A POPULAR brass band festival that usually descends on Pershore each year, is to go online this year in the face of coronavirus restrictions.

Saturday, July 4, should have been the big day for the Pershore Midsummer Brass festival.

The event brings together bands from across the Midlands and beyond in a unique non-competitive festival of brass with as many as four venues around the town including The Angel Hotel and The Star Inn, providing 12 hours of music.

Due to Covid-19 this year’s live event sadly had to be cancelled by the organisers who had been working on bringing bands together from as early as last July.

But, inspired by other events online during lockdown, the hard-working committee have organised a programme for Pershore Midsummer Brass fans to be performed online.

Bands have supplied footage, some of which has been produced through remote lockdown recordings, other bands have supplied various recordings over the years.

As usual, the event will begin with a fanfare. This would normally be performed by a number of musicians who have to scale the heights of the Pershore Abbey tower.

This year's fanfare will be provided by the Jaguar Land Rover Band.

Organisers say there will be performances every half an hour through the day from 10am until approximately 4.30pm.

The final piece will be a performance of a new piece by Lockdown Brass, comprising members from three of our local bands – Malvern Hills, Malvern Chase and Worcester Concert Brass, all of which are conducted and organised by Chris Licence.

Their most recent recording, is a piece composed especially to honour the NHS during this difficult time – Song for the Frontline and first performed virtually by Fodens Band.

At present there are 15 bands with room for more. Organisers say the programme will be on its Facebook site on Friday.

One of these bands will be the Perscoran Band, complete with archive footage of the band.

They had hoped to play as a reunited band at the live event this year, although they no longer play together.

This is in celebration of 80th birthday in September this year of Gordon Hartley Bennett, their founder, who was also the founder of the original Pershore Midsummer Brass and well known to local musicians as he taught many to play brass instruments in local schools for many years.

John West, Pershore Midsummer Brass committee chairman, said: “We are, of course, disappointed not to be together enjoying wonderful music with good company, but be assured that next year we will be striving to make good on what we have missed this year. 

"We are, like everybody else, hoping that ‘normality’ will return soon.”

To be able to watch the performances on Saturday, July 4, interested listeners can sign up now to the festival social media for updates, where links to the performances will be released on the day, or to the YouTube channel, https://bit.ly/2YUeVAi Performances will remain live until the following day for anyone who misses the performances on the day.

John said: “Maybe audiences will sit in their garden and enjoy the conviviality for which our event is known – even with a glass of ‘conviviality’ in their hand to enhance the delight of the day.

"The committee would especially like to thank Chris and Heather License for all the technical wizardry and support.

"Chris is editing together the tracks supplied by the individual members of each band and will schedule the uploads every 30 minutes on the day.

"Once a band has ‘played’ the video will remain until Chris removes them at 10pm on Sunday, while Heather has certainly been integral in organising the bands."

The festival would normally have cost £7.50 per ticket for a whole day of music but this performance will be free for all to watch, with an opportunity to make a donation to Pershore Midsummer Brass to help run the festival this year and the next one in 2021.