We could put out feelers....I'm not sure Manchester or Barnsley (?) would have the same international pull as London, though.
I'm going to see Smorgs soon in Manchester. I'll tell you the next time Walter is over, and we could attempt it then.
I think the Saddleworth Brass Band Competition ("Quickstep" competition- Whit Sunday weekend) should receive more exposure ... reet gradely.
Perhaps for 2006?
Sorry for the delay in replying. Although I've had only a little exposure to the rain & wind over your side of the hills, I found Manchester to be a great big exciting place. And a Northern one at that, which can only be a good thing.
I myself reside in York, ancient capital of England, and I reckon it wouldn't be a bad place for a northern meet sometime. There is no shortage of hotels, restaurants, museums, art galleries, churches, a cathedral, the city walls, and all sorts of random old sh*t lying around, and at prices to suit any budget (I should get a job with the Tourist Board).
It's also pretty easy driving from most parts of the country (M62 to Leeds then A64 to York for yourself, for example), and it's on the East Coast Mainline so trains heading to Newcastle, Edinburgh or Glasgow from Kings Cross stop in York about every 15 mins. The Trans-Pennine line from Manchester Airport to Somewhere takes about 1h 45m from Piccadilly to York.
I just think it's be good for the A2K residents of the Big Smoke to come Up North for some cold clean air and refreshing rain...