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Hills alive with the sound of brass..

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date online: 07 June 2017

THOUSANDS are expected to join "the greatest free show in earth" when this year's Whit Friday band contests on Friday.

Oldham Council is providing help and financial support to ensure the Saddleworth and Lees contests hit all the right notes and everyone enjoys a spectacular day of free entertainment and fun.

And in addition impressive turnouts from famous brass bands across the country, musicians from Switzerland and Australia will take part in the event which dates back to 1884.

Contests will run across 11 villages from 4pm until around 10.30pm on Friday, following the traditional 'Whit Walks' in the morning.

The Tanunda Town Band from South Australia will participate and BBC Radio 2 will be broadcasting live on the day as part of 'Listen to the Band'.

They also be filming the event for a BBC Music Day legacy film.

Helen Lockwood, Executive Director Economy, Skills and Neighbourhoods, said: "The Whit Friday Bands have helped put the borough on the musical map - it's the biggest event on our calendar.

"We're delighted to welcome bands and visitors from across the country and a lot further to this great free show.

"It is vital we all support major events, put smiles on faces, showcase Oldham, and contribute to the local economy.

"Thanks to the huge efforts made by organisers and volunteers the event has been a success year after year.

"We've working for months with our partners, such as Greater Manchester Police, to ensure we have all the right traffic diversions, stewarding and policing arrangements in place to make the event a success."

She added: "We'd encourage everyone to act responsibly and have a great day." After the event, a massive clean-up involving an army of volunteers and council staff will clear away litter and empty street bins to ensure a speedy return to normality.

Saddleworth and Lees District Executive has been closely involved in organising the event and its' members have again given a significant financial contribution from their devolved funding from Oldham Council towards the costs of prizes, stewarding and other vital amenities.

Some road restrictions are in force in the area from 4pm until midnight on June 9. These have been signposted in advance.

Event stewards or police will be on hand at venues if motorists need help.

GMP officers attending contests will advise all parents to keep in touch with children throughout the day, ensuring they know where they are, who they are with and when you can expect them to return home.

Any young person suspected to be in possession of alcohol may be searched.

For more information on the band contests visit: http://www.whitfriday.brassbands.saddleworth.org/intro.html.


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