Thousands gather for a brilliant BRASS-travaganza
Thousands of people have come together across County Durham to enjoy the sound of Durham BRASS.
More than 35,000 people experienced the return of the much-loved festival, which is one of the highlights of Durham County Council’s annual events programme.
Featuring free concerts in communities, performances in schools and care homes, a full
programme of lively street bands and world-famous musicians performing at Gala Durham
and Durham Cathedral, the week-long festival celebrated brass music in all its forms.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “What an
incredible week it has been for County Durham. It has been fantastic to see BRASS back
in all its glory and spreading the joy of music across our communities.
“To see so many people come together once again after the pandemic, from young
children to older residents, is very special. We are determined that everyone should be
able to access cultural opportunities and this festival truly highlights how culture can help
us to transform communities, bring people together and raise aspirations.”
In total, 35,365 people joined in with BRASS, including 12,083 pupils at 56 schools.
North east duo Field Music kicked off the festival, which also saw two headline
performances take place inside the spectacular setting of Durham Cathedral. The
UNESCO World Heritage site hosted LYR, fronted by current Poet Laureate Simon
Armitage, with The Easington Colliery Band, and Richard Hawley performing with
NASUWT Riverside Band.
Big and Mini BRASS Bashes then brought the party to the people throughout the week,
with a series of free community concerts in Trimdon, Willington, Crook, Seaham, Newton
Aycliffe and Bishop Auckland.
To celebrate the final weekend of the festival, Streets of Brass took over Durham City with
two days of free musical mayhem. Spanish favourites Artistas del Gremio, Italy’s
Bandakadabra, Back Chat Brass, Bollywood Brass Band, Loud Noises, Perhaps
Contraption, Oompah Brass and all female Italian brass band, Girlesque, ensured visitors
to the city centre were on their feet.
The bands also accompanied runners taking part in the Durham City Run festival over the
weekend before coming together for a Big BRASS Party in Wharton Park on Saturday
Other highlights across the weekend saw traditional brass band performances at three of
the county’s bandstands and performances taking place at a number of care homes.
Bringing cheer to those who have had a particularly tough few years, brass bands took
part in special outdoor performances at care homes, including at Birchwood Court in
Easington, where the Easington Colliery Brass Band played for residents.
BRASS is just one of the many cultural events and activities taking place in County
Durham this year, demonstrating the council’s ongoing commitment to cultural-led
regeneration. This includes delivering key projects within County Durham’s shortlisted UK
City of Culture bid and raising the county’s profile as a fantastic place to live, work, visit
and invest. It also includes progressing major capital projects, such as the redevelopment
of the former DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery into a stunning new creative centre
showcasing national and international contemporary art alongside collections that
celebrate the county’s heritage.