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What is the WMC Kerkrade?

You may have seen news pieces and social media posts about the WMC (World Music Contest) Kerkrade circulating at the moment.

Ashamedly, this is the first I've heard of this contest when I found out fellow North-West band, Flixton is taking part.

So I did a bit of an explore on the contest's website and any news snippets I could find to discover what the event actually entails and it looks amazing!

If you're like me and you have been wondering what WMC Kerkrade is, wonder no more!

I've saved you the hassle of skimming the web by breaking down what the contest is, venue details, contest times and any other information that might satisfy your curiosity or inform you if you're thinking of attending the contest!

So, without further ado, let's find out what goes on at WMC Kerkrade.


So, What is the wmc Kerkrade?

The World Music Contest, is a four week festival held every four years in Kerkrade, The Netherlands.

According to their website, the WMC is 'where cultures unite in order to make music.'

In a nutshell, the WMC is a wind music festival made up of a variety of contests for wind and fanfare bands, as well as brass bands, marching and show bands, percussion ensembles and conductors.

The festival will also provide the stage for the premiere of 'influential' and 'groundbreaking' compositions.

Winners at Kerkrade can call themselves a world champion in their field until the following contest.

It's essentially a musical Olympic games and it looks amazing!


Where is WMC Kerkrade Held?

Funnily enough, it's held in Kerkrade - which is on the border between Belgium and Germany.

Events are held across three venues around the area including:

  • Roda Hall - a venue that was built in the '60s especially for the contest.

  • Kerkrade Theatre

  • Parkstad Limburg Stadium

The festival has a long history, having been held every four years since 1951!

For those looking to travel to the festival, the recommended airports are:

  • Düsseldorf

  • Cologne

  • Eindhoven

  • Brussels

All are within an hour's drive of Kerkrade.

If you are planning to travel to Schiphol airport, it takes around 3 hours to get to Kerkrade.


When is it?

The 2022 WMC will be held from Thursday 7th until Sunday 31st July with over 20 musical events taking place!

The dates for the specific events are as follows:

Wind Band - Concert Division - Friday 29th, Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July 2022

Wind Band - 1st Division - Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July 2022

Wind Band - 2nd Division - Friday 29th, Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July 2022

Wind Band - 3rd Division - Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July 2022

Fanfare Band - Concert Division - Saturday 23rd and 24th July 2022

Fanfare Band - 1st Division - Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd July 2022

Fanfare Band - 2nd Division - Saturday 16th July 2022

Fanfare Band - 3rd Division - Sunday 17th July 2022

Brass Band - Concert Division - Friday 8th July (Test Piece) & Saturday 9th July (Own-Choice) 2022

Brass Band - 1st Division - Sunday 10th July 2022

Brass Band - 2nd Division - Sunday 10th July 2022

Brass Band - 3rd Division - Saturday 9th July 2022

Percussion - Brass Band - Concert Division - Test Piece - Friday 8th July 2022

Percussion Ensemble - Concert Division - Own Choice Programme - Friday 15th July 2022

Percussion Ensemble - 1st Division - Friday 8th July 2022

Percussion Ensemble - 2nd Division - Friday 15th July 2022

Show - Championship Division - Prelims - Friday 29th July 2022

Show - Championship Division - Finals - Saturday 30th July 2022

Show - World Division - Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July 2022

Show - 1st Division - Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July 2022

Show - 2nd Division - Saturday 23rd July 2022

Show - Junior Division - Saturday July 23rd 2022

Marching - Championship Division - Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July 2022

Marching - World Division - Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July 2022

Marching - 1st Division - Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24 July 2022

Marching - 2nd Division - Saturday 23rd July 2022

Marching - Junior Division - Saturday 23rd July 2022

Marching Parade - Championship Division - Saturday 30th July 2022

Marching Parade - 1st Division - Sunday 24th July 2022

International Conductors Contest

1st Round (24 Candidates)- Wednesday 13th July 2022

2nd Round (12 Candidates)- Thursday 14th July 2022

Semi-finals (6 candidates) - Monday 18th July 2022

Finals (3 candidates) - Tuesday 19th July (rehearsal) and Wednesday 20th July 2022 Concert)


What is the WMC's Mission?

Reading the mission statement, the values of the WMC is everything music should stand for (in my opinion anyway):

  • Intercultural - a place where cultures meet through music and where people from different backgrounds can make music together.

  • Inclusive - everyone is welcome at the WMC, regardless of origin, sexual orientation or physical/mental abilities - one of the festival's tasks is to bring everyone together in an 'atmosphere of musical friendship'.

  • Interdisciplinary and interdependent - establishing valuable crossovers between art forms - music, theatre, visual arts, urban culture, and dance - this festival encourages collaboration.

  • Intrinsic - the event wants to emphasise the intrinsic qualities of music - to stimulate the imagination, evoke emotion and contribute to an individual's personal development.

  • Innovative - the emphasis is on innovation during the WMC - it praises creativity and gives participants the freedom to think outside of the box.


Fringe Festival

The WMC Fringe Festival is a new part of the event, which gives bands a chance to perform across a range of open-air venues.

Bands who decide to take part in the Fringe Festival get to enjoy the WMC experience without having to enter the competitions.

Bands who have entered the competitions can also sign up to take part in the Fringe Festival, if they wish.

Members of bands who have chosen to take part in the WMC Fringe Festival are also given the opportunity to visit contests and other WMC activities at a discount.


Food For Musical Thought?

I have to say, this event sounds incredible and considering it has been around since the 1950s, I'm annoyed I haven't heard of it sooner!

Obviously, I've never been in person, so I'm going to reserve a comparison with our own contesting for the time being.

However, in terms of encouraging collaboration and opening our horizons to working with other art forms to create a contest performance, should this be the way our own contests should go?

I think having an event such as this in the UK would be incredibly beneficial to the movement - I appreciate it's a big event to take on, but I think it would be a great way to introduce our movement to a larger audience, as well as provide an opportunity for our community to foster relationships with other artforms.

Anyway, this is definitely a topic to explore another time - we'll come back to it.

One thing is for certain, I'm putting this event on my bucket list and I'm excited to see UK representation in the brass band category!

So far, as I mentioned before, I've seen that Flixton Band, as well as Regent Brass from London are taking part in the 1st Division and Welsh band, Lewis-Merthyr are competing in the 2nd Division.

A UK representative in the Championship hasn't been announced according to the WMC Kerkrade website.

Well, that's all I've found out so far and I'm sure it will be exciting to find out more about this event as the year goes on.

At the moment, I'm not sure how tickets can be purchased, but as soon as I do, I will let you know!

The event is also going to be streamed by IBB Media, so even if I don't get chance to hop on the plane and head over there, I'm planning on watching the live stream!

Again, as soon as I know more information about the live stream, I'll post an update!

I hope this has been helpful and I wish the best of luck to all of you who have entered!

Find out more about WMC Kerkrade here:


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