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Issue 6077

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Hope for London and Southern Counties event

Wednesday 2 December, 2020

It was one of the first brass band events to fall prey to the COVID-19 pandemic – now organisers of the London and Southern Counties Regional Championship are hoping for more positive news in 2021, including the potential staging of a band contest.

The organising committee has confirmed that the Regional contest will not take place in Stevenage in March and that the venue remains unavailable afterwards. However, there is a possibility of hosting an event in a smaller venue around the weekend of June 26 and 27, 2021, using the test-pieces which had been selected for 2020.

The news comes amid increased optimism in the UK over the approval of vaccines and the anticipated roll-out in the spring.

Kevin Williams, secretary of the London and Southern Counties contest organising committee, said: “At the time of writing, the country is still in full lockdown and about to move in to a new series of stifling restrictions, so it may seem incongruous to some that we as a committee are even considering the possibility of running a contest in 2021.

“However, with the promise of a rapid roll out of a vaccine in the New Year and the desire on the part of our national leaders that we may be returning to some kind of normality by Easter, bands will be starting to think of resuming activity thereafter.

“It is anticipated that the National Finals will go ahead in 2021 and we are keen to have representation from our Region. We have been having initial discussions with the owners of the contest, Kapitol Promotions Limited, which has expressed a similar desire. “

Kevin continued: “We realise that many bands may have been severely compromised by the pandemic both in terms of their finances and their membership and propose to take a sympathetic view to the grading of bands that are simply unable to attend the contest, and we propose to take a more inclusive approach to our decision making and would welcome any suggestions from our bands.

“We would, though, urge caution in regard to the immediate future and would stress that everyone concerned follows the requirements set out by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as regards non-professional music making. We are grateful to Brass Bands England for its clear and precise interpretation of those requirements as they relate specifically to brass bands and we insist that these instructions are followed to the letter.”

A final decision on any potential contest is expected to be announced in February 2021. Should it not take place, the committee will liaise with Kapitol Promotions regarding bands that may be invited to the National Finals.