Whit Friday Brass Band contests cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak

Bands march at Whit Friday
Bands march at Whit Friday

TAMESIDE’S Whit Friday Brass Band Contests have been cancelled for only the second occasion in more than 100 years.

The contests annually see thousands of bands from across the country and even around the world take to the village’s streets for the ‘greatest free show on earth’.

Last year’s event saw 119 bands compete for the individual contest prizes at locations in and across Tameside, Saddleworth and Oldham, as well as the overall area prizes.

The event was cancelled in 1884 and then last century during the wars but otherwise has been a constant fixture in locals’ diaries.

But now organisers have confirmed the event planned for Friday, June 5 will not go ahead because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Adam Pickles, on behalf of the Friends of Tameside White Friday Brass Band Contest Committee, confirmed all contests are cancelled.

He said: “In light of the Government’s advice regarding large scale public gatherings and in order to protect both the banding community and the public at large, ‘The Friends of Tameside Whit Friday Brass Band Contest Committee’ have taken the unprecedented step to postpone the 2020 contest in Tameside until 2021.

Whilst we want to apologise for any inconvenience this may causes, we can assure you all this decision has not been an easy one to make and has not been taken lightly.
We firmly believe the postponement is in the best interests of all groups involved; bands, organisers, volunteers and the wider public.
The Whit Band contests are one of, if not the oldest brass competitions in the country and have been running for well over 140 years. This legacy and heritage of the event is of utmost importance to us and we will do everything we can to ensure the contests continue into 2021 and beyond.”

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