Can industrial communities survive the loss of their industrial heritage? Can communities once thought to be in terminal decline reinvigorate themselves? Evidence from the Durham coalmining communities suggests that the answer to both questions is yes. This paper presents evidence from a study of the annual Durham Miners' Gala - the Big Meeting - that reflects a revival of community vitality around the event. Together with an analysis of the Gala itself, the complex background to the resilience of the mining communities is explored.