ¡VAMOS! 2011 will launch with a Tyne Carnival procession through the streets of Newcastle on Saturday 4 June, bringing with it 5 full weeks of live Latin American music, food and film.
Nik Barrera, an excited Co-Director of the festival, said: “We are very excited about ¡VAMOS! Festival 2011. It has been transformed to span five weeks this year, which will allow a real diversity and depth to this year’s programme.
“We have a big Mexican theme this year and the Mexican wrestling event we have planned at The Sage on 29th June will be unbelievable. We’ll have an art exhibition ready in Newcastle which is truly beautiful work, extremely rare and we’re very lucky to have it in the region. It never normally leaves London.”
Mexican Wrestling from Vamos Festival 2010
Other highlights at ¡VAMOS! 2011 include a special A Peña Flamenca event at Dance City on Saturday 11 June, a live performance from Cuban artist Mariley Reinoso Olivera at the music restaurant Barkollo on 9th July and a stint from the king of Chilean electronica, Matias Aguayo.
Aguayo is renound for hosting space changing ‘Bumbumbox’ parties all over Latin America and he has brought his event to the UK so the people of the North East can sway to the sounds of contemporary Latino culture.
Prints from the Mexican Revolution will be on show at the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle from June 25th and there will be a host of opportunities to eat authentic food in the homes of Latin families, thanks to a string of secret restaurants.
Films on show at ¡VAMOS! 2011 include a season of award winning contemporary efforts from Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico.
Co-director Patricia Oliart, added: “We’re looking to draw a different audience this year and we’d love all the people from Newcastle, Gateshead and beyond to enjoy the food, the music and the dancing.
“Geordie people are very good at giving things a go and don’t take themselves too seriously like Latin American people, so this should create an amazing atmosphere.”
¡VAMOS! Festival kicks off on 4th June and runs until 10th July 2011. For more information go to www.vamosfestival.com
- ¡VAMOS! Festival Offers Cross-Cultural Extravaganza