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Celebration to mark 60 years of Washington

A day of music, performances, and family activities is taking place to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Washington New Town.

Martin Stephenson

The festival-style Washington 60 Celebration Day will take place on Saturday 20 July at the Northern Area Playing Fields from midday until 9pm.

The Main Stage line up will be headlined by Washington's own Martin Stephenson and the Daintees, with further performances from Smoove and Turrell and The Revolutionaires.

Local acts and community groups including theatre, spoken word and acoustic music will take to a second stage throughout the day, and an exhibitor tent will house Washington-based organisations telling the story of Washington past and present.

The celebration is family friendly, and children's arts and crafts activities will be available throughout the event, including a drop in kite making workshop.

Food providers and a bar will be on site all afternoon to provide snacks and refreshments.

Washington officially celebrates it's 60th anniversary of being a new town on 24th July 2024, after first gaining the status back in 1964.

Marion Dixon, Assistant Director of Regulatory Services at Sunderland City Council, said: "The Washington 60 Celebration Day is the perfect way to celebrate an important anniversary of Washington being a New Town, bringing the community together to celebrate and showcase the best of Washington's music and community groups."

Martin Stephenson, who will be headlining the main stage at the event, said: "To play such a fabulous event in my home town is the greatest honour for me. I come back every year to perform at Washington old hall and still have many heartfelt connections from my childhood.

"I have always been proud of my roots and the lovely family and mining community I was reared in. Our drummer Craig McDonald is from Washington too and we're looking forward to this greatly."

Washington 60 Celebration Day is just one event planned to celebrate Washington New Town's big birthday this year. Other plans include:

  • A special design competition for schoolchildren which was launched in November by TV architect George Clarke in the town where he grew up. This will see young people from schools across Washington coming up with their own vision of an innovative super sustainable residential community for the next 60 years. 
  • An oral history project led by Washington Area Heritage Partnership which aims to capture people's memories of the time leading up and during Washington New Town's early years. You can check out the growing collection here:
  • Memory Box sessions for community groups which will see members of Washington Heritage Partnership visiting community groups armed with memory boxes full of 1960s memorabilia. 
  • Washington 60: Rock and Coal will celebrate 60 years of Washington New Town as we take a look back at music and fashions from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Find out more at Washington 60 Celebration Day - MySunderland

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