The Gala returns on Saturday 9 July 2022.
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.
At 8.30am banner groups and bands gather in Durham City Centre Market Place. Other assembly points include Redhills: Durham Miners Hall, off Flass St, and the Whitechurch pub on the West of the city.
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.
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.
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.
With respect to transport, please note that the centre of Durham is closed to traffic from 6.00am but access is possible, for those who arrive early, to the multi-storey car park close to the Market Square. Information on car parks in Durham city is available here. Alternatively, there are three large park-and-ride car parks. For a location map, click here.
For those who are interested in staying in Durham over the weekend please do consider camping at our official campsite, located at Houghhall College - just a short walk from the centre of Durham. For more information on camping, please click here.
For more than a century, the Gala was funded by the working miners of the Durham Coalfield. It is their gift to us all. Today, it is funded by Marras - the Friends of Durham Miners' Gala, who make contributions throughout the year. Please contribute to ensure the Gala continues for another century and beyond. Become a Marra here.