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ChristchurchNZ: Festival of Brass hits the streets

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Musicians from across New Zealand are polishing their brass and marching boots ahead of fierce competition and public display at the 2021 Festival of Brass.

The event runs from 14-18 July and includes the 2021 National Brass Band Championships, a selection of public performances - all at the impressive and acoustically-gifted Christchurch Town Hall - and a street parade around Victoria Square.

The street parade kicks off at 1pm on Friday 16 July at the corner of Armagh St and Oxford Tce, turning left down Colombo St before finishing south of Kilmore St. Even the march is judged, on musical performance, marching form and entertainment value.

Around 40 bands will perform at the epitome of New Zealand brass band performance, featuring upwards of 1,200 musicians including 32 bands from outside Christchurch.

Helen Lee, Brass Band Association of New Zealand Executive Officer and 2021 Contest Manager, said those attending could expect a "top-notch concert experience".

"The musicians on show are our country’s finest and will amaze the audience with their technical skill and musicianship," Lee said.

The first two days of the festival are earmarked for solo and small ensemble events, while Friday and Saturday are all about whole band events.

"All these events are free so people can pop in and listen to one tune or stay for the whole day."

It was a particularly exciting festival this year with it being held at the Christchurch Town Hall. The venue is renowned for its acoustics, architecture and heritage preservation.

"We’re extremely excited that people will get a chance to experience the best of our brass performers in a venue designed for hearing live music. Holding it at the Christchurch Town Hall will elevate the competition to the next level," Lee said.

Karena Finnie, ChristchurchNZ Head of Major Events, said the festival was a celebration of enthusiast performers at the peak of their game.

"We welcome this chance to host the Festival of Brass in our city, and encourage the public to get along and see these amazing bands and soloists," Finnie said.

"Events like this also bring vibrancy and colour to our central city, encouraging public participation and boosting the economy through increased visitor spending and visitor nights at accommodation around the city."

The event is forecast to bring more than 2000 visitors to the city, including performers and their supporters, and spectators.

"The Festival of Brass is expected to generate around 8,100 visitor nights in Christchurch, and generate over $1.4m in visitor spending," Finnie said.

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