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Update: New Whit Friday rules and what this means for bands

We are pleased to report that the organisers of the Oldham and Saddleworth Whit Friday contest have clarified their rules to allow trumpets on the road march and plastic instruments throughout the event. This change is significant. We know that allowing trumpet players to join brass band events is be an excellent gateway to joining a lifetime of brass banding as cornet players, so we are delighted that these musicians will now be able to join in this year’s Whit Friday event.

The UniBrass Foundation is dedicated to increasing participation in brass banding. We are proud that our efforts have helped the organisers and the wider banding community understand the impact of the original rule change.

UniBrass of course supports measures taken by any contest to ensure the safety of their volunteers and participants, however banning trumpets does nothing to achieve this. We appreciate the organisers’ desire to maintain the event as a celebration of brass banding, but we believe that excluding trumpets (unlike clarinets) unnecessarily limits participation, without affecting the musical standard of the event. It is a shame that this ban still stands for the contest element of the event.

We will continue to engage with the Whit Friday organisers to discuss how Whit Friday can be more inclusive, whilst preserving its status as a world-renowned celebration of brass banding. We look forward to discussing this once they have had a chance to recover from organising what we hope will be another highly successful year for the event.

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