Wintertide Festival: Hartlepool Headland to stage new Christmas event

St Hildas Church.

St Hildas Church.

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A new winter festival of arts, music, film and community spirit will set Hartlepool’s ancient Headland aglow next month.

Magical illuminations, a lantern parade, live music, an outdoor festive market, cinema screenings and community choirs are just some of the fun in the Wintertide Festival from Friday, November 27 to Sunday, November 29 and almost all of it is free.

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

It is hoped will become an annual attraction and is being organised by a partnership of key organisations in the area including the Hartlepool Carnival Committee, the Headland Local History Group, the Headland Parish Council, St Hilda’s Church, St Helen’s and St Bega’s primary schools and the Heugh Gun Battery Museum. The event is being supported by Hartlepool Borough Council.

Wintertide will build on the strengths of the many existing events and activities throughout the year.

The festivities will get off to a sparkling start on the Friday evening when over 100 children from local primary schools will form a cavalcade winding its way from the Heugh Gun Battery Museum through the grounds of St Hilda’s Church to the Town Square. Each youngster will carry their own handmade lantern, created with help from local community artists BloomInArt.

On all three evenings, there will be a chance to see the Headland as never before thanks to some striking illumination including dramatic projection which will throw light and life onto St Hilda’s Church, the Borough Hall and the nearby port, telling the story of the Headland.

Complementing this will be amazing light-artworks around the festival area created by local artist Stuart Langley, whose work caused a stir at Durham’s Lumiere Festival.

There will be a range of live music to enjoy, with over 30 bands performing free plus four ticketed events including shows by folk musician Eliza Carthy and Tees Valley favourites Cattle & Cane.

Independent filmmakers from across the region will be in the frame in a film festival developed by local film company Daft As Rags. Other highlights will include two European film premieres plus a feature-length movie called Addicted To Sheep.

Throughout the weekend there will be outdoor festive market in the Town Square, while on Sunday the Borough Hall will host to a craft market.

There will be interactive workshops on the Saturday where youngsters can have a go at making soft toys, decorative glass jar lanterns or sparkling Christmas wreaths. Urban Kaos will also be on hand, inviting children and their families to learn fun dance routines in one of the ever-popular Groovy Babies sessions.

Choirs, dance school displays and other performances will be held plus a grand finale featuring a rousing live music performance plus a stunning firework display and Wintertide has something for everyone.

The action will take place at numerous locations including Croft Gardens, the Heugh Gun Battery, the Heerema site, Mary Rowntree’s, St Hilda’s Church and the Headland Sports Hall.

Wintertide festival chairman Peter Jackson, who is also a borough councillor for the Headland & Harbour Ward, said: “The many organisations involved already have a proven track record in running very successful and well-received events on the Headland.

“Wintertide gives them the chance to pool their skills for the very first time to create a memorable and unusual event which will be bigger and better than anything done on the Headland before.

“Above all, Wintertide is a celebration of community spirit and talent and we welcome everyone to what will be a very entertaining and unique few days.”

For further information and updates visit www.wintertidefestuk.com or Facebook at wintertidefestuk or follow on Twitter at wintertideuk. Alternatively, call Hartlepool Tourist Information Centre on 01429 869706.