BANDS are completing their final tune-ups prior to the return of Durham BRASS in a fortnight.

The festival, considered among the highlights of Durham County Council’s annual events programme, promises a week of spectacular performances.

But it will also see new commissions, school workshops, free concerts at care homes and a full programme of lively street bands on its return, from Sunday, July 10 to 17.

It opens with a new commission for BRASS featuring Sunderland band Field Music and the Chester-le-Street-based NASUWT Riverside Band.

Binding Time – Songs and Stories from the Durham Coalfields will be performed at Gala Theatre in Durham as part of a new festival commission in partnership with Redhills and Durham Miners’ Association.

Funded by Arts Council England, it will see Field Music duo Peter and David Brewis perform a new set of songs inspired by the growth and decline of coal mining in the region, accompanied by a seven-piece brass section from the NASUWT Riverside Band.

Read more: Durham Brass Festival 2022: Details of concerts at the Gala

Redhills chief executive Nick Malyan said: “We're so pleased that audiences can finally see and hear 'Binding Time' at this year’s festival.

“David and Peter dug deep into the history of the Durham miners to produce this wonderful new suite of songs from the coalfield.”

Since their debut in 2005, the Mercury Prize nominees have released eight critically acclaimed albums, most recently 2021’s Flat White Moon, as well as a varied catalogue of collaborations, soundtracks and solo albums.

David Brewis said: “Working on this project has been a real privilege.

“To start with a pile of history books and family stories, shape them into songs, and then have life literally blown into them by this wonderful brass band is quite an experience.

“A colliery band has such a specific sound, so we really hoped we could find a balance between that and the kinds of harmony and rhythm which make us tick.

“I think we’ve just about managed it and we can’t wait to share it with audiences.”

BRASS is just one of the many cultural events and activities taking place in County Durham this year.

It will see the delivery of key projects within County Durham’s shortlisted UK City of Culture bid, raising the county’s profile.

They will also see the progression of major capital projects, such as the redevelopment of the former DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery into a new creative centre showcasing national and international contemporary art alongside collections that celebrate the county’s heritage.

The festival will also see some of the UK’s finest artists booked to perform in iconic locations such as Durham Cathedral and a series of memorable community performances across the county.

Councillor Elizabeth Scott, the council cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We have such an exciting week ahead with the return of BRASS and we can’t wait to welcome so many talented acts and lots of enthusiastic visitors.

“County Durham has such a rich history of brass music, so it feels fitting that we have a North-East duo to get the festival started.

“As well as a celebration of all things brass, from traditional big band music to more contemporary artists who are taking brass in a new direction, there really is something for everyone and we look forward to creating some unforgettable experiences for our communities.”

Field Music’s performance starts at 7.30pm on July 10.

Further details including a preview of the event and how to book tickets, are available via, the festival website.

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