The first ever BBC Music Day will kick off its nationwide celebration of music on Friday June 5th with a unique musical relay which will span the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall. ‘Hadrian’s Wall of Sound’ will feature hundreds of local musicians who will travel along the Wall using various modes of transport and passing a baton from performer to performer. The event will start at daybreak in Bowness on Solway in West Cumbria and finish in Wallsend in North Tyneside, 73 miles and 13 hours later. And BBC TV and Radio networks will be broadcasting live from this incredible event across the day.
BBC Music Day aims to bring people together across generations and communities through their love of music. It will feature special BBC programming, events and concerts in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For details about Hadrian’s Wall of Sound and all the other events taking place, and to follow all the action as it happens on the day, visit bbc.co.uk/musicday. You can also follow the action on Twitter by following #BBCMusicDay
A diverse range of musical acts from all corners of the North of England will be performing in this ambitious musical extravaganza. The first performance of the day will be from saxophonist Roz Sluman from Carlisle who will perform on Bowness-on-Solway marshes before passing the baton on to acoustic guitarist, Tom Lapworth from Wallsend. Tom will perform while travelling in an open top bus to Burgh on Sands where the Dalston Male Voice Choir will be waiting to receive the baton and give a dazzling performance inside St Michael’s Church.
Saxophonist Roz Sluman, who will be the first performer on the day, said: “When I first heard about Hadrian's Wall of Sound I thought it was an exciting idea but I thought it would be a massive task to co-ordinate. I am pleased that so many musicians have put themselves forward for this unprecedented musical relay and of course I feel so privileged to be starting the whole relay off. The border land of Brough Marsh exudes a feeling of history and extreme nature all at once, and I can't even imagine what it's going to feel like playing there at 6am on the 5th June. It will certainly be the earliest gig I have ever done, or will ever perform!”
Further along the wall, the beautiful and tranquil setting of Lanercost Priory will provide a stunning backdrop for opera singer Anna Flanagan. She will then pass the baton on to two fiddle players (Marilyn Framrose and Bridget Ennever from Northumberland) who will travel in a vintage car to Banks East Turret to meet the lead singer of Steeleye Span,Maddy Prior. One of the most respected folk singers in England, Maddy will give a unique performance by the edge of the Wall at Banks East Turret.
Later in the morning, along one of the most picturesque stretches of this World Heritage Site, the Durham born operatic bass Graeme Danby will be performing on top of Cawfield’s Crag. Picking up the baton from Graeme will be a classical performance from the Royal Northern Sinfonia Wind Quintet who will then introduce BBC Newcastle presenter Anna Foster who will reveal her hidden soprano talents as she gives an amazing operatic performance at Housesteads Fort.
Opera singer Graeme Danby said: “I am a lucky man - I get to sing opera in the world’s best opera houses but occasionally I get to do something different. Last year it was the Great North Passion - live on top of a shipping container looking out over the North Sea - this year it is singing my own special translation to a favourite aria from Mozart's opera Magic Flute in one of the world’s most beautiful spots whilst being filmed by a drone helicopter. The BBC does events like this really well, offering something different, something to stimulate both performer and viewer alike. It will be a challenge, but one I am looking forward to with relish!”
The finale of the day will see choristers from St Nicholas Cathedral process under the Tyne Bridge and children from the In Harmony Orchestra (who featured in the BBC Four Geordie Symphony School documentary) perform on the Quayside before passing the musical baton on to Hartlepool band The Jar Family. They will perform their unique brand of industrial folk/rock while travelling on a boat up The River Tyne. Roman soldiers will then march the baton up to the fort at Segedunum in Wallsend, the wall’s most easterly point.
Bringing the event to a close will be BBC Look North who will broadcast live from Segedunum Fort in Wallsend where they will greet the boat, follow the Roman soldiers and show a unique performance from The North Tyneside choir – a unique choir formed from hundreds of local people from community choirs across the North East.
Also broadcasting live from the event will be the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Show, BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC Newcastle and BBC Radio Cumbria. Radio 3’s Breakfast Presenter Petroc Trelawny will be at Birdoswald Roman Fort where he will be joined by the BBC Singers performing music with local connections. From 1-4pm Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie will also follow the musical relay at Hadrian’s Wall of Sound in their Afternoon Show on Radio 6 Music. Mark will be in the 6 Music studio in Salford while Stuart will be at the event bringing live music to listeners from this incredible location.
On BBC local radio, Anna Foster who presents the mid-morning show on BBC Newcastle will broadcast live from the event before her individual operatic performance. And BBC Radio Cumbria will have reporters at the event and will follow the relay throughout the day will live updates from the Wall.
You can also follow the live action throughout the day online via BBC Radio Cumbria and BBC Newcastle’s websites; through social media (@bbcnewcastle and @BBC_Cumbria on Twitter) and through BBC Local Live.
Hadrian’s Wall of Sound is produced by BBC Outreach and Corporate Responsibility and BBC North East & Cumbria. There will be other BBC Music Day events at various other towns and cities across the UK including Belfast, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and Plymouth.
Helen Amess, BBC Outreach producer, came up with the original idea for the event. Helen said: “Hadrian’s Wall of Sound will be an incredible event, it’s an amazing way to involve lots of people from different communities giving such fantastic performances along the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall.”