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News article created on 9 October 2017

Britain's longest and deepest canal tunnel to host spectacular one-off cello performance

We are hosting a unique concert in Standedge canal tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, as part of Marsden Jazz Festival in partnership with Jazz North.

Maja Bugge, Standedge Tunnel

Cellist and composer Maja Bugge will be creating music in dialogue with this unique space and its acoustic, with the audience travelling by boat part way through the 3 ¼ mile tunnel to listen. The performance will take place on Saturday 7 October, 2-3.30pm.

Maja Bugge is a Norwegian cellist and composer based in Lancaster. Her work conveys the familiar and the unfamiliar, the epic and the everyday. She is renowned for balancing melodic and meditative improvisations with experimental material, as well as playing concerts and recording in unusual sites.

Britain's longest and deepest canal tunnel

Standedge Tunnel is Britain’s longest and deepest canal tunnel. Finally completed in 1811, it took 17 years to dig and cost the lives of 50 men. Having fallen into decline due to competition from the railways the tunnel closed on 13th October 1916, before an ambitious restoration, dubbed the ‘impossible restoration’, saw it reopen in 2001. Today, the tunnel, looked after by us and our volunteers, attracts boaters from across the world, keen to make the epic journey through the tunnel and the Pennines, from Yorkshire to Lancashire.

Marsden Jazz Festival is a significant annual event in the Yorkshire and UK festival calendar, with around 25 venues presenting 100 events from 6-8 October, the majority of which are free to attend.

Our colleague Claire Atkinson said: "Standedge Tunnel is an amazing engineering achievement, especially considering it was carved out of the ground by hand 200 years ago by navvies, armed only with picks, shovels and dynamite.

"This is the first time the Canal & River Trust has ever hosted anything like this before in the Tunnel, so we are hugely excited. We’re delighted to be working with Maja and Marsden Jazz festival to support this wonderful one-off event in this remarkable, historic setting."

A unique opportunity 

Barney Stevenson, Artistic Director, Marsden Jazz Festival added: "We have organised a huge variety of events over the years, but it’s certainly one of the most unusual and complex to organise in a canal tunnel. I cannot wait to see the audience’s reaction to this very special event and welcome visitors to the picturesque Pennine village of Marsden for some wonderful music over the festival weekend."

Maja Bugge said: "Whilst I’ve played other unusual sites, Standedge Tunnel will be the first time I’ve played in a canal tunnel and it’s wonderful to be given the opportunity to do this thanks to the support of the Canal & River Trust, Marsden Jazz Festival and Jazz North." 

She added: "All my work is about an attempt for dialogue; a dialogue between the cello and a site, a text, an image, a movement, a space. All my work as a composer and performer is concerned with this dialogue. The Standedge canal tunnel gives me a unique opportunity to play with a site that has got over 200 years of history. It is a site where the cello will sound like nowhere else. And the tunnel itself will totally inform and shape the music."

For details about Marsden Jazz Festival, including ticket information for the performance visit: www.marsdenjazzfestival.com