2009 Whit Friday - Preview of the Greatest Free Show on Earth

4-Jun-2009

Malcolm Wood looks forward to the Whit Friday extravaganza. Lots of bands, prize money, booze and intrigue. There is even a bit of religion in there too...


Girls, girls, girls
Whit Friday has many attractions...
Picture: Ian Clowes


With the busy contest and concert season in full swing, bands are beginning to have an eye on a well earned summer break, but not before they've competed at Bugle, the English National or the various March & Hymn Contests that will take place over the next few weeks.

Of them all, the highest profile series of contests comes this Friday 5th June – Whit Friday. Thousands of people will descend on over twenty venues across Saddleworth and Tameside for what is described by aficionados as, ‘The Greatest free show on Earth’. 

Traditional start

The day will start though with the traditional Processions of Witness in Saddleworth and Mossley from 9.00am. The arrival of Pentecost means that for those involved, that in itself remains the most important part of the day, although once the religious aspect has been concluded, thoughts can then be turned to the contests that stretch well into the small hours of the night.

New Contests

This year, there are 23 contests on two increasingly competitive circuits (between organizers as well as bands), with Aldwinians Rugby Club in Audenshaw in Tameside and Diggle in the Saddleworth & Oldham District making their debuts.

Both contests are excited at being part of the Whit Friday experience, but as it’s their first year, they will be keeping their fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly and hope there are no teething troubles.

Something for everyone
Whit Friday also caters for all tastes...
Picture: Ian Clowes

Change of sponsor

With the economic climate as it is, it is a credit to each contest that they've been able to raise the funds again this year (prize funds are up once again). Finances are tight, not all of the same sponsors are on board and organisers have had to dig deep to pull out all of the stops for this year.

In Saddleworth, the Co-operative and Oldham Chronicle have not been able to aid financially this year, but funds have come from Saddleworth Parish Council, Saddleworth & Lees Area Community Project and the Navigation All Star Brass.

Tameside celebrates

With 2009 being the 20th anniversary of Tameside Council's support of their area contests, the Council have agreed to increase the overall contribution given to the Contest Committees to £3,520 (split between the 11 contests).

This has enabled many of the individual contests to increase their main prize money funds, whilst all the other monies take the Council's overall funding to in excess of £20,000.

Night time
Contests run well into the night...
Picture: Ian Clowes


Councillors to the rescue

However, some private sponsors have also been forced to withdraw support in Tameside. When Stalybridge councillors George Roberts and Kevin Welsh heard that sponsors were unable to commit financially, they duly stepped in and have donated £400 to the contests at Heyrod, Carrbrook and Stalybridge respectively.

On hearing about the financial situation, Councillor Welsh has commented in various publications: “Whit Friday is such a part of our (local) heritage and you won't see people out on the streets in their numbers in places like Carrbrook as you'll see on Whit Friday.”

The good news to report though is there a serious pot of money on offer with around £60,000 being up for grabs across all the venues.

Both Saddleworth and Tameside are awarding £2,500 to the band who has the highest aggregate of placings from a minimum of six contests, whilst individually, Delph and Greenfield are intent on enticing the big names with £1,000 first prizes.

New ideas

To get bands to participate, contests are looking now at additional ways to persuade bands to visit their contests. In recognition of the sterling work put in by youth people prior to the day, Heyrod contest (which has launched a website) has not just increased the prize money but is introducing a separate deportment prize.

Bill takes over the reigns

For a good number of years, Peter Dyson coordinated all the results from the various contests. Peter has now stepped down and Bill Cullem is taking over the reigns of pulling everything together over the weekend.

Lots to hear
There is always something to hear...
Picture: Ian Clowes


Broadbent, Farr & Parkes on duty

As always on Whit Friday there are a few adjudicating names you don't see week in, week out, but the likes of Duncan Beckley, Derek Broadbent, C Brian Buckley, Alan Fernie, Major Peter Parkes, Gareth Pritchard, Roy Roe and Barry Thompson will all be putting their necks on the block on what is a demanding night listening to bands non-stop for up to eight hours.

Who is out?

The word on the street is that a fair few heavyweights are intent on tackling the circuits this year.

Nicholas Childs declared to 4BR a while ago that Black Dyke would be out this year, and joining them will be the Yorkshire heavyweights of Brighouse, Hammonds Saltaire, Hepworth and Rothwell, all vying for the bragging rights and a few quid in the pocket.

Also out and about will be Faireys and Leyland (with 4BR photographer Ian Clowes on board) and the reigning British Open and All-England Masters Champion, Fodens, led by Garry Cutt. Fodens are going for eight successive victories as Tameside Champions.

Keep your eyes peeled for Andrew Duncan and Richard Evans, as the word is the two maestros will be out leading two of Yorkshire's top Championship outfits.

St Austell will be making the long trip North from Cornwall and before returning home will feature in a concert with Leyland on Saturday evening.

