The musical spirit of the iconic Whit Friday contests will be on show for the brass band world to enjoy thanks to the success of Foden's on-line Whit Friday competition.
No less than 79 bands playing 43 different marches from across the globe have entered the event, which has been supported by Arts Council England, with performances already previewed through Foden's Facebook page.
Time and place
Starting at 4.30pm on Friday afternoon (June 5th) all the performances will be screened in order on at: https://www.youtube.com/fodensband1900 — replicating the way in which bands perform at The Albion Pub in Dukinfield which is the 'virtual host' for the contest.
Foden's MD, Michael Fowles will be given the task of adjudicating the performances and after what promises to be a long but enjoyable few hours will declare who will have won awards and prize money sponsored and supported by Tameside Council, and the Friends of Tameside Whit Friday brass band contest committee, 4Barsrest and the band itself.
Speaking on behalf of the huge team effort, Mark Wilkinson told 4BR: "Foden's would like to thank Arts Council England for supporting this venture and especially Tameside Council and the Friends of Tameside Whit Friday brass band contest committee.
Our thanks also go to 4BR and of course to the bands themselves who have been absolutely fantastic."
Grass roots support
In response, Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council's executive member for culture told 4BR: "As someone who was personally involved in the Whit contests for many years, 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. It offers support and a financial boost to banding at a really fundamental level."
Meanwhile, Adam Pickles, Chairman of the Friends committee, added: "We wished 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. Good luck to all bands competing and hopefully we will see you next year in Tameside."
Such has been the impact of the initiative that Mark Wilkinson has been asked to give a television interview for the regional news programme in the area, whilst support and messages of 'good luck' for favourite bands has already been posted from across the banding world.
Mark added: "The deadline for submitting entries for the continuous stream was midday today. We have been astounded by the number and quality of entries and would like to thank everyone for supporting our event.
We've had five members of our social media committee working together under the direction of co-ordinator Darren Lea to get this ready — so we are sure it's going to bring the fantastic atmosphere of Whit Friday right into people's homes."
We have been astounded by the number and quality of entries and would like to thank everyone for supporting our eventMark Wilkinson
Following the performances the announcement will be made on Sunday of the top three podium winners as well as the recipients of the 4barsrest and Foden's cash awards.
Tameside Council and Friends of Tameside Whit Friday Contests have already announced that their cash award will be split between the competing Youth bands. These recipients will be announced immediately after the performances have ended.
The Foden's on-line Whit Friday competition will be introduced by 4BR Editor Iwan Fox at 4.30pm who has said that he will be near the bar of the virtual Albion Pub in Dukinfield to welcome the 79 competing bands!
The stream can be accessed via: https://www.youtube.com/fodensband1900