Durham Miners’ Association Gala 2022: when does it start, where is it and what time does it finish?

Durham Miners’ Association Gala will return this weekend.

Durham Miners’ Association has confirmed that their gala, also known as The Big Meeting, will return this weekend.

The streets of Durham will once again be packed again in July as people march colliery banners to the sound of brass band music.

The Gala has been postponed for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but will make its return and see thousands take to the street to join in the proceedings of the march.

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    Miners' associations from across the North East will be travelling to Durham for the annual Gala parade.

    Before the pandemic, only two world wars and two national strikes had stopped the Gala marching on.

    The Durham Miners’ Association Secretary Alan Mardghum said: “We are delighted to be able to confirm that the Gala will return in 2022.”

    “We know it has been sorely missed. For many it truly is the highlight of the year. The Gala has been at the heart of the cultural life of the people of the Durham coalfield area for more than 150 years.”

    This year the focus for the proceedings will be celebrating the key workers who were on the front line throughout the pandemic.

    So, when is the Gala scheduled to take place?

    Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming event.

    When is the Durham Miners Association Gala?

    The association confirmed that they had been working with the local authority, police and other partners to arrange the safe return of the event earlier this year.

    The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday 9 July.

    As for start and finish timings there are none.

    According to the website, the main assembly point is the city centre Market Place and bands and banners start to march from there to the Racecourse from about 8.30am.

    Who can go?

    The event is open to the public meaning that anyone can join the event.

    The event usually sees around 200,000 people come together from across the region and beyond.

    Who will be speaking at the event?

    The Gala usually hosts an array of speakers throughout the proceedings and this year the association has announced that key workers such as carers, nurses and delivery workers will all be speaking at the event.

    Will there be parking?

    The centre of Durham is closed to traffic from 7.00 am but access is possible, the association advises that those who arrive early use the multi-storey car park close to the Market Square.

    There are three large park-and-ride car parks. For a location map, click here. You can also park at Houghall campus.

    What is the Durham Miners Association Gala?

    The Gala has been hosted by the Durham Miners Association (DMA) since 1871.

    The 2022 Gala will be dedicated to key workers. The Durham Miners’ Association stated that: “carers and bus drivers, delivery workers and nurses, shop staff and teachers, everyone who has risked their lives to keep society functioning throughout the pandemic will be celebrated.”

    This year the event will also see the return of the Miners Festival Service at Durham Cathedral which has been part of every Gala since 1897.

    The service, in celebration of Durham’s mining heritage and its communities of today, features brass band music and the blessing of new banners taking part in the Gala for the first time.

    For more than a century, the Gala was funded by the working miners of the Durham coalfield. Following the closure of the collieries it is funded by donation and subscription through the Friends of Durham Miners Gala (FODMG).

    Those who contribute are known as ‘Marras’. Friends of Durham Miners Gala (FODMG) chair Dave Anderson urged people to get involved in a statement on their website: “The Gala is a unique and inspiring spectacle. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world and it happens in Durham.

    “Whether you enjoy the sights and sounds and atmosphere of the Big Meeting, share its values of solidarity and community, or value the contribution it makes to the local economy, I urge you – please sign up, become a Marra, and help ensure this wonderful day continues to survive and thrive.”