Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 53 Number 18, June 17, 2023 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Durham Miners Gala

Durham Miners Gala 2023 Arrangements Confirmed

Arrangements for the 2023 Durham Miners Gala have been confirmed. The 137th Big Meeting, as the Gala is also known, will take place on Saturday, July 8, 2023.

Banner groups are expected to arrive in the city from 8am. The speeches will begin on the Racecourse at 1pm. The Durham Miners' Association (DMA) will announce the 2023 Gala speakers in the coming days.

Friends of Durham Miners Gala writes: "The Durham Miners' Gala is the world's greatest celebration of community, international solidarity, and working class culture. It is a unique and inspiring spectacle. More than 200,000 people pack the streets of Durham to enjoy the sights and sounds of The Big Meeting. People from across County Durham, the country, and further afield, assemble in the city centre from early morning.

"Beautiful banners celebrating the region's working class history are carried through the medieval city to the sound of brass band music, creating a wonderful feel of street theatre and celebration.

"From the initial assembly points, groups proceed towards a focal point of the Gala - the County Hotel at Old Elvet. Here, labour movement leaders, invited guests and local dignitaries greet the march from the hotel balcony and the bands pause to play their 'party piece'. This part of the procession can take a few hours to pass the County Hotel due to the huge numbers attending and the frequent pauses at the hotel.

Durham Miners Association Secretary Alan Mardghum

"From here, the procession continues along Old Elvet to the Old Racecourse by the River Wear, where banners are strapped around the perimeter fencing creating a colourful tapestry of working class history. By afternoon, tens of thousands of people have gathered to browse stalls, enjoy the fun fair, soak up the communal atmosphere, and listen to the platform speeches. At 1pm the Chair opens The Big Meeting, and guest speakers address the crowd.

"Following the conclusion of the speeches, brass bands play and new banners are blessed at Durham Cathedral during the Miners' Festival Service. Whether you are a believer or not, this is worth a visit for the sheer dramatic experience. The procession of bands and banners begins at 2.30pm, with the service starting at 3pm. The service is always full and people are advised to arrive early."

The Friends of Durham Miners Gala concludes: "Hosted by the Durham Miners' Association since 1871, The Big Meeting is a vibrant carnival of hope and unity. It is a living expression of the Durham Miners' motto - 'the past we inherit, the future we build'. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world."

DMA Secretary Alan Mardghum says: "The thanks of the DMA goes to everyone at Durham County Council and the emergency services who work with us year round to help us ensure the Gala is as safe as possible. The safety of everyone who attends the Gala is our first priority. I urge everyone who is joining us on the day, either as participants or spectators to co-operate with our staff, stewards and partners working on the day. We look forward to seeing everyone again in Durham on the second Saturday in July."

For details of road closures and other travel and access details, see: Durham Miners Gala 2023 - arrangements confirmed -


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