This film is part of Free

Newcastle Festival 1971

An upbeat parade of funky trade floats hits the street to launch the Newcastle Festival in 1971.

Amateur film 1971 8 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


Newcastle upon Tyne kicks up its vinyl knee-length boots, pulls on the pink hot pants and saddles up the Lord Mayor’s coach in the early 1970s for a grand parade to launch the city’s annual festival of culture. Local Tyneside personalities (note the big Jackie O bug eye sunglasses) stand by to judge the colourful trade floats that promote everything from Tudor crisps and Vaux Breweries to a trendy ‘Miss Nightclub of Great Britain’ beauty contest.

It’s a decade that people vividly remember for the power cuts and strikes but this Newcastle Festival parade held in October 1971 circles the city with branded optimism. Historic Promotions win first prize for their float, their spokesman declaring with the same city swagger ‘What are we, Geordies? We are the North’s chosen people.’ The film was commissioned by the Tyneside Junior Chamber of Commerce and produced by the skilled amateurs of the Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA), one of the earliest cine clubs in Britain, founded in 1927. The festival director from 1969 to 1971 was Michael Emmerson, who founded the Belfast Festival back in 1964.