Artists are setting the stage for BRASS Festival – quite literally – as they build bandstands at some of the North East’s top attractions.
As the annual celebration of County Durham’s musical culture and traditions prepares to get underway on Monday July 11 sculptors and schoolchildren are providing the platform to showcase brilliant bands at Bowes Museum, Locomotion and Auckland Castle.
Cllr Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic regeneration, arts and culture at Durham County Council, which develops and delivers the festival, said: “BRASS’ Bandstand project brings an exciting new strand to what is already a top draw for tourists and locals alike.
“It will help take our great festival out to a wider audience, offering a chance to see the fantastic local, national and international acts – which help to bring thousands of people and many tens of thousands of pounds into the county – at more venues than ever before.”
The Bandstand project is headed up by local light artist Mick Stephenson, who is best known for the spectacular Litre of Light, which recreated Durham Cathedral’s Rose Window out of plastic bottles for Lumiere 2015.
He is joined by fellow Lumiere alumnus Stuart Langley – who created last year’s Wave – and Jackie Stonehouse.
Both Mick and Stuart have previously won commissions through Lumiere’s BRILLIANT strand, which offers opportunities for people either originally from or living in Durham and the North East to imagine new light artworks that are then showcased at the festival.
Auckland Castle’s bandstand is designed in the shape of a Cuthbert’s Cross, with colours that reflect the castle’s history as home of the Prince Bishops.
The Bowes bandstand reimages museum’s existing stage with a colourful geometric dome inspired by the grand, French architecture of the museum.
And the final bandstand, at Locomotion: the National Railway Museum at Shildon, has been created with 60 children from Timothy Hackworth School and incorporates the last ever coal wagon to be manufactured at Shildon Wagon Works.
It will be in place for the week leading up to the arrival of The Flying Scotsman.
BRASS Bandstand concerts
Monday 11 July – The Big BRASS Bash @ Locomotion, 6pm to 9pm
Tuesday 12 July – The Big BRASS Bash @ Bowes Museum, 6pm to 9pm
Thursday 14 July – Beat ‘n’ Blow @ Auckland Castle, 1pm to 2pm.
Friday 15 July – Xaral’s Dixie@ Bowes Museum, 1pm to 2pm.
Saturday 16 July – Craghead Band @ Auckland Castle, 12pm to 1pm; Bearpark & Esh Colliery Band @ Locomotion, 11.30am and 1.30pm
Sunday 17 July – The Reg Vardy Band @ Bowes Museum, 2pm to 3pm
For more information about the Bandstand project, BRASS Festival – which is put on with support from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio – or to book tickets, visit www.brassfestival.co.uk.