Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering events and entertainment returning to town

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Calling all gadgies, morts and bonny bit bairns! After one lockdown year and two online festivals, the Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering is back in the town centre on the usual weekend after Easter.

While not every pre-pandemic event can be staged this year, there is a huge line-up of indoor and free outdoor activities with high-quality entertainers.

Organisers admit it has been a struggle to get everything back to how it was and how much of the Saturday morning street procession can take place is still being worked on.

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However, the 55th annual celebration of the region’s traditions between April 14 and 16 will feature a wealth of music, song, craft, dance, dialect, drama, stories, heritage and have-a-go workshops.

Sandra Kerr and Graham Bell.Sandra Kerr and Graham Bell.
Sandra Kerr and Graham Bell.

The line-up includes original ‘Bagpuss’ musician Sandra Kerr, ceilidh band The Hedgehog’s Skin playing for the Saturday barn dance, Taffy Thomas recalling some of the people who inspired him to be a storyteller, folk stalwart Steve Turner and rising stars Megan Wisdom and Mossy Christian.

The festival includes some very special events on a ‘Silly Sangs for Bairns’ theme, in memory of the singer and guitarist Dr Olly Wilson, one of the Gathering’s founders. For example, some especially silly songs are promised by the Bakewell Brothers trio during the Saturday afternoon concert.

There are other chances to hear lively singing across the weekend such as Graham Bell’s dialect songs during the Saturday evening Winners’ Concert, and the Friday’s joint 25th anniversary concert (delayed by the pandemic) by the Northumberland women’s choir Werca’s Folk, led by Sandra, along with their male counterparts, Voicemale, directed by Jon Doran.

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Committee chairman Kim Bibby-Wilson said: “Many of our key volunteers are sadly no longer available, venues and suppliers and the whole supporting infrastructure have been affected over the last three years, and there are massive financial challenges thanks to the cost of living crisis.

Mossy Christian and Megan Wisdom.Mossy Christian and Megan Wisdom.
Mossy Christian and Megan Wisdom.

“One small hiccup with one aspect can cause massive delays in firming up events and the related publicity.

“We hope people will step forward to help as we need more stewards able to give a couple of hours of their time on the door at the crafts exhibition or other events and we always welcome support through donations to the Gathering via our online page –

“We’ve planned a great programme involving lots of talented people who value this unique event.

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“Before Covid, we always attracted locals and visitors from the region, the rest of the UK and further afield, who converge on Morpeth because of the area’s special cultural heritage, and we really hope audiences are willing to come along again, join in, learn some new skills or just enjoy the entertainment.

The Bakewell Brothers.The Bakewell Brothers.
The Bakewell Brothers.

“We can’t yet say whether there’ll be the usual full Saturday morning street procession, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed and working hard so that we can stage at least part of it – and of course the speech of welcome delivered by the Morpeth Gadgy, Alex Swailes.”

Morpeth’s medieval castle overlooking Carlisle Park will be open to the public on the Saturday and Sunday with music, stories and heritage on offer.

For programme details and updates, visit and Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering Facebook page. Go to the Morpeth Chantry Tourist Information Centre or call 01670 623455 for tickets.

For direct queries, call 01670 513308 or email [email protected]