After two years of silence the towns and villages of Tameside will once again echo to the much-loved sound of brass band music on 10 June.

Following a relaxation of covid restrictions, the Friends of Tameside Brass Band Contests have decided the time is right to bring back the traditional Whit Friday competitions after the only non-wartime break they have known in their 138-year history.

Supported by Tameside Council, the 11 contests are organised by dedicated groups of volunteers across the borough. To have a chance of being crowned champions, bands must perform at six venues. As well as demanding proof of musical prowess, the evening also tests discipline, stamina and organisational skills.

Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council’s executive member for culture, said:

“The Whit Friday contests started in Stalybridge in 1884 so I’m delighted they will be taking place once more in 2022. They are an integral part of our borough’s heritage and I’m delighted the council will be renewing its support for them.

“By offering the overall Tameside prizes we help brass bands of all levels while making sure our residents have the opportunity to see and hear some of the best brass bands in the country.”

Adam Pickles, chairman of the Friends of Tameside Brass Band Contests, added: “We’re pleased bring back the band contests. Foden’s did an outstanding job with the online competitions, but nothing compares with the real thing.

“The past two years have been difficult and we’re really grateful to have something to look forward to. The towns and villages that make up Tameside will once again be resounding to the brilliant sound of brass this year and hopefully long into the future.”

With bands travelling from across the UK and further afield to take part, Whit Friday has been dubbed the greatest free show on earth. Further updates and information will be posted at as they develop.

The contests are Broadoak, Ashton; Carrbrook; Denton Cricket Club; Droylsden; Dukinfield Albion; Dukinfield Tame Valley; Heyrod; Hurst Village; Mossley; Stalybridge Labour Club and Stalybridge Celtic.