Great Northumberland launches 56 days of Summer in Hexham

●   Performances from Spark! Drummers, Bruce Airhead, Sid Blowfin and the Tea Club

●   Folk-rock band Dansi perform live

●   The Village Band lead a public ceilidh in Hexham Abbey Grounds

●   Venues from across Northumberland give audiences a taster of their Summer programme

Great Northumberland (delivered by Northumberland County Council) launched in Hexham today in a free, family-friendly, fun-filled-festival putting the spotlight on Northumberland in a year that sees visitors heading northward for the Great Exhibition of the North.

For 56 days from 7 July, Great Northumberland offers a diverse range of arts, culture and heritage events across the county to encourage everyone to experience all that Northumberland has to offer.

To kick-off Great Northumberland street-theatre, artists, musicians and performers descended on Hexham Abbey Grounds and The Sele to entertain hundreds of visitors who brought along their picnics and settled in to celebrate Great Northumberland.

The jam-packed schedule featured local choirs and musicians alongside some well-known talent from the region; North East-based folk-rock band Dansi took to the stage and The Village Band led a mass public ceilidh.

The internationally acclaimed Spark! Drummers, a North Shields-based street theatre show presented by several striking characters led the celebrations in a parade across The Sele before visitors were treated to a Great Northumberland Showcase in which some of the county’s best-loved and best-known arts and culture organisations gave audiences a taster of things to come this Summer.

Other performers on the day included:

Swank - Girl Guides: the terribly jolly Girl Guide duo ‘Val Keen’ and ‘Babs Eager’, engage the public in achieving their SWANK GUIDES badges. Whether 'Ging Gang Goolying', ‘’Fit for Anything’ or simply 'Doing My Best', everyone is a badge winner.

Dan Fox, Boom Bikes and Band: the astounding BoomBike takes music wherever it goes, a one-man band for the digital generation, delivering programmes of live music across The Sele.

Bruce Airhead: one man, one balloon, one amazing show. Television’s Bruce Airhead will perform his astounding 30-minute performance, involving a man climbing inside a huge balloon!

Sid Bowfin: world-class violinist and clown, prepare for a one-man musical comedy show, entirely improvised, no two shows are the same, so don’t miss a single one!

Bedlam Oz: world-renowned theatre company Bedlam Oz use giant, life-size slinkies to animate spaces and create compelling street theatre for the whole family to enjoy.

Inspired by the Great Exhibition of the North, Great Northumberland is designed to encourage those visiting the North for the once in a generation exhibition to venture further afield into England’s most northerly county.  

Sign up to the newsletter on the website to find out about all Great Northumberland events across the Summer. Find out more at greatnorthumberland.co.uk.