FROM Blurred Lines to Jaws and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Limerick’s annual international band parade wowed crowds of 40,000 people with a repertoire of classic and modern hits.
The parade on Sunday featured 20 marching bands and over 1,000 musicians from across Ireland, Europe and the United States during the 44th annual championship.
Eoghan Prendergast, chief executive of the Limerick Marketing Company, said the championship provided a major economic boost for the Mid-West region, generating a significant number of bed nights for city hotels.
“The significant interest that has already been received from abroad for next year’s event shows that the event has the potential to expand further, which can only have positive knock-on effects for tourism, the local economy and Limerick’s reputation overseas,” said Mr Prendergast.
Featuring four bands from the United States, over 90 people travelled to Limerick for the first time with the La Canada School Band, from California, alone.
“It is so amazing here, just so awesome. Having all those people cheer for us was really surreal and amazing,” said high school student Emily Prange from California.
A special certificate for outstanding voluntary service was presented to Sammy Benson, 79, of the band bearing his name, which celebrates 40 years this year.
Nine prizes were handed out on the day, with the Dulzainas De Avila Pipe Band from Spain winning the prize for most entertaining performance.
From the former home of Limerick writer Kate O’Brien, some 100km from Madrid, it was their first time competing in Limerick, and they vowed to return again.
The overall prize was made to the Orchestra of the Estonian Defence Forces, who were crowned parade champions. Acton-Boxborough Regional High School Marching Colonials, from Massachusettes, were named best international band.
The Redemptorist Centre of Music Concert Band, from Limerick won the best local band category while Clondalkin Brass and Reed Youth Band were given the prize for best uniform.
Playing the theme tune to the hit movie, there was even an appearance by the killer shark himself to keep the audience amused.