PREVIEW: Festival’s secret launch gig celebrates 1990s dance scene

Posted on June 10th 2019 by Whats on Northeast

Relive the diehard days of dance music at a top-secret location when one of the region’s most eclectic festivals returns this summer.

Durham BRASS will transport music fans back to the early 1990s with its spectacular launch event – a world premiere of Promised Land by Mr Wilson’s Second Liners in Durham City on Friday, 12 July.

Promised Land offers a rose-tinted flashback to a rebellious era when every weekend thousands of young people spontaneously congregated in the disused warehouses and open fields of the north to dance and make memories.

Featuring a DJ, live brass renditions of old school anthems and atmospheric lighting, audiences can reconnect with the euphoric music of their youth and share in the excitement with a new generation.

Taking inspiration from a time before smartphones, trending and social media, audiences will only find out the location of the party hours before it starts. They must then navigate their way through the city centre to the secret site.

Mr Wilson’s Second Liners frontman Will Lenton is thrilled to be returning to the Durham County Council festival with an adrenaline-charged new performance, made possible thanks to an Arts Council England project grant.

“Promised Land is a celebration of what the raves of early 1990s were about,” said Will.

“At the heart of these spontaneous parties was a simple desire to dance and be immersed in music unlike anything that had come before. It brought thousands of young people together and the secrecy made it even more exciting, creating a sense of great freedom.

“Promised Land is an opportunity for dance fans, old and new, to experience the feeling of euphoria good music evokes.”

Combining the rhythm and energy of New Orleans parades with 1990s club classics, Mr Wilson’s Second Liners’ are always a big hit at Durham BRASS, and the festival also holds a special place in the bands’ hearts.

“Since 2016, when we first performed at the festival, we have looked forward to coming back every time,” said Will.

“Each year we are blown away by the fantastic atmosphere, the wonderful bands from around the world, the work of the festival team, and most of all by the crowds that come out and enjoy the music. We’ve made friends across the county – in the schools we’ve visited and the towns we’ve performed in.”

Promised Land will launch an action-packed programme of concerts and street parties taking place across County Durham as part of this year’s BRASS. The festival runs from Friday, 12 July to Sunday, 21 of July and showcases the very best contemporary brass music from across the globe.

Paul Gudgin, the festival’s artistic director, said: “BRASS is about celebrating the rich history and diversity of brass music today. It is about transporting audiences to different times and places, challenging perceptions and bringing people together.

“I can’t think of a better way to launch this year’s festival than Promised Land. We are delighted to host its world premiere here in Durham.”

Tickets for Promised Land are on sale now and cost £18. Once receiving their ticket, party-goers will be instructed to call a special party line, where more details of the show will be revealed over the coming weeks. At 7pm on the evening of the performance, they can call the number again to discover the secret location with doors opening at 8pm.

To book tickets and to view the full festival programme, visit

For festival updates follow ‘Brass International Festival’ on Facebook or @DurhamBRASS on Twitter and Instagram for the latest news.

BRASS is one of an unprecedented number of cultural events taking place in Durham in 2019. To find out what else is going on and how to get involved in the #Durham19 campaign visit

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