22 January 24

Festival of Flame returns to launch Hexham Abbey’s 1350 anniversary celebrations

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Taking place on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 February, this year's Festival of Flame marks the launch of Hexham Abbey’s 1350th Anniversary Year celebrations with a programme inspired by the Abbey’s history.

Festival of Flame is presented by Queen’s Hall Arts in partnership with Hexham Community Partnership. The project is made possible thanks to over £10,000 of funding from North of Tyne Combined Authority and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, in partnership with Historic England through the Hexham High Street Heritage Action Zone, Hexham Town Council and Northumberland County Council.

Highlights for 2024 include Illuminated Sheep by artist Deepa Mann-Kler returning to the Cloister Lawn, a Viking Fire Garden and Triquetra by Tea Light by artist Leanne Shipley.

Following the success of On Angel’s Wings in 2021, a new community artwork, Stars for Eternity will also see thousands of paper origami stars dedicated to “Stars” - some of them for our heroes, others for those who have been lost.

The atmosphere inside Hexham Abbey will be enhanced by relaxed original and classical music including bite-sized live performances from Simeon Walker and Michael Haynes. Audiences can choose to sit and listen to the performances or simply absorb the music as they walk around the Abbey looking at the different installations.

Organiser Jez Light from Hexham Community Partnership explains: “We’re delighted that Festival of Flame will be launching a year-long programme of anniversary events at Hexham Abbey. And, running across two nights for the first time, this year’s event is our biggest yet. There really is something for everyone and we’re delighted that the local community will once again be able to enjoy an exciting programme free of charge.”

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “The North East has a rich history and Hexham Abbey is one of the jewels in Northumberland’s crown. The Festival of Flame will be a great celebration of our heritage and culture that is free and open to all. It’s just one of the many events we are supporting to boost tourism and enrich communities. I want to ensure that everyone has access to art and culture - from ballet to bingo, ice skating to illuminated sheep!”

Jules Brown from Historic England said: “We’re really pleased to be helping to fund another year of the Festival of Flame through the High Street Heritage Action Zone. It’s a great way to kick off Hexham Abbey’s anniversary celebrations and I’m sure it will be a big hit with both visitors and locals.” 

To make the most of the night, visitors can grab a drink and a bite to eat in the Abbey Refectory, enjoy toasted Marshmallows or a Fire & Dough Pizza.

Running on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 February, this year’s event opens at 5pm each night, with last entry at 8pm. No tickets are required, and everyone is welcome, but dogs must be kept outside on short leads. Please be aware that there may be queues at busy times. If you would prefer a more relaxed experience, it’s suggested you arrive after 7pm.

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