Fans of the legendary fantasy works of J.R.R. Tolkien could easily be forgiven for thinking that this year’s season for elves and orcs behaving badly ended earlier this month, with the ever-popular Middle Earth Festival (originally the Tolkien Weekend) taking place at and around Sarehole Mill in Hall Green, Birmingham, a place which inspired the writer and academic from the days of his youth.
But if you look a little further north this weekend, you will find some competition for the longer-established event going on in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where they are holding their own Tolkien Weekend 2016 on Saturday, 24th and Sunday, 25th September , with a programme of events coordinated by Time and Tide Events of Tyne & Wear.
For this alternate Tolkien Weekend, the venue is Newcastle Castle, and admission is, like the unconnected Birmingham event, free of charge, in this case with stalls and entertainment being located inside the Castle Keep and Black Gate.
A Tolkien fringe
Fringe events include an art exhibition, ‘Illuminating Tolkien’, at St Nicholas Cathedral (20th-25th September, with a preview evening on Friday 19th), and a Beowulf Evening at The Bridge Hotel (24th September, 7pm), featuring a performance of the famous Old English poem.
Guest of honour Royd Tolkien will be talking about his great-grandfather’s legacy at a Q&A session at 3pm on Saturday 24th.
Newcastle’s second event
This is the second annual weekend in Newcastle celebrating the works of J.R.R. Tolkien – the Castle being the meeting place of regional Tolkien Society group or smial Arnor – aka The Fellowship of the North.