A Music festival dedicated to brass instruments may bring to mind the oompah-oompah of traditional colliery bands, or perhaps the Salvation Army performing on a village bandstand. But while there will certainly be plenty of traditional sounds of that type to be heard, the BRASS Festival in Durham next month promises to showcase trumpets, trombones and saxophones in a far wider variety of musical settings, from hip-hop to classical.

Headlining the four-day festival, which runs from July 16 - 19, are Fun Lovin' Criminals, the eclectic New York rock band best known for their UK hits Scooby Snacks and Loco, who will be backed by a suped-up brass section for the occasion.

Also in the just announced final line-up are folk band Hope and Social, contemporary music group Red Note Ensemble, and Hannabiel and Midnight Blue, who fuse Afro-Caribbean, Latin, funk and reggae.

BBC 6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq will host an event called Alternative BRASS that will incorporate DJ sets and live music in a mix of funk, hip-hop, Balkan, ska and contemporary jazz sounds.

Swinging sounds

The swing era of the 1940s will be recreated by the Pete Long Orchestra in a tribute to Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller. Indian classical music will meet brass in Just A Vibration - a performance conceived by Shiri Sriram, whose work includes the soundtrack for the film Life of Pi.

Alongside concert performances in city venues including the Gala Theatre and Durham Cathedral - which will play host to the Dunedin Consort's performance of Monteverdi's Vespers - there will be free street performances by brass bands from all over Europe.


Other events include a performance of The Last Train To Elvet in which poet Ian McMillan, cartoonist Tony Husband and the Tredegar Town Band will combine their skills to tell the story of a circus arriving in Durham in the 1950s.

There will also be a series of photographs by Rob Bowman of surviving Durham County bandstands, which will be displayed in public buildings including Durham Railway Station.

According to Neil Foster from Durham County Council, "BRASS 2015 has really raised the bar. Building on the success of previous years, this year, we have an absolutely cracking line-up of big names and the very best of a broad range of brass music from around the world. I hope people will come from near and far to join together in enjoying the buzz, the energy and a lot of fun."

For fans unable to get to Durham, the festival has commissioned an app - available from July 1 - that will let you listen to a bundle of marching tunes and adjust the tempo of them to your own walking pace for brass band accompaniment wherever you go.

BRASS 2015 runs from July 16 - 19. Box office: 03000 266 600.