BLYTH TALL SHIPS: Getting on song for tall ships visit

Residents are being invited to take part in a unique live sound and music performance to celebrate The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth 2016.

The RVS group taking part in Silver Linings session. Picture by Jason Thompson.
The RVS group taking part in Silver Linings session. Picture by Jason Thompson.

Up to 30 Tall Ships are expected to gather at Blyth for the Regatta which takes place over the weekend of August 26 to 29, and features five zones of free family entertainment.

Northumberland County Council, in partnership with the Port of Blyth and Sail Training International, is hosting the prestigious Regatta with Fergusons of Blyth confirmed as the principal sponsor.

Woodhorn Museum, through the bait programme, have commissioned musician Chris Sharkey to work with people from South East Northumberland to create the Regatta Sessions, a new performance piece for the Tall Ships Regatta.

The work is funded by Arts Council England and Northumberland County Council.

Chris, who is from Tyneside, was selected from an open call and is inviting people to work with him to create a new piece of music and perform it live on Sunday, August 28, in Blyth.

He is working with local groups including people from the Buffalo, Briardale, Bedlington and Seaton Sluice Community Centres, Cramlington Voluntary Youth project and Silx Teen Bar to create recordings which will form part of the new piece.

Chris has also visited busker nights at local pubs and in partnership with Music Partnership North – Northumberland has worked with over 100 children from primary schools in Blyth to record sounds which will feature in the performance.

Anyone from South East Northumberland is invited to work with Chris to be part of the performance. People do not need any musical or instrument experience and all ages are welcome.

It is completely free to join in, with rehearsals already taking place at Headway Arts.

For more information on how to get involved with the rehearsals which are running during July and August, and the following performance, contact Rebecca at [email protected] or via

Chris said: “Working with people from South East Northumberland, we’ll create a piece of music that echoes the adventure, excitement and sense of connection between people and places that is core to the Tall Ships Regatta.”

The live performance in Blyth will feature up to 100 musicians and audience participation, and will celebrate the connection between Blyth and Gothenburg signified by the race.

Leading up to the live event, people are invited to work with Chris to create a series of local sounds including Northumberland voices and recordings from the coastline. Chris will then lead rehearsals to create a performance.

Frances Arnold, creative producer for bait, said: “At bait we work in partnership to support people in South East Northumberland to create and take part in inspiring arts experiences. The Regatta Sessions offer residents the opportunity to create a new piece of work to celebrate this incredible international event.”

Coun Val Tyler, Cabinet member for Arts, Leisure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “This is only one of the many musical ways that we will be celebrating the Tall Ships event and it offers a unique opportunity for our residents to be involved in an exciting piece of artistic work.

“The music composition will reflect our local history and culture, and I am really looking forward to seeing and hearing the performances at the Tall Ships Regatta.”