When: 25th – 27th April 2014
Where: Morpeth, Northumberland
£: Many events are free, for the full list of events with admission details see www.northumbriana.org.uk/gathering/programme
What is it?
Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering is an annual festival celebrating the traditions and culture of Northumberland.
The North East’s coalmining heritage and the era of Morpeth’s 1714 Town Hall will provide the themes for special events held during the 47th annual festival of regional traditional culture. There will be concerts, workshops, dancing, street shows, dialect, craft, bell-ringing, and special family workshops, concerts and events including tales at the Storyteller’s Garden. There will be competitions for music, dance, dialect, craft, literature and even orienteering.
This year’s themes are inspired by a number of anniversaries. It’s 30 years since the Miners’ Strike, the 150th anniversary of the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic, and 300 years since Sir John Vanbrugh designed Morpeth’s Town Hall.
The main indoor venues include the Town Hall, where the three-day crafts exhibition and the Winners’ Concert, headlined by folk superstar Jez Lowe, will be held. Also in the Town Hall will be Vanbrugh’s play, The Provok’d Wife, planned with local performers portraying the characters, while actor Ray Alexander will return to give his acclaimed dramatic presentation on Sir John’s life and times.
Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum will feature piping events including The Cloughs of Newsham, where the legendary piping family will be recalled by Chris Ormston and Julia Say. At the Methodist Church, the Friday night grand Bonny Pit Laddie concert will reunite Werca’s Folk and Voice Male Choirs to sing some of the area’s wealth of mining songs, with special guests in the form of young brass band musicians from local schools. The final indoor events will include Alistair Anderson’s Hidden Hexham suite and Graham Pirt’s multi-media show on the history of the miners’ union.
Many free events will take place across the town’s outdoor locations, with the Market Place seeing market stalls and entertainers including Rent a Peasant, Maximus the Centurion, and 18th century music from Hautbois. There will also be a Storytellers’ Garden at the Millennium Green and a special battle re-enactment by the Sealed Knot on the green in front of the castle gatehouse, overlooking the Park; to re-stage for yet another anniversary, the Civil War 1644 Siege of Morpeth Castle.
More info: Visit www.northumbriana.org.uk/gathering