As excitement builds for the return of Durham BRASS Festival, Gala Durham is gearing up
to welcome a host of world-renowned artists to the stage.
The festival, which is one of the summer highlights of Durham County Council’s annual
events programme, is set to be bigger and better than ever when it returns from Sunday
10 to Sunday 17 July.
Supporting the county’s bid to be named UK City of Culture 2025 and demonstrating the
importance of a rich and vibrant cultural scene to economic growth, BRASS will feature a number of community workshops and events alongside exciting live performances.
Amongst the performers taking centre stage at Durham County Council venue Gala
Durham are a double MOBO Award winner, Mercury Prize nominee and a world-famous
The first to perform at the city-centre venue on Sunday 10 July are Field Music &
NASUWT Riverside Band, with Binding Time – Songs & Stories from the Durham
Coalfields. Field Music is made up of Sunderland duo Peter and David Brewis, who have
received endless praise for their film scores, collaborations and cover albums, as well as a
run of acclaimed albums of their own songs.
The new commission for BRASS, which is in partnership with the Durham Miners’
Association and funded by the Arts Council, sees the duo perform their new suite of songs
inspired by the growth and decline of coal mining in the region, accompanied by a seven-
piece brass section from the NASUWT Riverside Band.
This year’s festival also aims to provide a platform to acts which are taking brass in a new
direction. With a sound-clash of Western African funk, disco and electric alongside the
wonderful vocals of Nigerian singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine is promising
audiences a night to remember on Thursday 14 July.
Those who prefer exhilarating party jams and unique interpretations of indie classics can
book tickets to see Old Dirty Brasstards on Friday 15 July. The tweed-clad 10-piece
brass powerhouse has wowed audiences at top venues and major festivals across the UK.
Saturday 16 July offers twice the fun for audiences of all ages. YolanDa’s Band Jam,
presented by double MOBO award winning musician and broadcaster YolanDa Brown,
will encourage children to discover the joys of music through dancing, singing and playing
at 2pm. Having worked with The Temptations, Diana Krall and Billy Ocean, YolanDa has
garnered praise for her fusion of reggae, jazz and soul, and she will return to the stage at
7.30pm to perform some fantastic sunshine music.
And, bringing Gala Durham’s BRASS performances to a close on Sunday 17 July is Black
Dyke Band. Founded in Yorkshire in 1855, the award-winning band has featured on 350
recordings and played around the world, from the Royal Albert Hall to the Sydney Opera
Other headline performances will take place inside the spectacular setting of Durham
Cathedral as the UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts Richard Hawley performing with
NASUWT Riverside Band and LYR together with The Easington Colliery Band.
The festival will also see free concerts taking place in schools and communities across the
county, a full programme of lively street bands and a host of community workshops.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We are
delighted that our eclectic, vibrant and colourful celebration of BRASS is back. As part of
this year’s incredible programme of world-renowned artists, we have a fantastic line-up at
Gala Durham and we cannot wait to welcome audiences of all ages.
“These acts are a perfect example of the diverse offering at BRASS and highlight the rich
history of music as well as championing more contemporary artists. Our shortlisting for UK
City of Culture 2025 highlights our commitment to culture in County Durham and we are
certain this year’s festival, with its exciting mix of national and international artists, will
create so many memorable moments for communities.”
All tickets and information on the Brass Festival can be found at www.brassfestival.co.uk