They're set to rock the Mrs S Festival!

After more than 120 years, organisers of the prestigious music festival are to have a section for rock bands.

And they hope the hip-hop, indie and reggae musicians will mean an exciting future for the Huddersfield-based festival.

‘Battle of the Bands’ will be a key feature of the festival in February next year.

The festival is in its 126th year and the organisers are keen to ensure that the offer covers all genres of music as well as speech and drama.

A spokesman said: “None of the traditional offer is being lost, we are just broadening the opportunities for performers”.

 

Festival chairman Ray Brown said: “It’s a new and exciting opportunity for the 2015 Huddersfield Mrs Sunderland Festival.

“We hope we can reach out to a new audience as well as bringing something new to our existing audience, who have been treated to a mainly classical line-up over the years.

“Performing to an audience in the Town Hall, successful applicants will be part of a radical departure from the traditional classes associated with the Festival, and will bring a contemporary element which promises an exciting future.

“Invitations are made to bands of all musical genres – pop, rock, reggae, RnB, hip–hop etc.

“We hope to present an opportunity to welcome a diversity of applications, providing equal opportunity for everyone to showcase their talents”.

There will be no age limit to band members, though organisers will adhere to the strict amateur status clause in the Festival rules and regulations.

Application will be through submission of a CD, from which selected groups will be chosen to perform at the Festival.

The winners will be judged by the Festival adjudicator and the audience response.

The Festival is named after Susannah Sunderland (nee Sykes) who was a famous soprano soloist, born in Brighouse in 1819. Her natural talent for singing was noticed by local blacksmith Luke Settle, himself a singer, who first trained her voice, and she subsequently was taught by other respected local amateur musicians.

She first sang in public in 1833 at a local concert. She was a founder member of the Huddersfield Choral Society for whom she also sang as a soloist, as well as many other local choirs.

She was named “The Yorkshire Queen of Song” following a visit to London to sing for Queen Victoria. The Queen is said to have told her “I may be the Queen of England, but you are the Queen of Song”.

She married Henry Sunderland, a farmer/butcher, in 1838 and bore six children. She retired from the concert platform aged only 45, whilst still in her prime.

Susannah died, aged 86, on May 7 1905.

Bands can enter now via www.mrssunderlandfestival.com