Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Project Explores Our Parades and Carnival Culture

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Project Explores Our Parades and Carnival Culture

Article excerpt


THE people of the North East have always loved a show and lapped up an event.

The Great Exhibition of the North is the latest in a long line of happenings from the Durham Miners' Gala to the Tall Ships, with the biggest of them all the 4.3 million visitors who rolled up in 24 weeks to the 1929 North East Coast Exhibition in Newcastle.

But it's not just the big hitters.

Parades, processions and festivals go back a long way in the communities of the region.

Today, that tradition continues with occasions such as the annual South Tyneside Parade and the recentlyrevived Whitley Bay counterpart, In past years North East villages and towns invested considerable efforts in their local big day, at a time when people made their own entertainment.

Now that tradition is being explored in a project, backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, by South Shields production company Creative Seed, which has been involved in the South Tyneside Parade.

The History of Parades and Carnivals in the North East exhibition, at South Shields Museum until July 29, examines the history and social impact of the parades and marches which were held regularly across the region.

Creative Seed has spent several months researching and compiling people's memories and the exhibition features a collection of photographs and video footage of parades.

"It's been a very exciting journey for us, and we've had the opportunity to meet some amazing people and hear some fantastic stories," said Garner Harris, artistic director at Creative Seed.

"The parades and carnivals were big events and it was something which would bring the whole community together. It wasn't unusual to see big parades by villagers and handmade floats, while local young people's jazz bands would also march. In the mining areas you could expect to see the local brass bands taking part and people carrying the big banners. …

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