• Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Enjoy a range of activities this bank holiday weekend


May 18, 2017

With the weather set to stay warm this bank holiday weekend, there’s plenty to do across Durham to make the most of the sunshine.

Ahead of this year’s BRASS festival – which takes place from Friday, 7 July to Sunday, 16 July – a bus showcasing the best of brass will be travelling to some of the region’s landmark locations this weekend.

The festival, organised by Durham County Council, is returning to one of the North East’s most stunning cities for its 11th year, and this time aims to reach more people than ever before with the Big BRASS Bus. The open-top bus will become a mobile stage for Oompah Brass and Back Chat Brass, touring schools and other events in the run-up to and alongside the BRASS festival.

Oompah Brass, the UK’s original rock n roll Oompah Band, are an annual BRASS festival favourite whose mix of chart hits and popular retro numbers go down a storm, while Back Chat Brass are an instant crowd-pleaser with their brassy twist on classic tunes sure to get the party started.

For the Big BRASS Bus, the festival has teamed up with the evolutionary and revolutionary company pBone – creators of the world’s first plastic trombone – which aims to help make instruments more affordable to those who want to learn.

Children will have a chance to get inspired by the bands and try out one of these award-winning instruments for themselves, with a bit of help from some first-class brass players.

Paul Gudgin, Artistic Director of this year’s festival, said: “A major part of our ambition for BRASS is to inspire a new generation of brass players. The Big BRASS Bus will provide a visual and aural spectacle that we hope will encourage lots of players to come and give brass playing a try.”

The Big BRASS Bus will be in the following locations this weekend:

Friday, 26 May

Balloons InDurham mass balloon launch East Durham College Houghall Campus

Saturday, 27 May

11am – 6pm Tour Series cycle race, North Road near Framwellgate Bridge

Sunday, 28 May

11am – 3pm Riverside Park, Chester-le-Street

For more information about the event and the full festival programme visit www.brassfestival.co.uk

On Monday, 29 May, the bus will also take part in PRIDE in Durham City Centre as it returns to the city for the fourth year.

Last year, more than 8,000 people took part in the events and this year PRIDE is set to be even bigger, with a family fun fair, stalls and live music from X Factor stars Jedward.

The PRIDE parade will begin on Monday outside of Durham Cathedral at 11.30am, followed by performances on the main stage.

A family picnic will also take place at 12pm on Sunday, May 28.

Further details can be found at durhamprideuk.org

Elsewhere, spectators will have the opportunity to watch top cyclists go head to head on the cobbled streets of the city as the Tour Series returns to the North East on Saturday evening.

Durham will host the penultimate round of the revamped competition, with the men’s race starting at 5.30pm.

Last year thousands of spectators lined the route, which takes in Cross Street, South Street, Grove Street and Margery Lane, to see riders reach speeds of up to 50kph.

Brand new festival Balloons InDurham will also take place across the weekend, with dawn and dusk balloon launches on both Saturday and Sunday evening from East Durham College’s Houghall Campus.

Budding photographers won’t want to miss out on the spectacular sight as the city’s horizon lights up with hot air balloons.

Families are also being encouraged to make the most of the area’s beautiful coastline with the second annual Reach for the Beach festival, which delivers more than 50 activities at various locations in the North East.


Activities include guided walks, bike rides and arts and crafts, as well as photography and drawing sessions at Seaham Beach.

For more information visit http://www.durhamheritagecoast.org/

By Emily