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Bringing a brass-tastic party to the people

Published July 01, 2022 9.26am

Communities across County Durham are set to come alive with the sound of feel-good brass music when Durham BRASS returns next week.

The much-loved festival, which is one of the highlights of our annual events programme, is set to bring the party to the people across the week of Sunday 10 to Sunday 17 July.

Featuring a series of free concerts in communities with its Big BRASS Bashes and Mini BRASS Bashes, performances in schools and care homes across the county and a full programme of lively street bands, the festival promises to be bigger and better than ever.

'Something to suit all ages and tastes' 

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "We are so excited for the return of BRASS. One of the unique aspects of the festival is the way in which it reaches out to our communities and spreads the joy of music across the county. It is also one of the many festivals that helps to bring distinctive cultural experiences to our residents.

"More than 40,000 people engaged with the festival in 2019 and we hope it will help to bring even more people together this year, highlighting our determination that everyone should be able to access cultural opportunities. With so many events, concerts, workshops and world-renowned artists arriving in Durham for the week, there really is something to suit all ages and tastes and we're sure everyone will have a fantastic time."

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.

Free community performances 

The BRASS bashes, featuring a range of energetic and eclectic street bands, include:

The Big BRASS Bash

  • Trimdon Community College, Tuesday 12 July, 6pm
  • Crook Glenhome Park, Wednesday 13 July, 6pm
  • Seaham Terrace Green, Thursday 14 July, 6pm
  • Newton Aycliffe Town Centre Park, Friday 15 July, 6pm.

Mini BRASS Bash

  • Willington Town Green, Tuesday 12 July, 6pm
  • Bishop Auckland Market Place, Friday 15 July, 6pm.

A free weekend of music in Durham 

Back Chat Brass

Old favourite Back Chat Brass are set to return to the festival

Meanwhile, Streets of Brass will welcome some new faces alongside old favourites to a free weekend of music in the streets of Durham. 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, will take over the city centre and get crowds on their feet to celebrate the final weekend of the festival.

The party will continue at Wharton Park in Durham on the evening of Saturday 16 July. Visitors are encouraged to pack a picnic and put on their dancing shoes for a Big BRASS Party as the same street bands bring the park alive from 6pm.

Across the week, performances will take place at schools and care homes as the festival looks to give something back to older residents and inspire a new generation of brass lovers.

Celebrating the arrival of The Queen's Baton Relay

To celebrate the festival coinciding with the arrival of The Birmingham 2022 Queen's Baton Relay in County Durham during its final journey through England ahead of this year's Commonwealth Games, there will also be a special performance at The Racecourse in Durham City from Back Chat Brass.

The Baton arrives in Durham City on Thursday 14 July, starting its journey at the top of Claypath at 3pm before heading to the Market Place and visiting Palace Green. It will then be carried back onto South Bailey and across Prebends Bridge then go via the River Wear to The Racecourse, where it is due to arrive at around 15.40pm.

Following this, the Queen's Baton Relay will travel to Seaham, with the Baton arriving at Terrace Green from North Terrace at around 17.25pm before spectators enjoy a taste of town's Big Brass Bash event, which starts at 6pm.

Opportunities to appreciate the county's heritage 

There will also be traditional brass band performances at three of County Durham's bandstands. These include:

  • Consett Brass at Blackhill & Consett Park, Saturday 16 July, 3pm
  • Easington Colliery Brass Band at Horden Welfare Park, Sunday 17 July, 3pm
  • Ferryhill Town Band at Jubilee Park, Spennymoor, Sunday 17 July, 3pm.

Once a familiar site in parks and open spaces across the county, only a handful of bandstands remain today. To coincide with BRASS, these evocative structures of times past will be placed in the spotlight through a set of photographs taken by artist Rob Bowman.

The haunting black and white images, which invite people to appreciate the area's heritage, are being displayed on bus shelters in Consett, Durham, Horden and Spennymoor until Sunday 24 July.

For more information about the festival, or to book tickets, visit BRASS.

There's also more information about the Queen's Baton Relay at This Is Durham: The Birmingham 2022 Queen's Baton Relay in Durham City and Seaham.