Durham Big Sing - a festival of community singing | Friday 8th - Sunday 17th May 2020



Durham Big Sing

A festival of community singing with 2,020 voices

Friday 8th - Sunday 17th May 2020
Venues Across Durham City

Countdown to the festival!


Durham Big Sing: Home

Durham Big Sing 2020 Logo, The Singing Elf

What is Durham Big Sing?
Durham Big Sing is a brand new, non-competitive singing festival organised by Durham based Social Enterprise - The Singing Elf. Celebrating community singing in its widest form, we aim to bring together 2,020 voices from throughout the North East and beyond! The festival will take place in venues across Durham City between Friday 8th May - Sunday 17th May 2020, making us the biggest community singing festival in the region.

Who can take part?
Durham Big Sing welcomes adult singers of all abilities with a varied programme of workshops and performances for both individuals and choirs. Some of the workshops will also be open to accompanied young people but the focus of the festival is on adults. Each event will be booked separately so that singers can tailor their festival experience to suit them. The final Festival of Choirs day on Sunday 17th May is aimed at singers booking as part of a choir or groups of 5 or more but individuals can still attend.

Registration now open - register your interest to be the first to hear when the Box Office opens!

Headline Events of Programme

Festival of Voices | Durham Cathedral
Saturday 9th May | 7 - 9.30pm

Aiming to bring together 500 voices in a 'big sing' open to all!
Festival of Voices provides a rare opportunity to sing with hundreds of voices in the magnificent Durham Cathedral.

Festival of Choirs | Venues in Durham City
Sunday 17th May | 10 - 5pm (with options to shorten day)

Aiming to bring together 1,000 voices in our 'big sing' finale!
Festival of Choirs is a day of workshops & performances celebrating choirs from across the region & beyond.

We need to raise £10,000 in 10 Weeks!

Durham Big Sing is organised by The Singing Elf Social Enterprise. We are not currently receiving any core funding as an organisation and have recently been unsuccessful in achieving core funding for the festival. With so much support behind us and most of the festival planned and ready to go, we've decided to still go ahead but we need your help.

Due to the timescale of the project, we now have limited funding opportunities, so the success of the festival will rely heavily on ticket sales. However, in order to keep ticket prices as accessible as possible, we need to raise £10,000 in the next 10 weeks.

We're working hard to chase down funding, sponsorship & in kind support but we need your help! We know our community is eager to make the festival happen and we believe that the power of hundreds of voices is stronger than our own. Together we can do it!

How you can help:

  • Register your interest - this will help us demonstrate to funders how much interest there is in the festival and the locations of singers via postcodes
  • Spread the word - the festival relies on finding 2,020 singers to take part, please share with everyone you know!
  • Volunteer - our small team of staff rely on the support of our volunteer Sing Makers who help make the festival possible, find out more here
  • Sponsor us - do you know a local business or organisation who might like to help? Get in touch to find out more.
  • Donate to our crowd funding - if all 2,020 singers donated a small amount via our Just Giving Page we would soon be on our way to raise the money we need!
  • Buy tickets - the best way to make the festival a success is to come along, our box office will open soon, everyone who has registered will be invited to book first

What happened in 2019?
Durham Big Sing took place for the very first time on Sunday 19th May 2019. The event welcomed almost 400 singers to Durham's Gala Theatre for one day of workshops and performances. Singers from across the region took part including members of 20 choirs. Watch our film to see how the day went.

Quotes from 2019 event:

'Brilliant day, superb value'

'This was a well organised and uplifting day'

'The atmosphere and friendliness was beyond anything I'd anticipated'

'It far exceeded my expectations'

Our Core Values:
Durham Big Sing celebrates community singing in its widest form and aims to bring together 2,020 singers from throughout the North East.


Celebrate community singing
in a non-competitive environment welcoming all adults regardless of their level of ability, confidence or experience, along with leisure-time singing groups of all musical genres.


Strive to include everyone
by placing accessibility at the heart of the festival. Our ethos of meaningful inclusion aims to address the many barriers of taking part such as physical, mental & emotional health, social isolation and finance.

Create outstanding experiences
by delivering high quality, impactful events led by the region’s top vocal leaders. Working collaboratively with leaders, venues and partners to achieve excellent standards.

Dare to be different
take risks and explore different opportunities in an ambitious way. Challenge perceptions, disrupt traditional attitudes and kick-start new ideas.  

Energise & Inspire
through a collective love of singing and its power to unite communities. Focusing on enjoyment by creating fun, exhilarating singing experiences that invigorate and uplift singers.

Durham Big Sing - a festival of community singing | Friday 8th - Sunday 17th May 2020



©2019 The Singing Elf

The Singing Elf Ltd, Trading as The Singing Elf Social Enterprise, Company No. 12246373.

Registered Office: The Old Rectory, The Broadway, Houghton-le-Spring, DH4 4BB, United Kingdom