Street bands from all over the world will descend on Durham City this weekend for two days of free alfresco music.
Streets of Brass will make its joyous return to the city centre from 11am to 5pm on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July, showcasing the excitement and diversity of 21st century brass music.
It is one of a series of outdoor concerts and parties taking place in towns and villages across the county this week as part of Durham County Council’s Durham BRASS Festival.
To ensure the safety of performers and spectators, Market Place, Saddler Street, Back Silver Street and Fowler’s Yard will be closed to vehicles on the Saturday from 10.30am to 5.30pm when the city centre is at its busiest. The roads will remain open on Sunday when the volume of traffic is smaller.
Visitors are encouraged to use public transport where possible, with Durham Railway Station just a ten-minute walk from the city centre. Bus services into the city will not be affected by the road closures, although the cathedral bus route and timetable will be amended on Saturday. One bus will be in operation every 20 minutes from Durham Railway Station to the foot of Claypath via Walkergate.
City centre car parks will be open as usual and visitors can also use the Park and Ride services, located at Belmont, Sniperley and Howlands. A direct bus runs every ten minutes to the city centre from each site.
Cllr Joy Allen, Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “This year’s BRASS festival has been fantastic, bringing brass music from all over the world to the towns and villages of County Durham. This not only encourages communities to get together but it attracts more visitors, boosting the local economy and inspiring the next generation of performers.
“Streets of Brass is one of our most popular events and we are looking forward to welcoming people into our beautiful city this weekend.”
Streets of Brass is part of an action-packed programme of free and ticketed events making up this year’s festival, which was launched on Friday 12 July and runs until Sunday 21 July.
Thousands of people have already enjoyed free outdoor performances in Newton Aycliffe, Crook, Shildon, Peterlee and Chester-le-Street, thanks to the Big Brass Bash and Big Brass Bus.
Tonight (Thursday), the bus will bring the party to the people in Bishop Auckland Market Place from 6pm, where the Full Moon Market will also be in town serving up delicious street food. Tomorrow, (Friday) the Big Brass Bus will head to Newton Aycliffe from 7pm to 9pm for two hours of brass-themed fun.
More Big Brass Bash events are also lined up at Trimdon Community College, from 6pm to 9pm tonight (Thursday) and at Jubilee Park in Spennymoor tomorrow (Friday) from 6pm to 9pm.
In Durham City, meanwhile, the excitement of Streets of Brass will continue into the evening at Wharton Park. From 6pm to 9pm on Saturday, the free Big Brass Party will get everyone on their feet. Bring a picnic and prepare to bust some moves to live music spanning different genres but always with an infectious beat.
The festival will draw to a spectacular close on Sunday, with Wharton Park Meets the West End from 6pm to 8pm. The free outdoor concert will see the Scottish Swing Orchestra and the Festival Broadway Chorus perform jazzy versions of musical theatre’s greatest hits.
There is also still time to buy tickets for Verdi’s Requiem at Durham Cathedral on Saturday at 7.30pm. The Reg Vardy Brass Band will be joined by the Festival Chorus and a guest choir from Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, for a thrilling new transcription of the choral masterpiece, specially created for a brass band and choir. Tickets cost £18 or £16 for concessions.
To view the full programme and to book tickets, visit www.brassfestival.co.uk
For festival updates follow ‘Brass International Festival’ on Facebook or @DurhamBRASS on Twitter and Instagram for the latest news.
BRASS is one of an unprecedented number of cultural events taking place in Durham in 2019. To find out what else is going on and how to get involved in the #Durham19 campaign visit www.thisisdurham.com/19