The 51st Morpeth Gathering will welcome visitors in their droves to the town this month to enjoy around 60 events celebrating Northumberland’s heritage, with 2018’s special Back to the Roots theme throwing a spotlight on the area’s traditional folk arts which have inspired the event’s first 50 years.
As well as the usual concerts, street shows, have-a-go workshops, storytelling, puppets, competitions, pub music, talks and craft displays, highlights include Saturday morning’s grand procession, Living History, family activities and a new women’s song competition whose winner will be awarded the Emily Inspires! Trophy. The extra exhibition which proved a welcome addition last year will be repeated in the Leisure Centre, giving space for more family activities, rail models and storytelling.
Headline performers include leading ceilidh band The Hedgehog’s Skin with caller David Oliver, singer and concertina maestro Steve Turner, young supergroup Folkestra and multi-instrumental and vocal group Lowp featuring demon Border piper Iain Gelston. There’ll be events celebrating the songs of Tyneside songster Joe Wilson of “Keep Yor Feet Still” fame, who had family connections with Morpeth, with music and talks from Johnny Handle, Benny Graham and Ed Waugh. From further back, the life and work of great composer William Shield will be presented by music historian, Amélie Addison.
Gathering supporters Dan and Diane of the Wylam Boathouse Sessions said: “For anyone who may not be too familiar with this annual event, it is probably the best three-day festival to learn, understand and take part in remembering the past, knowing the present and looking to the future of Northumberland’s cultural heritage. So, take a look at the programme and have a great, full and enjoyable weekend getting to know what Northumberland is all about!”
Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering takes place between Friday 6th and Sunday 8th April.
For the full programme, head to northumbriana.org.uk or call into the Box Office at Morpeth Chantry. For general queries, please call Kim on 01670 513308.