Event organisers are urging people to pack up their troubles and come along to enjoy the three-day Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering, starting tomorrow.
The full programme of events, including this year’s War and Peace theme, is on the Gathering website and in colour leaflets from shops and public buildings, but there are one or two last-minute extras or changes.
Saturday sees the Cavalcade and Pageant of dancers, costumed figures and flagwavers through the town at 11am, with a road closure of the central area for just over an hour from 10.30am. While the official highways sign in the Market Place gives a later finishing time, this is a safety net and it is unlikely the road will stay closed beyond 11.45am.
Cars can still move around the town during the procession and for those visiting Morpeth a free park and ride with vintage buses operates from County Hall in Loansdean throughout Saturday’s shopping hours.
The highlight of the parade will be the Sheffield City Giants, carnival-style figures depicting War and Peace, who will have a second outing at 11am on Sunday in the Market Place. If possible Peace may well make a solo appearance at tea-time on Saturday when the monthly Morpeth Peace Vigil takes place in the same spot.
Saturday sees two new young people’s music sessions for under 25s at the Black and Grey. From around 11.45am Tristan Selden and Michael Biggins will welcome any young musicians or general listeners, and from 5.45pm respected accordionist and tutor David Oliver will lead the music.
The ground floor church of St George’s is as usual the venue for the afternoon’s instrument competitions – not St Robert’s as given on some publicity, which is where the dialect sessions are held.
An extra music session for Northumbrian small pipers will happen from around 6pm, after the Saturday piping events, in the upper lounge of Bin 21 wine shop, with champion piper Ian Stephenson leading the music.
Mouth organ enthusiasts are reminded that Ernie Gordon is tutor for Saturday’s 9.45am workshop at the Town Hall.
A First World War recruiting scene takes place in the Park at 3pm on both Saturday and Sunday with Time Bandits and friends, who will include on Sunday members of the World War I contingent of the 68th DLI Society.
The 48th Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering will see some 60 events taking place around the town, both indoor and out, to showcase traditional music, dance, craft and dialect.
As well as the activities mentioned above, there will be bell-ringing, orienteering, puppets, a storytellers’ garden and numerous competitions and workshops.
The War and Peace theme includes stories of conscientious objectors, peace songs from across history, ballads from the Border Reiver period, and traditional music hall tunes.