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

Northern Spire bridge
Northern Spire bridge
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The new Northern Spire bridge will be closed to traffic on Sunday as it plays host to an interactive arts and music event.

To celebrate the opening of the new landmark crossing a host of musical instruments will be installed along the bridge for the day, giving ticket-holders the chance to ‘play’ the bridge, using kaleidoscopic mirrors, motion sensors and soundscapes composed by musicians Architects of Rosslyn.

Prototype of a Wonderlooper

Prototype of a Wonderlooper

The Wonderlooper instruments have been created from leftover materials from the bridge and are the invention of artist Di Mainstone, who was commissioned to work with communities on both sides of the Wear on the IN-SPIRE project, which celebrates the opening of the new crossing.

Fourteen of the instruments will be installed on the bridge for visitors to interact with, meaning it will be closed to traffic from 11pm this Saturday, September 15, to midnight on Sunday.

The instruments have been manufactured by FabLab Sunderland out of cast-off plastic casings that cover the bridge’s huge steel cables.

Di hosted two workshops 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.

Corinne Kilvington, producer for the event on behalf of Sunderland Culture, said: “For one day only our Wonderlooper event will give people a unique perspective of Northern Spire. People will be able to wander the bridge appreciating its scale and beauty and experiencing it as they’ll never be able to do so again.

“Wonderloopers are sonic kaleidoscopes, musical portals that allow the wind racing down the Wear to play the cables of the Northern Spire and at the same time release the stories and dreams of communities from both sides of the bridge.”

Tickets for the event were snapped up within hours of being made available, but there is still a chance for you to be involved as a ‘Portal Keeper.’ Volunteers are needed to look after each portal from 10am to 7pm on Sunday – no experience is necessary and training will be given. If you’re interested, contact corinne.kilvington@sunderlandculture.org.uk  for more information.

Those with tickets to Wonderloopers 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.