An event to mark the disappearance of the foghorn

A Tyneside lighthouse, three brass bands and an armada of ships will be staging a unique musical performance tomorrow.

Fifty boats of all sizes will be gathering on the North Sea from 11am, ready to perform the

ambitious musical score at 12pm.

Crowds will gather on the coastal cliffs as the composition is played across a space of

several miles around Souter lighthouse.

The event, created by artists Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway along with

composer Orlando Gough, is a key part of the Festival of

the North East and aims to mark the phasing-out of the foghorn from the

UK’s coastal landscape.

Foghorns have been used since the 19th century to warn shipping of

danger but in recent years the devices have been superseded by GPS and other


Souter Lighthouse, near South Shields on Tyneside, has one of the few remaining working horns in the UK, which will sound along with 75 musicians from the Felling Band, the Westoe Band and the

NASUWT Riverside Band.

New technology

will allow the ships offshore to play simultaneaously.

Final preparations

The event team a working hard to ensure the first-ever event of its kind is a success.

A spokesman said: ‘We’ve been dropping off horns at various ships over the

week, and then tomorrow morning we will be running around like

crazy people doing final tuning of the horns and installing the control

boxes that will drive the ships horns.

‘It’s a difficult balance – we want to have our horns distributed between

as many ships as possible, but the more ships we have to deal with on

the morning of the show the more crazy it’s going to be.

‘Every single

horn will need to be re-tuned once it’s in position, and all of the

electronics, computers and air supplies have to be tested and set up –

all in the space of a few hours.’

How to take part

Organisers are welcoming vessels of all types and sizes to take part in a sail-by tomorrow, call 07738

953116, email

Find out more at


show: event team members tuning and assembling some of the horns, Souter Lighthouse and a brass band practice event at Souter)