A musical portrayal charting the rise and fall of the coal mining industry is to be performed at Durham Cathedral as part of this year’s annual brass festival.

Critically-acclaimed quartet Public Service Broadcasting will give a full performance of their concept album Every Valley at the World Heritage Site, on the opening night of Durham Brass Festival 2024.

It is timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the start of the 1984/5 miners’ strike, which was staged in defence of the coal industry.

This year’s Durham County Council-run event takes place from July 5 to 13 and, as ever, features a week of spectacular performances, new commissions, free concerts, community activities, and a full programme of lively street bands.

The Northern Echo: British rock art band Public Service Broadcasting will perform its full concept album Every Valley,

Public Service Broadcasting, a four-piece British Art Rock group, will be joined by another ensemble with a strong mining heritage, The NASUWT Riverside Band, based in the former County Durham colliery community of Pelton Fell.

The band has appeared at previous Durham Brass Festivals, collaborating with Richard Hawley in 2022, having been part of the internationally acclaimed Miners’ Hymn performances, of 2010 and 2014.

Every Valley, Public Service Broadcasting’s first Top Five UK album, saw them joined by James Dean Bradfield, frontman of indie rock legends Manic Street Preachers.

Looking ahead to the performance at Brass, on Friday July 5, founding PSB group member J Willgoose Esq said: “We are hoping that playing with a brass band in somewhere as amazing as Durham Cathedral will be really powerful.

“It’ll give it a power behind it we’ve never had before, and we can put it in front of an audience that it means something to.”

The Northern Echo: Public Service Broadcasting's reflective concept album Every Valley will be performed in full at

The musician, whose last album reached number two in the UK album chart, added: “I’ve spent a lot of time in the North East because my dad is from Fulwell, in Sunderland.

“He moved to London in 1975 but my grandfather lived in Seaburn, so we used to go up all the time and we’d go to Beamish a lot.

“I do wonder how much of an influence that had on wanting to do a record on coal mining.

“You never know what things are imprinting on your mind, but it always feels very close to home even though it’s a long way from south London.

“I certainly knew all about the Miners’ Gala and the colliery bands, and it always feels important to me to play in the North East.”

Speaking of the chance to perform with Public Service Broadcasting, Tony Thompson, leader of the 1877-founded Riverside Band, said: “I can’t wait to work with them.

The Northern Echo: The NASUWT Riverside Band, seen here at the Royal Albert Hall in London, will back Public Service

“I think it’s so pertinent because it’s 40 years since the miners’ strike, so it’s the ideal time to reflect on that.

“There’s so much about coal mining in the history of Durham and the cathedral. It’s absolutely unique.

“It’s a very big acoustic but you can still hear the detail, so it lends itself to music that can be quiet and reflective.

“I think it will be a very memorable night.”

Among other festival ‘headline’ acts this year are Welsh brass band contest veterans The Cory Band.

The Northern Echo:

Ranked the world’s top brass band from 2007 to 2023, multiple-time competition champions at world, European and British level, the band, from the Rhondda Valley, will be performing a set inspired by the legendary film King Kong, at Durham’s Gala Theatre, on Sunday July 7.

This year’s festival will also see the return of the popular free outdoor events, Streets of Brass (Saturday and Sunday, July 6 and 7) and Party in the Park (Saturday July 6), taking place across the centre of Durham and at the city’s Wharton Park, respectively.

The celebration of all things brass is a key part of Durham County Council’s festivals and events programme, which also includes the UK’s light art biennial, Lumiere, and annual food festivals in Bishop Auckland and at Seaham.

County Durham is also poised to become the regional lead for culture as part of the North East devolution deal.

The council has been given the interim portfolio post of culture, creative, tourism and sport, on the new region-wide, North East Combined Authority.

Councillor Elizabeth Scott, the county council’s cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We can’t wait for Durham Brass Festival 2024.

Public Service Broadcasting teaming up with The NASWUT Riverside Band to perform music inspired by coal mining in this, the 40th anniversary of the strike, promises to be an amazing night.

“We have always wanted to get Public Service Broadcasting to Brass and the fact they are performing in the stunning venue that is our World Heritage Durham Cathedral will only make it all the more special.

“We’re also looking forward to seeing The Cory Band’s fascinating take on King Kong and the return of Brass mainstays, Streets of Brass and Party in the Park, which, as ever, are free to attend.

“In the ‘Culture County’ we firmly believe in the power of events such as Brass to put smiles on faces while also boosting our economy.”

Coun Scott said 30,000 people came to Brass, last year, bringing income to local shops and businesses.

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She added: “The ability of our events to stimulate this economic activity is a key reason why we deliver our festivals and events programme.”

Tickets for Public Service Broadcasting and The Cory Band go on sale on Friday (March 22), at 9am.

Ticket details and the latest festival news is available via brassfestival.co.uk, the festival website.