Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 14.52.03One of the UK’s largest free LGBT festivals is expected to boost the North East economy by more than £8m this summer.

Newcastle Pride, now in its eighth year, returns to the city’s Town Moor for three days of live entertainment from Friday July 17.

The event, which is also celebrating 45 years of world Pride, contributed around £7.9m to the economy in 2014 and attracted a record 65,000 visitors – with organisers expecting an even bigger turn out later this month.

“Last year was the biggest in Newcastle Pride history,” said Mark Nichols, Chair of Northern Pride which organises the annual event.

“It’s hard to determine exactly how much attendance will grow this time around because entry is primarily free but we’re hoping for an increase of around 10 per cent.

“We’ve already sold the majority of the paid for VIP and Golden Circle passes for 2015, which allow festival goers to get closer to the action, so we may even exceed this target.”

Among those expected to benefit most from Newcastle Pride 2015 are the city’s leisure operators, including The Vermont Hotel, the Copthorne Hotel and Thistle Hotel Newcastle City Centre, many of whom are already reporting close to maximum occupancy.

There will also be a knock on effect for restaurants, pubs and bars in and around the city centre, with Pride’s line up of live entertainment finishing in the early evening on all three days.

Stephen Patterson, Director of Communications for Newcastle’s Business Improvement District, NE1, which is sponsoring this year’s event, said: “We’ve already heard from people as far afield as Inverness, Brighton and Bristol who are planning on travelling to Newcastle Pride 2015.

“It stands to reason then that business will be boosted for all our accommodation providers throughout the weekend, as well for the wide range of leisure, travel and other operators who help cater for this huge influx of visitors every year.

“Newcastle Pride is amazing event for Newcastle and the wider North East and we’re proud to be involved.”

Newcastle Pride 2015 will run at the city’s Town Moor fromFriday July 17 to Sunday July 19, offering live music and entertainment for all ages.

This includes headline performances by girlband B*Witched and 80s star Belinda Carlisle on Saturday and Sunday respectively, as well as a parade from Newcastle civic centre, a candlelit vigil and themed areas, such as the family zone, which will be open throughout the weekend.

There are also a number of satellite events taking place in the days before, with full listings available at  Further details can also be found by searching Northern Pride on Facebook or Twitter.