There was plenty for people to enjoy at the Gathering. Picture by Anne Hopper.There was plenty for people to enjoy at the Gathering. Picture by Anne Hopper.
There was plenty for people to enjoy at the Gathering. Picture by Anne Hopper.

Selection of pictures as crowds flocked to the Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering

A good number of Northumberland residents and people from further afield – including Germany and the Netherlands – enjoyed the packed 2024 Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering programme.

It is a testimony to the popularity and importance of the cultural event and the reputation of the warm welcome given by Morpeth folk that so many people of all ages once again gathered to take part.

Organisers breathed a sigh of relief when the weather stayed calm for the grand procession on Saturday morning, following alarming weather forecasts earlier in the week that led to a rapid scramble to find a wet weather venue for the outdoor morris and clog dancing.

Luckily this was not needed, although Friday’s gusty winds led to some rapid repairs to booths on the Market Place. As with many other challenges over logistics, the local community and various council departments stepped in to save the day.

The showcase procession saw Ron Forster taking on the role of Morpeth Gadgy for this year and leading the civic party to the platform, following the recent decision of the Gathering’s long-standing figurehead Alex Swailes to step down as event MC after 27 years in the role and even longer as the main concert MC.

Alex handed over to Ron the Gadgy Staff, symbol of the old bailiiffs and people of Morpeth, on Friday morning at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Town Hall and was warmly acclaimed as a leading light of the event.

The Town Hall, sporting the Gathering’s big white banner on the front, certainly sprang to life with a buzz of dancers, singers, teamakers, craftspeople and demonstrators playing their part throughout the three days, with the Mayor and councillors hosting the special annual opening of its civic rooms and town treasures on Sunday afternoon.

The building certainly proved its value as the lively central venue and headquarters for many of the weekend’s 54 events happening over 18 indoor and outdoor venues – including performances at Morpeth Castle during the Landmark Trust open days.

The volunteer committee extends a huge thank-you to all involved in the Gathering’s success, especially in the face of many problems encountered this year.

Feedback and evaluations from the many events are still being collected, but the results of the musical, dialect and writing competitions will be published soon in the press and online.