It’s an iconic part of Huddersfield’s music scene.

And now the legendary Mrs Sunderland Music Festival is set to see its biggest turnout in years - with more than 3,000 set to take part in next year’s event.

Chairman Ray Brown said it’s the biggest turnout in seven years as 3,300 adults and children are down to sing, dance and play in the various competitions next February.

“There has been a steady decline in applicants over the years, so it’s fantastic to see so many people taking part next year”, he said.

The figures for 2016 are a 17% increase on this year’s number of contestants.

Mr Brown put the decline in numbers down to lack of funding for arts services in schools.

“Some schools really excel but we get others where the emphasis isn’t there as much.

“When you see the children on stage, though, you are reminded of how important it is to fund these services.

Mrs Sunderland Music Festival - Festival chairman, Ray Brown.

“There was one disabled child who played a stunning guitar performance, but when I went to congratulate him he was totally unable to speak because of his disability.”

Next year’s festival, which will be the 127th, has received more than 800 entries for classes, with 1,900 children and adults taking part in choir competitions.

An extra 900 children and teachers will take part in workshops led by Thom Meredith and Paul Whittaker OBE, alongside 300 people comprising the Armed Man performance and 200 children with special needs in a performance.

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The first “Mrs Sunderland” was held in April 1889 with just 37 competitors - 27 lady singers and 10 pianists.

It was named after soprano Susannah Sunderland who was born in Brighouse and was known as The Yorkshire Queen of Song.

The festival has taken place every year since except in 1940, the first year of World War II.

The 2016 nine-day festival will take place between February 18 and 27.

Entries are now closed.