It has been announced that the 2021 British Open Championship, due to be held at Symphony Hall in Birmingham on Saturday 11th September, has been postponed.
All bands originally invited to compete at the event have been notified of the decision by organisers Martin and Karyn Mortimer through correspondence sent by contest controller Frank Hodges.
The 2021 contest supported by Besson will now take place on Sunday 23rd January, with the 2022 event on Saturday 10th September.
4BR understands that the organisers have had to take into consideration the extensive issues surrounding the potential constraints and safety measures required because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
It also follows detailed discussions with the management of Symphony Hall who have supported the decision to postpone the event until January, although there is good news for brass band fans in that their own Sunday Gala Concert promotion featuring Black Dyke and Cory will still go ahead as planned.
At a recent Zoom meeting between Martin and Karyn Mortimer and 14 bands invited to take part in the 2021 contest, representatives endorsed their unanimous support for the organisers in their efforts in reaching what was described as "an exceptionally difficult decision to make".
In a statement Martin Mortimer told 4BR: "As organisers we have thought very carefully about the staging of this year's Open. We share everyone's desire to return to contesting, so this is not a decision we have taken lightly.
Whilst generally the situation is improving, we are mindful of potential concerns for both our audience and competing bands. We really appreciated the recent discussions with the bands who gave us valuable feedback and support in making this decision, as well as the close conversations with the B.Music team at Symphony Hall."
He added: "'The World Rejoicing' by Edward Gregson is a wonderful work that we have all looked forward to. It was therefore important to ensure that all the invited bands had the opportunity to take part and deliver their best performance, mindful of the challenges many were facing in terms of rehearsal time and the uncertainty regarding their members being available to play on the day because of the ongoing Covid-19 situation."
As organisers we have thought very carefully about the staging of this year's Open. We share everyone's desire to return to contesting, so this is not a decision we have taken lightlyMartin Mortimer
Martin continued: "Alongside this, we also felt it was important for our audience to enjoy the experience of the day's contesting in the relaxed environment we are all accustomed to at Symphony Hall.
The preparation and 'lead in' time involved in a number of key aspects of the event for our team, the bands and Symphony Hall required us to consider the timing of this decision, and we hope that everyone will appreciate the situation."
New dates and further information
4BR was informed that all tickets purchased for the 11th September 2021 event will remain valid for the new date of Sunday January 23rd 2022.
Please wait to be contacted by Symphony Hall B.Music box office for any details around this process, or to claim a refund if you are unable to attend in January.
The 2022 British Open Championship will be held on Saturday 10th September 2022 will once again be supported by Besson.
Tickets for the Brass Gala featuring Black Dyke and Cory are available here: