Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering message of thanks

Normally at this time of year the Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering Committee writes a message to thank everyone who has helped to plan and deliver the town’s annual festival of our distinctive traditional music and local culture.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 10:24 am
Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering 2021 photo compilation.

In that respect, this year is no exception, but thanks to the pandemic the Gathering itself had to be staged in a completely different format, with physical events replaced by online sessions and pre-recorded concerts, dramas and presentations, along with archive films.

The message from Kim Bibby-Wilson, Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering Committee chairman, is as follows: “The Committee and many of the Gathering’s past performers and supporters were keen to avoid another fallow year following the cancellation of 2020’s festival, and with an online offer the only safe solution, the organisers experienced a steep learning curve in order to create a YouTube channel and master new technical skills.

“However, help came from many quarters and the Committee is even more grateful than usual to all the groups, organisations and individuals who worked hard in the run-up to the 2021 Online Gathering, providing technical advice, performances and other vital behind-the-scenes assistance.

“On the Saturday following Easter, 20 events, from family storytelling to a Zoom barn dance for couples, were timed to go live as closely as possible to match the Gathering’s usual scheduled programme, and at the last count the viewing figures had reached over 4,400 people.

“Many past participants offered or were invited to record videos for concert spots and presentations, while some professional performers and video-makers were commissioned to provide special items including a virtual tour of the Clock Tower, a family concert, archive film and photo compilations and the premiere of a musical drama based on the local legend of the Laidley Worm.

“The results of the competitions that could be held – the writing and composing classes and an online art gallery Top Ten paintings poll – are available on the Gathering’s Facebook page and will soon appear on the website, along with the list of programme credits.

“While the town could not offer the usual warm welcome to the crowds visiting its streets and venues, the Committee made sure that some of the performances were filmed in Morpeth so that audiences could enjoy seeing locations such as the Old Bakehouse Millennium Green and Castle gatehouse.

“Viewers and performers joined in from across the world including Canada, the USA, France, Germany and Japan; for those who missed the Gathering there is a chance to catch up while many of the videos are still available free to view on YouTube, subject to permissions, for the time being.

“To cover the considerable costs that were incurred producing the full programme of events and to sustain the Gathering into the future, the Committee still welcomes donations – please do get in touch.”

The dramatic events of the pandemic are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on your support through buying our newspaper. If you can, please pick up a copy of the Morpeth Herald when you are at the shops. Thank you.