Durham Brass 2022: Thousands turn out for the much-loved festival


Thousands of people gathered across County Durham to enjoy the sound of Durham BRASS.

Over 35,000 people attended the return of this much-loved festival, which is one of the highlights of Durham County Council’s annual events programme.

With free concerts in communities, performances in schools and care homes, a full program of lively street bands and world famous musicians performing at the Durham Gala and Durham Cathedral, the festival of a week celebrated brass music in all its forms.

Artistas del Gremio Wharton Park Photo: DCC

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet Member for the Economy and Partnerships, said: ‘What an incredible week it has been for County Durham. It was fantastic to see BRASS come back in all its glory and spread the joy of music in our communities.

“To see so many people coming together again after the pandemic, from young children to older residents, is very special. We are committed to ensuring that everyone can access cultural opportunities and this festival really highlights how culture can help us transform communities, bring people together and spark aspirations.

Echo of the North: The Children of Trimdon Photo: CDCChildren at Trimdon Photo: CDC

A total of 35,365 people joined BRASS, including 12,083 students in 56 schools.

North East Field Music duo kicked off the festival, which also saw two key performances take place in the spectacular setting of Durham Cathedral.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site hosted LYR, led by current Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, with The Easington Colliery Band, and Richard Hawley performing with NASUWT Riverside Band.

The Northern Echo: Easington Band at Birchwood Court Photo: CDCEasington Band at Birchwood Court Photo: CDC

Big and Mini BRASS Bashes then partied throughout the week, with a series of free community gigs in Trimdon, Willington, Crook, Seaham, Newton Aycliffe and Bishop Auckland.

To celebrate the final weekend of the festival, Streets of Brass has taken over Durham City with two days of free musical mayhem.

Spanish favorites Artistas del Gremio, Italy’s Bandakadabra, Back Chat Brass, Bollywood Brass Band, Loud Noises, Maybe Contraption, Oompah Brass and all of Italy’s girly brass bands, Girlesque, kept downtown visitors on their toes.

The Northern Echo: Easington Colliery Brass Band at Birchwood CourtEasington Colliery Brass Band at Birchwood Court

The groups also accompanied runners taking part in the Durham City Run festival over the weekend before coming together for a Big BRASS Party at Wharton Park on Saturday evening.

Other highlights of the weekend saw performances by traditional marching bands at three of the county’s bandstands and performances at a number of care homes.

Bringing joy to those who have had particularly difficult years, marching bands took part in special outdoor performances at care homes, including at Birchwood Court in Easington, where the Easington Colliery Brass Band performed for residents.

The Northern Echo: Girlish in Crook Image: CDCGirlish in Crook Photo: DCC

BRASS is just one of many cultural events and activities taking place in County Durham this year, which the council says demonstrates its continued commitment to cultural regeneration.

This includes delivering key projects as part of County Durham’s UK bid for a City of Culture and raising the county’s profile as a fantastic place to live, work, visit and invest.

It also includes major capital projects underway, such as the redevelopment of the former DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery into a stunning new creative center showcasing national and international contemporary art alongside collections that celebrate the county’s heritage.

The Northern Echo: LYR with Easington Colliery Band Photo: Gordon ArmstrongLYR with Easington Colliery Band Photo: Gordon Armstrong

The Northern Echo: Richard Hawley with NASUWT Riverside Band Photo: Gordon ArmstrongRichard Hawley with NASUWT Riverside Band Photo: Gordon Armstrong

Echo of the North: Streets of Brass Brazen streets

Echo of the North: Wharton Park Photo: CDCWharton Park Photo: CDC

Echo of the North: Wharton Park Photo: CDCWharton Park Photo: CDC

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