Gala evening of song ends Friday’s fun

Peter Wood.
Peter Wood.

Morpeth Gathering preview: Three days of traditional fun from Friday, April 1, to Sunday, April 3

In the week leading up to the Gathering, carnival costume art workshops will take place at the Chantry Bagpipe Museum.

On Easter Monday afternoon and during the day on Tuesday and Wednesday, families can work with artist Elaine Porter to make medieval flags, masks, jester costumes and goblets.

It is hoped that the makers will wish to carry the finished items in Saturday morning’s major parade.

During the first day of the festival, Friday, April 1, Medieval characters Edgar the Executioner and Rent a Peasant will feature alongside the produce and craft stalls on the Market Place, while popular early music duo Hautbois will play music of a later era – the 17th century Restoration, when April Fooling really took off and of course that other Great Fire took place in London.

Also on hand will be the Gathering’s popular Professor Grunermench with his Punch and Judy shows.

The large yurt, loaned by local charity Barnabas Safe and Sound, is the venue for Friday’s family art workshops in the Market Place.

In the morning, youngsters can make costume items for Saturday’s procession, while in the afternoon local storyteller Jim Grant will entertain – hear him again later in the day at the Ice Bar on Newgate Street with his Teatime Tales.

Indoors nearby, in the Town Hall Corn Exchange, there will be displays on the different historic fires of Morpeth – from King John to Oliver’s Mill.

Friday’s activities end with a friendly pub musicians’ session in the Tap and Spile and a gala evening of song in the oak-panelled Town Hall Ballroom.

The Fill the Tankard concert is compered by Alex Swailes MBE, who portrays the Morpeth Gadgy during the weekend.

The line-up features choral group Medieval Mixture and musician Sedayne with his crwth, a type of medieval lyre, and the kemence, a three-stringed fiddle, while drinking songs will be presented by local trio Old English, the VoiceMale folk choir and respected folklore scholar and superstar Peter Wood.

Please note that the concert venue has changed since earlier publicity.