The Evolution Festival, known locally as 'Evo', is a music festival held annually in areas across Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Gateshead, England since 2002. Its centre-piece is a four-stage event (Including the Emerging stage, which hosts the cream of the North-East's unsigned talent) held on Spring Bank Holiday Monday at three sites beside the River Tyne, though the festival also incorporates a series of other performances at venues around Newcastle and Gateshead in the preceding week. It has previously been known as Orange Evolution due to sponsorship by the Mobile Phone company. The outdoor elements of the event has subsequently been known as Freevolution and then 3volution, when a charge was introduced.
Evolution Festival started life as a multi-venue festival in 2002. This also included a dance event promoted by shindig (The Newcastle based club night) on Baltic Square. In 2003 the full event took place on the Quayside for the first time headlined by Moloko. In 2004, due to funding/finance restrictions, Evolution returned to its multi-venue format, but still managed to produce again with Shindig. A 6000 capacity dance event headlined by Eric Morillo and Deep Dish. It returned to the Quayside in 2005, where it has remained since. The 2005 Festival consisted of a series of live music performances throughout Newcastle and Gateshead in the month of May. It was sponsored by the UK mobile phone network Orange and culminated on Bank Holiday Monday with a free three-stage event around the Spillers Wharf area of the Newcastle Quayside and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. Over the next two years the number of ancillary events decreased with more focus on the culminating event. In 2008, the festival ended its sponsorship with Orange and rebranded itself as 'Evolution Festival', introducing a charge (of £3.00) for the Bank Holiday Monday festival for the first time. Some of this charge will be passed on to WaterAid, its official charity. In 2009, acts such as The Wombats and Dizzee Rascal headlined the event with the festival now being a weekender festival. The festival is hosted on Sunday and Monday and tickets are priced at £15 per weekend ticket. For 2010 the festival added a third stage called 'Ballast Hills' which is the festivals new folk stage. The price of day tickets and weekends tickets were also increased to £25 for a weekend ticket and £17.50 for a Sunday or Monday ticket. The full line up for Evolution 2011 was released on Thursday 17 February with Iggy and the Stooges & Plan B headlining. The festival will take place on the 28th and 29 May, and tickets will be priced at £35 for the weekend ticket and £25 for a day ticket. During October 2011 it was announced that the festival would return in 2012 over the Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend (Sunday 3rd and Monday 4 June) with the full line up announcement and on sale ticket details to be announced in early 2012. The festivals Facebook page also announced that there would be a price freeze for 2012 with weekend tickets priced at £35+bf and day tickets at £25+bf. Along with the line up announcement for 2012, the festival organisers announced that the Baltic stage would be relocated to a new location near Spillers Wharf due to complaints about the walking distance between the two main stages. The 2013 festival was held on 26th and the 27th of May. Evolution festival has 'been paused' for 2014. However promoters Jim Mawdsley and Dave Stone assure festival goers this is not the end of Evolution Festival.