This year will be the 125th Miners Gala or 'The Big Meet' as it is known around here. The last of the great miners galas and what a great day it will be! Last year 42 bands marched through Durham watched and cheered by an estimated 60,000 - 70,000 people! This is only a shadow of what it was like in its hayday, but it has turned the tide as just a three or so years ago it was down to the low 30s, the Gala is on the up! County Durham now has only 26 Brass Bands, yes 'only' as there used to be a lot more! The rest of the bands come along from all over the country (and the world) because they want to be part of this great and unique event, have a drink or two? meet up with their banding mates and just have a good time! The Durham Miners Gala has a place in brass band history and in the hearts of many in the North East. I like to believe it also has a place in the present and if we can keep the trend of more bands playing each year, its future! Yep the Gala is I like to feel on the 'up'. So it is all about tradition then playing at this event and keeping it alive, after all we have lost so many of these traditional events where the brass band was key? No its about more than that, it is about fun, meeting up with some great mates, it's performing, having a laugh, a drink, keeping it real. This year it could also be about seeing Mnozil play on the next day too. There are more banners than bands, so if you want to join the march through Durham, play outside the County Hotel, see Mnozil and be part of this great event's 125th year then why not do it! Lots of low cost, en-suite rooms available for block booking and some good new up market hotels just opened as well so why not join us for the Weekend. Looking forward to seeing all the regulars back this year and also the gang from Ohio who are back for a second year, Bowburn Banner Group are thrilled you will be here again! So is it about tradition or about a good time? Either way there is every reason to make this the year to be at the Miners Gala! Hope to see you there! Oh and does any one know what bands played last year? The NUM told me they could confirm it as 42 bands but I never got the names and as I type this I suddenly thought it would be interesting to know! There will be an official record kept but if you were there who did you see? Oh it is on the second weekend in July, always has been and always will be!