Tameside backs online Whit Competition

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 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.





Please read the statement below from our Chairman in relation to the 2020 Tameside competition


“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.”


Adam Pickles


The Friends of  Tameside Whit Friday Brass Band Contest Committee




The Tameside Whit Friday Band Contest is an annual brass band competition that runs across multiple sites in Tameside (North East Manchester).


The contest originated in Stalybridge in the 1870's and continues to this day.


The 2020 contest will take place at 11 venues across the borough, on Friday 5th June 2020.

The event is organised by 11 independent groups of volunteers who are responsible for all elements of the contest at their specific venue.

Members of these groups come together as 'The Friends of  Whit Friday Brass Band Contest Committee'. This Committee is advised and supported by Tameside MBC's Cultural Services Department.

Want to help?


We are always looking for more help.


If you would like to volunteer on Whit Friday, contact the contest secretary at the venue where you would like to help. All of the secretaries contact details are on the specific page for their contest.

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