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Celebrate Great Northumberland

Spark put on a spectacular show in Alnwick. Picture by Steve Miller
Spark put on a spectacular show in Alnwick. Picture by Steve Miller

Great Northumberland launches in Hexham on Saturday in what promises to be a fun-filled-festival demonstrating exactly what makes Northumberland great.

To kick-off eight weeks of summer in the county, Great Northumberland (delivered by Northumberland County Council) is inviting everyone to Hexham Abbey Grounds and the Sele for a vibrant family-friendly day of performance, street theatre and a line-up of musicians designed to get everyone up and dancing, culminating in an energetic public ceilidh.

From 1pm onwards, there will be plenty for visitors to enjoy in a jam-packed schedule featuring local choirs and musicians alongside some well-known talent from the region; North East-based folk-rock band Dansi will take to the main stage at 2pm and The Village Band will lead a mass public ceilidh at 4pm.

Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The opening day of Great Northumberland promises to be a fun day out in the sun (hopefully) with something for everyone.

“Visitors can see some very special street theatre from some of the best, most lively performers in the county, bring a picnic and enjoy the line-up of bands and musicians we have secured to perform, who are all rooted in Northumberland, and even join in themselves with some dancing!”

Inspired by the Great Exhibition of the North, Great Northumberland is designed to encourage visitors to venture further afield into England’s most northerly county.

“The North is a diverse, exciting and beautiful place to be,” said Coun Cath Homer, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts, Tourism and Leisure: “We hope that those heading to the North this summer will spend time exploring and enjoying Northumberland – from the coastline to the hills, the contemporary galleries to landmarks steeped in heritage; Northumberland truly is a great place to be this summer!”

The entertainment in store for Saturday is anchored around regional talent and sprinkled with some big names from the international performing arts scene.

Spark! Drummers, a North Shields-based international street theatre show will play three sets throughout the day, at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm.

Other performers include balloon artists, theatre companies, a world-class violinist clown and more.

The day is being produced by Walk the Plank – one of the leading arts companies in the world, alongside Culture Creative an Alnwick-based firm who deliver global art, sport and tourism events.

The event is free and visitors are invited to take along picnics to help them enjoy the day.

There will be a free Park and Ride at Hexham & Northern Marts, from 12.30pm to 5.45pm, which will take you directly to the Abbey Grounds.