SITMS 2012 - World Record Beaten!
Stick It To MS 2012 - World Record Beaten!
When UK drummers decide to back a good cause, they get right behind it. On 15th July, nearly 800 met up at EventCity in Trafford, Manchester to try to break the official Guinness world record for the largest drum kit ensemble and raise money for The Multiple Sclerosis Society. The attempt, which was organised by Rick and Karen Prince and backed by Marshall Amplification and Natal Drums, was an ambitious re-run of the 2009 Stick It To MS event in Birmingham. On that occasion 582 drummers played in unison to beat the previously set USA record of 533. This time, Rick and Karen had set an optimistic goal of 800 participants, though they had understandable doubts about whether they could get close to it. They needn’t have worried, as 798 drummers arrived on the day to support the event; a remarkable tribute to the immense amount of work that they and their team had put in.
Setting up several hundred drum kits without chaos ensuing is no mean feat, but with a staggered entry system and the friendly but firm help of an army of volunteer stewards, it went surprisingly smoothly. Drummers started arriving and unloading at 8am and all of the kits were in position by about lunch time. As everyone signed in and picked up pre-ordered t-shirts, they were given a free commemorative Remo snare head in a smart Marshall commemorative bag, which was a nice touch. Of course, once the musicians were behind their instruments it was all too tempting to give them a bash. The noise from the massed drummers as they began to warm up was something to behold, even through ear plugs.
Several people took the opportunity to boost their fund raising potential by pledging to dress up; including a pair of Mario Brothers, a dinosaur, Animal from The Muppets, a banana, a man with a matching zebra stripe kit and clothing and a strangely familiar Roman Centurion in red stilettos.
As the record attempt was not scheduled until around 4 pm, the organisers supplied a band called The Guvners to entertain the troops, and participants were invited to play along with live versions of as Teenage Kicks, We Will Rock You and other drumming favourites.
The event’s host was talkSPORT presenter and former Kiss tribute band Dressed To Kill’s drummer, Ian Danter, who performed the unenviable task of keeping the ranks of drummers informed and under control very well. The Fast Show’s John Thompson, who also lent his support to the 2009 attempt, was a special guest.
As in 2009, Stick It To MS 2012 attracted some top drummers who were only too happy to perform on stage. The ex-Style Council’s Steve White, Uriah Heep’s Russell Gilbrook and Faithless’ Andy Treacey kicked off the star performances by grooving together, and everyone was invited to join in. Later, the crowd were treated to the combined forces of nature that are Swiss Chris and Robin Guy, as well as the pairing of Primal Scream’s Darrin Mooney and Stiff Little Fingers’ Steve Grantley. There were also plenty of famous drummers among the crowd, such as The Smiths’ Mike Joyce and The Verve’s Pete Salisbury.
Immediately prior to the record attempt being made, everyone gathered together by the main stage. Two representatives from the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Simon and Sonia, thanked Rick and Karen for creating such an important event, and everyone else for taking part. John Thompson drew numbers out of a hat to decide to the winners of the Natal- sponsored prize draw for drummers who had raised more than £100 in sponsorship. Prizes included Natal single and double bass drum pedals, an ash snare drum and a specially commissioned Stick It To MS 2012 commemorative Natal snare drum. A complete Ash Series Jazz kit will go to the person who raises the largest sponsorship total.
“Nice”, as Mr Thompson was heard to say in his best Jazz Club voice.
When the successful world record attempt finished, the doors of EventCity were thrown open and everyone dismantled their kits and carried them out to their vehicles. This was probably the most strenuous part of the day, but the sun shone and everyone was feeling very pleased with themselves. Participants were also able to pick up a personalised Stick it to MS record certificate on the way out, which was a thoughtful keepsake of a job well done.
Many congratulations have to go to Rick and Karen Prince for, once again, organising an outstanding event. They must have put hundreds of hours work in, and the faith that they put in to the drumming community paid off. Rick and Karen also received a lot of help from a large number of volunteers, without whom the event would have not been able to happen. They were also very fortunate to be supported by superb sponsors, though it is a great shame that Jim Marshall OBE, who was a drummer himself and who had put his personal backing behind Stick it to MS, passed away shortly before the event. It remains to be seen whether our US counterparts will take up the challenge and beat the record set in Manchester. If they do, there are at least 798 UK drummers who would certainly relish a rematch.
At the time of the event, donations to drummers’ Justgiving pages had already reached £59,791 and, within days, this had risen to over £75,000 – already £9000 more than the 2009 total, and the paper donation forms have yet to be collected. Karen and Rick’s original target of £80,000 is very likely to be exceeded. Further donations are welcome to the SITMS page and the money raised will all go to helping 100,000 Multiple Sclerosis sufferers around the UK with the help and support that they need: http://www.justgiving.com/stickittoms2012 Please take the time to visit http://www.mssociety.org.uk/ to see where the proceeds of the event will be going.
Words by Jeremy Peake
Photographs by Robert Kitto. Twitter link: @headswimmer
Stick it to MS sponsors and associate sponsors:
Marshall Amplification: http://www.marshallamps.com/
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