Northumberland Miners’ Picnic at Woodhorn Museum set to return for 2024 event

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The Northumberland Miners’ Picnic will return to Woodhorn Museum in Ashington at the weekend.

The event, on Saturday, June 8, will include musical performances and food pop-ups.

As is tradition, the day will begin with a miners’ memorial service and wreath laying to commemorate those who died in the coal mining industry, with local brass bands performing together during the service.

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Rowan Brown, chief executive of Museums Northumberland, said: “As well as continuing to celebrate many of the long held traditions of the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic, I am delighted that this year audiences have the chance to enjoy some new experiences.

Ashington Colliery Brass Band, Bedlington Brass Community Band, Ellington Colliery Band, and Newbiggin Jayess Brass Band will be performing at the event. (Photo by Museums Northumberland)Ashington Colliery Brass Band, Bedlington Brass Community Band, Ellington Colliery Band, and Newbiggin Jayess Brass Band will be performing at the event. (Photo by Museums Northumberland)
Ashington Colliery Brass Band, Bedlington Brass Community Band, Ellington Colliery Band, and Newbiggin Jayess Brass Band will be performing at the event. (Photo by Museums Northumberland)

“The Miners’ Picnic has always brought communities together and I hope people from all over the county and the wider region are able to join us for what is a hugely enjoyable day of music, performance, and arts and culture.

“In the year that marked 40 years since the UK miners’ strike, the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic is a proud reminder of the industry’s thousand-year lineage in our county and the generations of families that worked in mines across Northumberland and the North East.”

The picnic was first held at Blyth Links in 1864 and has taken place nearly every year since, excluding the first and second world wars, strikes in 1921, 1926, and 1984, the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001, and during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

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Musical performances at this year’s event will include a DJ set by Maxïmo Park frontman Paul Smith, who said: “It is an honour to be involved with such an important community event as the Miners' Picnic again.

“The last time I played it was just me, my guitar, and a film crew during the pandemic, so it will be nice to have an actual audience this time.

“I love sharing music with people, and that's how I see a DJ set, trying to create an enjoyable communal experience with some of my favourite songs blaring out of the speakers.”

The 2024 event is free to attend, but onsite car parking is £5 per vehicle. A free shuttle bus will also be operating between Ashington Leisure Centre and Woodhorn Museum.

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