What we know about Wonderlooper: Details of the quirky music event taking place on Sunderland's Northern Spire bridge

The Northern Spire Bridge in Sunderland. Picture by Owen Humphreys/PA
The Northern Spire Bridge in Sunderland. Picture by Owen Humphreys/PA
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A weird and wonderful event is due to take place to help mark the opening of Sunderland's new bridge this weekend.

A quirky range of sights, sounds and experiences in the form of Wonderlooper will take place on Sunday.

Only those who attend will get a full grasp of the project, but here's what we know so far:

What is Wonderlooper?

Wonderlooper is a sound and music event to help mark the opening of Sunderland's Northern Spire bridge.

Instruments known as "Wonderloopers" were created from leftover materials from the building of the bridge, and will be performed at the event to create weird and wonderful sounds which organisers are describing as the bridge "singing".

What will happen at the event?

Fourteen of the instruments will be installed on the bridge for visitors to interact with.

People will be invited to "play" the bridge using kaleidoscopic mirrors, motion sensors and soundscapes composed by musicians Architects of Rosslyn.

Soundscapes have been created by electronic musician Mandy Wigby using interviews with people from the community.

Sunderland City Council Leader Coun Graeme Miller will give a welcome speech at 9am on Sunday before pre-booked members of the public will get their chance to explore the bridge and the Wonderloopers.

Read more: Sunderland’s new Northern Spire bridge will provide music for its own opening
How were the instruments made?

Artist Di Mainstone was commissioned to work with communities on both sides of the Wear on the IN-SPIRE project, the programme celebrating the opening of the new bridge.

The instruments have been manufactured by digital manufacturing and 3D printing operation FabLab Sunderland, using cast-off plastic casings that cover the bridge’s huge steel cables.

Di hosted two events at FabLab which were attended by musicians, engineers and technologists to help her explore different ways to play the bridge and create instruments from the casing cut-offs.

Di also met people from the Castletown, Millfield, Pallion, Southwick and South Hylton areas around the bridge to learn more about their backgrounds and experiences and the cultures of the communities, which will feed into the sounds that are made.

When is the event taking place?

Wonderlooper runs all day on Sunday September with visitors who have tickets given slots to attend.

How can I get tickets?

Unfortunately the event is now sold out with tickets having been snapped up within hours of their release.

However, organisers are recruiting volunteer "Portal Keepers" for the event to help from 10am to 7pm.

If you’re interested, contact corinne.kilvington@sunderlandculture.org.uk for more information - but don't delay as there's not long left.

How can I get there?

Those with tickets are advised to arrive 15 minutes before their allotted time.

Limited parking is available at Pallion Retail Park, on the south side of the river, and at Hylton Retail Park, on the north side.

Pallion Metro Station – which is a ten-minute walk from the south entrance to the Wonderlooper event – is also available.

Will the bridge be closed during the event?

The Northern Spire bridge and its approach roads will be closed from 11pm on Saturday, September 15 to 11pm on Sunday, September 16.

Read more: Sunderland’s new Northern Spire bridge to be closed for large-scale music event


For more information, go to http://playthebridge.org.