Barn dance to bring to an end golden year celebrations

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The final event in the celebrations that mark 50 years of the Northumbrian Gathering will take place this weekend.

Saturday sees a grand celebration barn dance at 8pm, at St James’s Centre, Wellway, when local musicians the Border Directors and Friends will mark not only the Gathering’s 50th anniversary, but also the band’s own 30th birthday.

This finale to the ‘Golden Gathering’ will also feature guest performers, including members of Werca’s Folk, Northumberland’s renowned women’s choir, and Addison Rapper and clog dance team, both of which appeared in the town’s festival of local traditions earlier in the year.

Also expected are one or two past band members and callers.

Specialising in the traditional music and song of North East England and the Borders, the Border Directors were established in 1987 and originally known as the Blue Moon Band. They have played live and in broadcasts not only across the UK, but also in France and Germany.

The band members are Matt Seattle (Border pipes and fiddle), formerly of Newbiggin and now living in Hawick, and three Morpethians — John Bibby (guitar, bass), Kim Bibby-Wilson (accordion, Northumbrian small pipes, songs) and Derek Poxton (guitar, mandola). For ceilidhs they are joined by expert caller Elaine Carter, of Corbridge.

Members of the public can obtain tickets at £5 from the Chantry Tourist Information Centre in Bridge Street, Morpeth, on 01670 623455, or from Kim Bibby-Wilson on 01670 513308. Guests are asked to bring their own drinks and a contribution towards the shared supper.

Mrs Bibby-Wilson, who is Chairman of the Gathering’s organising committee, said: “It’ll be a delight to get out from behind the computer and spreadsheets and be able to enjoy playing at this postscript to the 50th Gathering.

“The level of activity for this year’s festival cannot easily be repeated, but we aim to keep things going thanks to the wonderful response we’ve received from audiences and performers.”