THE streets will be quiet, the venues will be empty, and there will be no coaches criss-crossing the borough – but the best of brass will still be very much in evidence on Whit Friday (June 5).
Tameside Open champions Foden’s Band, who have dominated the greatest free show on earth since the turn of the 21st century, have refused to allow covid-19 to stop them spreading the joy of all things brass.
They have responded to the constraints of lockdown by launching an online Whit Friday competition which takes entries until Thursday, June 4.
To make sure Whit Friday doesn’t pass by unmarked, bands have been asked to submit a video showing them playing a traditional march in a very non-traditional way. Tameside Council and the Friends of Tameside Whit Friday Brass Band Contests Committee have lent their support to this unique competition by offering a small donation to youth bands called a youth encouragement award.
Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council’s executive member for culture, said: “As someone who was personally involved in the Whit contests for many years as a contest organiser, as well as holding the culture brief, I think it’s vital Tameside continues to promote and support the Whit Friday brass band tradition.
“We are delighted to offer an encouragement award to all youth bands that enter Foden’s online competition. It offers support and a financial boost to banding and bands at a really fundamental level.”
Adam Pickles, chairman of the Friends, added: “We wish to donate to the award to continue the tradition of the greatest free show on earth by providing much-needed funds to brass bands at this grassroots level.
“We will come back stronger and look forward to seeing old and new faces at our contest in 2021.Good luck to all bands competing and hopefully we will see you next year in Tameside.”
Foden’s band manager Mark Wilkinson commented: “We would like to thank Tameside Council and the Friends of Tameside Whit Friday Brass Band Contests for supporting our online event.
“The response has been fantastic with virtual performances submitted from across the world including Singapore, Australia and America.”
All the submissions are being edited into a single video which will be published on Foden’s Band’s Facebook page from 4.30pm on Friday, June 5, to let people have a true taste of the Whit Friday band contests even in lockdown.