The Durham Miners’ Association Gala will be back next month.
The Durham Miners’ Association has confirmed that its gala, also known as The Big Meeting, will return this year.
The streets of Durham will be packed again in July as people march on mine banners to the music of the marching band.
The Gala has been postponed for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but will return and see thousands of people take to the streets to join in the proceedings of the march.
Before the pandemic, only two world wars and two national strikes had stopped the march of the Gala.
Durham Miners’ Association Secretary Alan Mardghum said: “We are delighted to be able to confirm that the Gala will return in 2022.”
“We know we missed it a lot. For many, it really is the highlight of the year. The Gala has been central to the cultural life of the people of the Durham Coal Region for over 150 years.
This year, the focus will be on celebrating key workers who have been on the frontlines throughout the pandemic.
So when is the gala scheduled?
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming event.
When is the Durham Miners’ Association gala?
The association confirmed that it worked with local authorities, police and other partners to organize the event’s safe return earlier this year.
The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 9.
As for departure and arrival times, there are none.
According to the website, the main gathering point is the town center market square and groups and banners begin marching towards the racecourse from around 8.30am.
Who can go?
The event is open to the public, which means anyone can participate in the event.
The event usually brings together around 200,000 people from across the region and beyond.
Who will speak at the event?
The gala usually hosts a range of speakers throughout the proceedings and this year the association has announced that key workers such as carers, nurses and delivery workers will all speak at the event.
Will there be parking?
The center of Durham is closed to traffic from 7am but access is possible, the association advises those arriving early to use the multi-storey car park near the market square.
What is the Durham Miners’ Association Gala?
The gala has been organized by the Durham Miners Association (DMA) since 1871.
The 2022 Gala will be dedicated to key workers. The Durham Miners’ Association said: ‘carers and bus drivers, delivery people and nurses, shop staff and teachers, all those who have risked their lives to keep society running throughout the pandemic will be celebrated”.
This year the event will also see the return of the Miners’ Festival service to Durham Cathedral, which has been part of every gala since 1897.
The service, to celebrate Durham’s mining heritage and its communities today, includes marching band music and the blessing of new banners attending the gala for the first time.
For over a century, the Gala has been funded by working miners in the Durham coalfield. Following the closure of the collieries, it is funded by donations and subscriptions through the Friends of Durham Miners Gala (FODMG).
Those who contribute to it are known as “Marras”. Friends of Durham Miners (FODMG) gala chairman Dave Anderson has urged people to get involved in a statement on their website: “The Gala is a unique and inspiring show. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world and it happens in Durham.
“Whether you enjoy the sights, sounds and atmosphere of La Grande Réunion, share its values of togetherness and community, or appreciate the contribution it makes to the local economy, I urge you – please register, become a Marra and help ensure this wonderful day continues to survive and thrive.