A festival dedicated to all brass-inspired music is set to return to Durham City this summer.

BRASS – which will feature some of the best musicians from all over the world – will be a 10-day celebration of sounds ranging from swing, big band and salsa to choral music and rock ‘n’ roll.

The festival – which will run from Friday 12th to Sunday 21st July – will include concerts, street parties and workshops. BRASS will celebrate music from cultures from across the globe, as well as the rich history and variety of brass-influenced music.

The event will be headlined by the Brighouse and Rastrick Band, a traditional brass band that boasts over a century of history. The band – which shot to global fame thanks to their 1977 recording of the Floral Dance – will be performing at the Gala Theatre on Sunday 21st July at 3.00 pm.

Tickets to see the Brighouse and Rastrick Band are priced at £18, £16 for concessions.

Streets of Brass – a popular feature of the festival in which street bands take over Durham City Centre to provide two days of free music – is due to return this year. Streets of Brass saw thousands of people dancing and partying in the streets last year and BRASS’s organisers hope 2019’s extravaganza will be even better.

Brass launch 1 streets of brass
Streets of Brass

Streets of Brass will take place between 11.00 am and 5.00 pm on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st July.

Durham City’s Wharton Park will be hosting the Big Brass Party on Saturday 20th July. Festivalgoers are invited to bring a picnic and be prepared to dance to some truly infectious live music from a range of genres. The fun begins at 6.00 pm.

Brass launch 2 Brass Party
The Big Brass Party in Wharton Park

And not all the action will be focused on Durham City. The Big Brass Bash will be taking place in various locations across County Durham. More details will be announced in the next few weeks.    

BRASS will also boast a number of other highlights:

  • Cirque – a show featuring the “talented and hilarious Austrian band Mnozil Brass” – will take place at the Gala Theatre on Monday 15th July at 7.30 pm. Tickets cost £23, £19 for concessions.
  • Strictly Come Brassing, at Durham’s Gala Theatre, will see the Gala Big Band and a host of talented dancers indulge in a celebration of ballroom, swing, big band music, salsa and jazz. Tickets for the show – on Tuesday 16th July at 7.30 pm – are priced at £15, £12 for concessions.
  • Brass Oktoberfest. On Thursday 18th July at 7.30 pm, Durham Town Hall will play host to a beer-hall-style celebration of German brass music. This show will mark the 50th anniversary of Durham’s twinning with the German town of Tubingen and will feature festival favourites Oompah Brass and Tubingen’s very own Louisiana Funky Butts. Tickets cost £15.
  • Global Brass Live. On Friday 19th July at 7.30 pm, the Gala Theatre will host both the North of England champion brass band the NASUWT Riverside Band and the Danish champions Concord Brass. Despite being 560 miles apart, the bands will perform a joint concert thanks to the wonders of modern technology. Tickets cost £15, £12 for concessions.
  • Verdi’s Requiem will be performed in Durham Cathedral on Saturday 20th July at 7.30 pm. The performance will feature the Reg Vardy Brass Band, the Festival Chorus and another choir all the way from Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. Tickets are priced at £18, £16 for concessions.
  • Wharton Park Meets West End will bring BRASS to a spectacular close on Sunday 21st July. This free outdoor concert – from 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm – will see the Scottish Swing Orchestra and the Festival Broadway Chorus belting out jazzy versions of well-known West End hits.

In addition to the concerts, BRASS will feature workshops, which this year will explore the topic of Brass and Health. The workshops – which will take place on Saturday 20th July – will provide tips on everything from breathing to posture.

Durham County Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and rural issues, Cllr Ossie Johnson, said, “BRASS is a truly feel-good festival, bringing talented musicians from across the world to County Durham.”

“We have a rich tradition of brass music and this festival is a chance to celebrate our heritage while embracing the diversity and vibrancy of brass today.”

To book tickets or see the full programme for the festival, please visit www.brassfestival.co.uk.

You can also keep up-to-date with information about BRASS by following @DurhamBRASS on Twitter and Instagram or following the festival’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BrassInternationalFestival/.  

(The article’s main image shows the Louisiana Funky Butts.)

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