Museums Northumberland to broadcast solo performance by Paul Smith (Maxïmo Park) commemorating annual Northumberland Miners’ Picnic.

A solo performance by Paul Smith, lead singer of the band Maxïmo Park, will be broadcast from Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland on Saturday 12 June to commemorate the annual Northumberland Miners’ Picnic.

The historic miners’ picnic has taken place in the county every year since 1864, except during the first and second world wars, the general strikes of 1921, 1926 and 1984, the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001, and last year’s global coronavirus pandemic.

The free-to-view solo performance by Paul Smith will be broadcast via www.facebook.com/WoodhornMuseum and feature original songs penned by Paul, as well as traditional and contemporary songs connected to the North East’s coal mining heritage.

Rowan Brown, chief executive of Museums Northumberland, said: “Whilst we’re not able to host the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic in its traditional form because of COVID-19 restrictions, this intimate and special performance from one of the region’s most talented songwriters and musicians will allow audiences to experience Northumberland’s rich mining history through song.

“What’s particularly poignant is that Paul will be performing by himself in our museum site, which is currently closed to members of the public. We hope his performance provides a moment of reflection for our mining heritage, the challenges we’ve experienced together in this past year, and the unique and special ways people have remained connected during the pandemic.”

The Northumberland Miners’ Picnic is the oldest and largest gathering of its type in the UK. It was originally held to celebrate the mining industry in the county, and give people who lived and worked in the coalfield communities the chance to come together.

During its 157-year history the event has welcomed a number of high profile speakers including Prime Minister, David Lloyd George; founder of the modern Labour party, Keir Hardie; architect of the National Health Service, Aneurin Bevan; and Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.

Today, the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic is a family friendly event that celebrates the history and heritage of mining in the county through music, performance, art, and food and drink.

Paul Smith, lead singer of Maxïmo Park, said: “It's a real honour to be asked to play the Northumberland Miners' Picnic, especially as a proud North-Easterner.

“The event celebrates an idea of community, which I feel is just as important as ever. Also, the songs I write are about people and place, so hopefully they'll integrate well with the mining songs I've selected. Although I've largely been unable to perform over the past year, music has remained a personal source of solace throughout the pandemic, so this concert will provide me with a chance to share that enjoyment again.”

Paul Smith’s solo performance at Woodhorn Museum commemorating the annual Northumberland Miners’ Picnic will be broadcast on Saturday 12 June at 20:00 via www.facebook.com/WoodhornMuseum.

For more information, visit www.museumsnorthumberland.org.uk.

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