A MAJOR new regional festival to promote and celebrate the north east’s growing tech sector has been launched.

Organised by regional tech network Dynamo and its partner Sunderland Software City, Tech NExt Festival will be held throughout the north east from June 19-23 this summer.

The festival has already received the backing and support from a range of public and private organisations, and Sage has been confirmed as a headline sponsor.

“Our aim is to bring at least 3,000 attendees together to showcase the vibrancy, excellence and ambition of the north east tech sector,” explained Dr David Dunn, CEO of both Dynamo and Sunderland Software City.

“Other areas of the UK already have tech festivals, so it’s about time we had a similar platform to show just how good we are!” he added.

He said the idea of a festival was first discussed last December and had snowballed quickly.

“The timing is right – Dynamo members have been talking about a festival for some time and now Dynamo and Sunderland Software City are working together we have the resources we need to put behind it,” he said.

Sarah Thackray, a Dynamo Director, added: “We’ve chosen June because that’s when the Dynamo conference was traditionally held and the dates fit it nicely with the calendar of similar tech festivals around the UK.”

As well as a host of fringe showcase events held across the north east, including Teesside, there will be a range of key ‘anchor’ events. These will include:


  • Tuesday, June 20: An industry dinner at the Radisson Blu Hotel Durham;
  • Wednesday, June 21: A conference in City Hall, Sunderland
  • Thursday, June 22: A Tech Talent Fair in Gateshead
  • Thursday, June 22: A Festival Party at Revolucion de Cuba, Newcastle


Sarah explained: “For our fringe events we’re asking tech companies and organisations to throw their doors open to engage the wider community, and shine a light on the amazing tech we have in this region. We want organisations to come forward to suggest ideas for our fringe events – we want to involve as many as possible from the sector. We’d like companies or organisations to provide venues, curate or host these fringe events. We aim to have at least 40 such events, which could include seminars, lectures, workshops or social gatherings.

“We’ve had great support from within the sector already, but there are still opportunities to support us through sponsorship, and we also hope more companies will want to associate their own events with the Festival.”

David added: “We want people to think differently for our fringe events, create a bit of buzz and excitement around the possibilities and opportunities emerging tech can offer.

“We won’t shy away from difficult issues  – so for instance we might have a hard look at the threat of AI to tech jobs and what it means to the region’s sector.

“But most of all we want to raise the profile of a brilliant, successful sector that adds so much to the region’s economy and vibrancy. We want teachers, students, business people, investors, everyone, to understand what is happening here and the potential it has to grow even further.”

A website – – has been created and will be launched in early March. Social media channels will also keep people informed about the festival.

Anyone wanting to sponsor the Festival, suggest an idea or otherwise get involved in the festival should email Sarah on or sign up to receive latest news on our website.

Dynamo members will receive discounts to ticketed events.

Dynamo North East is made up of tech organisations, large corporate employers in the region, consultants, technology hubs, education providers, local government and suppliers to the industry. Dynamo relies on the support of the region’s tech organisations to help achieve regional growth in the sector, promote the region externally, develop skills and education, and support regional research and development.

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