Former Fringe director becomes Durham festival’s top BRASS

May 6, 2016 | Leisure & Lifestyle

One of the world’s leading festival directors, who ran the Edinburgh Fringe for eight years, is taking the top job at Durham’s BRASS Festival ahead of its 10th birthday.

Paul Gudgin, who is sought worldwide for his festivals expertise, has been recruited as the event’s new artistic director.

The BRASS Festival has been developed and delivered by Durham County Council and is billed as an annual celebration of the county’s musical culture and traditions. The festival returns to the region in July.

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, arts and culture said: “BRASS is a fantastic event for Durham, attracting tens of thousands of music fans to the area and bringing hundreds of thousands of pounds into the local economy.

“It helps to keep the county firmly on the cultural map and by recruiting a festival director who brings such a wealth of experience we hope it will grow and go from strength to strength.

“BRASS has a well-deserved reputation and I’m looking forward to seeing this year’s festival once again really raise the bar and build on the success of previous years, bringing together an absolutely cracking line-up of big names and local talent and showcasing the very best music from around the world.”

This year’s festival will welcome acts including the Grammy nominated Hot 8 Brass Band, the multi-award winning Fairey Brass Band, Oompah Brass, New York Brass Band, Funky Style Brass, Beat ‘n Blow, Always Marching Band and Les TraĆ®ne-Savates.

It will also see the premiere of the Durham Hymns. Written by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, with music by leading contemporary composers Orlando Gough, Jessica Curry and Jonathan Bates, the hymns have been inspired by the events and personal experiences of Durham soldiers and families during the First World War.

While one of the most popular aspects of the festival, the Streets of Brass, will return – with Paul hoping to develop it into something of international significance.

Paul Gudgin said: “Streets of Brass is developing a strong reputation as a platform for international street bands and there is a real opportunity here for Durham to develop an international reputation as a significant showcase and launch pad for the world’s best street bands.”

The BRASS Festival takes place at participating venues from 14th to 17th July.