TAMESIDE will have to wait until 2022 for the return of the historic and highly-popular Whit Friday band contests – but all is not lost for residents who enjoy music and tradition.
Friends of the Tameside Whit Friday Brass Band Contests will be supporting a repeat of last year's successful online competition organised by Foden's Band and say they are investigating a number of exciting ideas for the autumn.
At a meeting on 26 January the group's committee unanimously decided to follow their colleagues in Saddleworth and postpone the 2021 contests, which should have gone ahead on May 28, in view of the ongoing pandemic.
In a statement, Friends chair Adam Pickles said: "We believe that the risks outweigh the benefits.
"While this comes as a major blow following last year's postponement, we firmly believe it is in the best interests of all groups involved: bands, organisers, volunteers and the wider public.
"We cannot stress enough how important the Whit contests are to our committees and volunteers. Their 140-year legacy holds a special place in our hearts and we will do everything we can to ensure it continues and flourishes moving into 2022 and beyond."
The full statement is available at www.tamesidebrassbands.org
Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council's executive member with responsibility for culture, said: "The Whit Friday contests are part of Tameside's soul and stretch back deep into our history, so I'm pleased that while the bands can't be out across the borough in the usual way people will still have the opportunity to enjoy them virtually.
"I understand what has prompted the committee to make its decision as public safety has to be at the heart of everything we do. I look forward to the band contests returning on June 10, 2022, and also to learning more about the committee's ideas for the autumn."