Foden's are the Champions

Posted by Mark Wilkinson on 17 June 2019


From the first Whit Friday Marches in 1884, the event has grown in popularity.

On Friday 14th June over 100 brass bands participated in twenty two different contests at venues scattered around the areas of Tameside and Saddleworth. At each venue bands march to a central location where they perform a contest march which is judged by an adjudicator. Foden's played the popular march 'The President' conducted by Michael Fowles. After this the band members get back on their coach, travel to the next village where they repeat the same procedure again! The contests are open to all-comers, so the local youth bands get to match their skills against the UK's top bands. For the players, the dash from contest to contest makes for an exhilarating (though exhausting) evening. Thousands of spectators travel to Saddleworth and Tameside to watch was it commonly called 'the greatest free show in the world'.

Each contest offers prizes for the best band, best youth band, best soloists etc. with each venue attracting between 50 - 70 bands. Each contest is organised by local volunteers with the running costs and prize money being raised by local donations, sponsorship and fund-raising events.

At the end of the night (each contest has its own finish time which is usually around 11pm) the adjudicator announces the results. To qualify for the overall prize i.e. the Champion of Tameside or Saddleworth, bands must compete at a minimum of 6 venues and the band that has the best results takes the overall prize.

This year Foden's competed at 10 venues in Tameside starting at 4pm as well as competing in 2 venues in the Saddleworth Area. Following the announcement of the results Foden's were crowned the 'Tameside Whit Friday Champions' for the 18th time in 19 years. Foden's were placed 1st at 8 venues with a 2nd, 3rd and 4th at the other contests.

Speaking about the victory Band Manager Mark Wilkinson commented ''As always we ensured we were fully prepared for this years event due to a lot of hard work during the course of the week both inside and outside of our rehearsal venue. We are delighted to have secured our 18th victory as a result of our consistent playing during the course of the evening. All at Foden's would like to thank each Whit venue for their time and effort in running such a fantastic evening, the various sponsors, audience, helpers and Tameside Council.' 

This victory comes on the back of Foden's being crowned the 'National Champions of Great Britain' at the Royal Albert Hall in October and winning the 'North West Area Contest' held in Blackpool in February.

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Foden's band maintains a world class reputation for providing entertainment in the field of brass music with a tradition and unique style Mark Wilkinson