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Thousands attend Toon's tattoo festival; in brief.

CROWDS turned out at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena for the launch of the city's biggest tattoo show. A queue formed early as the two-day Big North Tattoo Show began with around 300 artists from across the country coming together in Newcastle under one roof. Families were among visitors of all ages who were eager to see the tattoo artists in action. Many had booked slots to have a new tattoo done by a big name, while others just wanted to watch and learn or admire the range of colourful catalogues of work. The arena was divided into work stations and most of them were occupied by people on tables and chairs having tattoos while spectators watched from the seating area. Entertainment ranged from improv comedy to a knife-wielding tricks on a main stage and in the foyer with a similar programme set to follow today. There were also competitions, children's entertainment and food stalls. The show was seen as a showcase event for the region and in the run-up 2,000 tickets had already been sold, said co-organiser Martin McIver. "We've always seen tattoos as extremely popular in Newcastle which is why we chose to do a show here, but we've been bowled over by the response," he said. "It's far greater than we were expecting." A huge range of tattoos, from classical to oriental, were on offer at the work stations. Lauren Stephans, of Newcastlebased Cock A Snook tattoo parlour, was busy with her brand of feminine tattoos. She said: "I'm 90% booked but I've left a little bit of room at the end of each day. "I think tomorrow will be even busier, being the day before Bank Holiday Monday." One of the star attractions is Xed Le Hed, who's described as a tattoo pioneer and has influenced many in the business.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 1, 2017
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