Spoilt by a series of big occasions

The dust has barely settled on the society wedding of the year and the enhanced Armed Forces Day, but we are already looking for the next big day in the area.

Alnwick has had more than its fair share of blockbuster events, what with the visit of the Queen in 2011, two years to the day before the marriage of Lady Melissa and the arrival of Princes William and Harry.

Sandwiched in between was the overnight stop of the Olympic torch and all the associated razzamatazz throughout the region as the flame passed through – it was one of the those moments that grandchildren of the future will no doubt hear all about.

Hot on the heels of the torch came Prince Charles, who completed a very busy itinerary up and down the north Northumberland coast in July last year. We’ve been spoilt!

Key to all of these events has been the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland and hats off to them – each of the big days has drawn people and business to the area.

I cannot remember a time of such a concentration of headline-grabbing occasions.

We mustn’t take these times for granted, there are many other towns in Northumberland and further afield that would give their eye-teeth to host such events.

Over the last seven years, the concert beneath Alnwick Castle has built an increasing reputation and an even bigger audience. From the first Jools Holland party in the Pastures in 2006 to last year’s appearance of pop superstar Jessie J, the concerts have been a popular fixture in the annual entertainments calendar and we have all waited with great anticipation the announcement of the next artist to grace the Alnwick stage.

The music hasn’t always been my nor everyone’s cup of tea, but it has been worth being there for the atmosphere and the social occasion.

I can clearly remember that very first gig and the feeling of euphoria at such a spectacle on our doorstep.

So it was with a sense of disappointment that I read the castle was not holding a musical event this year, instead leaving the fields by the River Aln to recover from the years of trampling in the recent summer deluges. Drainage has always been an issue, even when the concert site was moved up the hill away from the river.

Let’s hope, therefore, that the concerts do resume next year and are better, as promised, for their break.