Thousands of people from across the borough and beyond are set to enjoy a spectacular day of free entertainment at the famous Whit Friday band contests.
Oldham Council has been providing help and financial support to ensure the 2014 Saddleworth and Lees contests hit the right notes once again.This traditional event dates back to an earliest-recorded contest in 1884 and is dubbed locally ‘the greatest free show on earth’.
Contests will run across 11 villages from around 4pm until 10.30pm or later on Friday, June 13 – following on from the traditional ‘Whit Walks’ in the morning.
The organisation of these contests takes several months of close discussion and work with partners to ensure all families – residents and visitors alike – can enjoy them in total safety.
Councillor Jim McMahon, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “The Whit Friday Band contests are one of the highlights of the year and are a great showcase for the borough.
“The council has been working for months with the organisers and partners, such as Greater Manchester Police, to ensure that we have all the right traffic diversions, stewarding and policing arrangements in place to make it a success.Immediately after the event there’s also a huge clean-up operation to undertake where, working alongside an army of volunteers, we clear away street litter and empty local bins so that everything can return to normal as quickly as possible.
“We are all delighted to be welcoming bands and visitors from across the country, and as far afield as Europe, to a fabulous free show. It is vital we all support flagship events like this because they help put us on the map and also contribute hugely to our tourism and events industry, which is worth more than £240m and supports 3,000 jobs in Oldham.”
The 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.
Cllr McMahon added: “The Whit Friday band contests are one of the biggest annual free events in the borough and the huge effort made by the contest organisers and volunteers is to be applauded.There are always challenges and we’ve worked closely with the organisers and other parties to ensure we promote a positive image of our area and, as ever, our priority is to ensure that everyone enjoys the event in safety.
“The simple message is for people to act responsibly and have a great day.”
Some road restrictions are in force in the area from 4pm until midnight on June 13. These have been signposted in advance. Event stewards or police are also on hand at venues if motorists need help.