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Strike up the band!

Get ready for a blast of brass in downtown Hamilton.

The city hosts the 2019 NZ Brass Band Championships this week – the first time the event has been held in the city in 40 years. It will welcome more than 800 participants, an estimated 600 spectators – plus a further 85-strong contingent coming in from Australia and the United States of America.

The event will be livestreamed into 20 different countries with the viewing audience expected to exceed 7000 people.

The five-day championships include one of the most celebrated aspects of brass band competitions, a Parade of Bands taking in three central-city streets on Friday July 12 from 12:30pm.

The 28 bands participating in the Parade of Bands will give the traditional Salute to the Mayor, who’ll receive the salute from a dais placed on Barton St. One band will pass the Mayor every two minutes.

Malcolm Barr is a member of the Hamilton Citizens Brass Band and Chairman of the organising committee which has put the event together.

“Having been to plenty of contests everywhere, I really wanted to have one in my home town,” he says. “I just didn’t know how much work it was going to be!”

Mr Barr, principal trombonist, says the planning has taken three years after the initial bid to host the event was placed in 2016. The organising committee obtained $50,000 in sponsorship from Hamilton City Council’s Major Event Sponsorship Fund, and Mr Barr said the Council’s support had been vital to the event.

“We’ve had some great assistance from the Council during our planning – everyone has been terrific.”

Sean Murray, the Council’s General Manager of Venues, Tourism and Events, says the organising committee’s application for sponsorship demonstrated the event would meet all the relevant criteria.

“The application they put in really nailed it - we were very impressed by their thoroughness and the value to Hamilton hosting the event which they were able to show.”

Mr Murray says Hamilton is increasingly attracting national-level competitions because the city has the necessary venues and infrastructure to host the events – including the National Brass Band Championships, which includes four days of competitions at the Council’s Claudelands venue.

Mr Murray says the majority of the participants are staying in accommodation in Hamilton with an anticipated average stay of four days, meaning more than 1500 “bed nights” for the city.

Friday’s Parade of Bands starts at the Victoria St end of Bryce St, turn onto Barton St, parade past the Mayor and salute, then turn left on to London St.

To allow the bands to march, there will be parking restrictions and temporary road closures on or near the parade route.

• Parking restrictions on Barton St, from 10am.
• Temporary closure of Bryce St (from Anglesea St to Victoria St), London St (Anglesea St to Victoria St) and all of Barton St, from 12pm to 3pm.

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