New fringe event will revive an old tradition in the town

Blair Dunlop to play as part of a fringe festival around the Jess Glynne concert at Alnwick Castle.
Blair Dunlop to play as part of a fringe festival around the Jess Glynne concert at Alnwick Castle.

A new fringe event in Alnwick, which will feature an array of musical entertainment and the revival of the town’s beloved strongman competition, will be held next month.

The weekend extravaganza will coincide with Jess Glynne’s Pastures concert on Saturday, August 12.

The fringe will open on Friday, August 11.

That evening, the Alnwick Playhouse will host a gig featuring a range of songwriters, including Blair Dunlop (see the attached YouTube video). You can also check out Blair’s website at

On the same night, Simon Jobson, from Hedfone Party, will put on a silent disco in The Alnwick Garden, in front of the Grand Cascade.

Also on the Friday, starting at 6pm, will be the return of the strongman competition – with the addition of a women’s category.

The contest is being run by Alnwick-based Olly Dial Elite Fitness and will take place along Hotspur Street, between The Tanners Arms and The Fleece. Six men and six women are wanted to take part.

In years past, the event has been a traditional coal-carrying race, but this time round competitors will have a weighted vest attached to them while carrying a pair of dumbbells, performing runs between the two pubs. Whoever does it quickest, wins.

Each winner will receive a trophy, while a range of other prizes are being planned.

Then, on the Sunday night, the Northumberland Hall will be transformed into a music venue.

The plan is to have live music throughout the day, followed by an evening ceilidh, hosted by The Hedgehog’s Skin Ceilidh Band and sponsored by Northumberland Estates. Tickets will go on sale soon.

Funds raised during the fringe will support the Alnwick Garden Town Trust, which as a first exercise is aiming to plant Japanese cherry blossom trees at the base of Column Field, by the Denwick Road, this autumn.

Jonathan Park, from the town’s Halifax, is involved with planning the fringe showcase. He said: “We are working to provide a weekend of music for locals and visitors, arranging it around the Jess Glynne concert.

“The event is being supported by local councillors with funding and practical assistance.”