Second Saturday in July – must be Durham time again for the Durham Miners’ Gala. Once again we’re playing for Horden a former pit village on the coast.
Coal mining has substantially ended in Durham these days but the tradition of the Gala lives on with many pit villages processing through Durham accompanied by their banner and a band. This was our third year there and we never cease to be amazed at the size of the crowds, the community spirit of the villagers and the welcome we get from “our” village As ever the weather was great and the response of the crowds outside the County Hotel where we played our specially rehearsed piece was overwhelming.
Here is a review of events.
Well, Durham came and Durham went! As expected, it was a massive day, and is more than adequately depicted on YouTube, so I will not go on about it, except that is to thank everyone in and around the band for all the effort put into it.
Once again, the band has excelled itself, not just musically, but all that choreography in front of the County Hotel balcony was a wonder to behold. Band members must surely have been feeling the strain by now, especially those with lower and larger instruments, percussion too. Good to see an exultant Dan Povey back on the banger! He has been missed since his departure to the university at Exeter, but like several other old boys – and girls – of the band, they just keep finding their way back, so thank you all of you. The march up to the field went down well, then some needed respite for a couple of hours before the return. ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ as played in front of the balcony, then up to the steps and stones for a second mini con- cert to a cheering crowd. Retracing our steps to the starting, (and finishing point), we got back on the coach and off to our host village Horden, where a very emotional three verses of the miners’ hymn Gresford, was rendered, with not a few tears being shed in a small but appreciative crowd. I suppose it’s not easy for outsiders like ourselves to really know just how much the mines meant to these villages and towns, but there was much raw emotion bub- bling to the surface throughout.