March, march, march
Putting the right foot forward...
Fodens aim to take an 8th title this year...
Picture: Ian Clowes


Scratch bands and debutants

Those who are sitting their exams at the moment will get a chance to forget about Pythagoras amongst other things, as there will be a fair number of youth bands out in force, and there could well be the odd scratch band and foreign visitors floating around too.

Visual signs

The contest organisers in Saddleworth have made a request to all competing Whit Friday bands. An A4 sign in the front window of the band bus will help things to go smoothly.

Boobs & Brass

Not content with just Whit Friday, Boobs and Brass, will be in concert less than 24 hours after raising funds for their great cause in Uppermill Civic Hall, where they will be joined by a group called, The Bavarian Frankfurters.

Cooler with rain?

Fingers crossed that the weather forecast, that suggests that it will be cooler than late with the possibility of rain is completely wrong.

The Results

4BR will aim to get the results published on Saturday and confirm the news of who has been declared Saddleworth and Tameside Champions as soon as it becomes official. Saddleworth tends to be known by Sunday at the latest, whilst Tameside will be announced on Monday.


The list of contests is as follows:

Tameside:

Audenshaw:

Contest: 4.00pm -10.30pm
Aldwinians Rugby Club
Main Prize: £700 from a total prize fund of £2,525
Adjudicator: Mr M White
Contact: Sylvia Donley (0161 336 6814, 07947 018175)

Broadoak:
Contest: 5.00pm -10.30pm
Broadoak Hotel
Main Prize: £500 from a total prize fund of £1,600
Adjudicator: Mr D R Howard
Contact: Mr J Smith (0161 3392174)

Carrbrook:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.00pm
Carr Rise
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £1,515
Adjudicator: John Davies
Contact: Pete Sims (07931593133)

Denton:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.45pm
Main Prize: £250 from a total prize fund of £1,115
Adjudicator: Mr M Lyons
Contact: Mrs Joan Emery (0161 2925319)

Droylsden:
Contest: 4.30pm -11.00pm
The Bush Inn
Main Prize: £500 from a total prize fund of £2,250
Adjudicator: Mr R Breen
Contact: George Fairclough (0161 3702811)

Dukinfield:
Contest: 4.30pm - 11.00pm
Tame Valley Hotel
Main Prize: £400 from a total prize fund of £1,500
Adjudicator: Mr D Chapman
Contact: Brian Hill (0161 3390072)

Heyrod:
Contest: 4.30pm -1 0.30pm
John Street
Main Prize: £500 from a total prize fund of £1,280
Adjudicator: Mr S McLaughlin
Contact: Miss Lynn Ward

Hurst Village:
Contest: 4.30pm - 11.00pm
Ashton United FC
Main Prize: £300 from a total prize fund of £1,375
Adjudicator: Mr G Pritchard
Contact: Eric Stafford (0161 3305253)

Stalybridge:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.30pm
Stalybridge Labour Club
Main Prize: £550 from a total prize fund of £1,655
Adjudicator: Derek Broadbent
Contact: Phil Watton (0161 3555818)

Stalybridge Celtic:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.45pm
Stalybridge Celtic FC
Main Prize: £350 from a total prize fund of £855
Adjudicator: Major Peter Parkes
Contact: Gordon Greenwood (07770 433336)

Upper Mossley:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.00pm
Mountain Street
Main Prize: £500 from a total prize fund of £1,410
Adjudicator: Mr M Tweedle
Contact: Margaret Gaskell (01457 832752)

Find the venue:
To enable bands to plan their routes and find the contest venues, visit the following link www.tameside.gov.uk/­­brassband/­­whitfriday

Further details:
Further details for the Tameside Contests are available from 0161 342 4144 or via email at events@tameside.gov.uk



Saddleworth and Oldham District:

Delph:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.30pm
Main Prize: £1,000 from a total prize fund of £3,695
Adjudicator: Mr K Hollinshead
Contact: Mr R. Rodgers (01457 874354)

Denshaw:
Contest: 4.15pm - 10.45pm
Main Prize: £750 from a total prize fund of £2,940
Adjudicator: A Holdsworth
Contact: A. Baxter (01706 881915)

Diggle:
Contest: 4.15pm - 10.45pm
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £2,000
Adjudicator: D. Beckley
Contact: B. Cliffe (01457 873901)

Dobcross:
Contest: 4.00pm - 10.00pm
Main Prize: £750 from a total prize fund of £2,885
Adjudicator: B. Thompson
Contact: K. Haynes (01457 877267)

Friezland:
3rd, 4th & Youth Sections only
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.30pm
Main Prize: £150 from a total prize fund of £475
Adjudicator: T. Newbigging
Contact: L. Jones (01457 870081)

Greenacres:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.30pm
Main Prize: £750 from a total prize fund of £2,405
Adjudicator: Mr B. Rostron
Contact: A. Clayton (0161 678 7255)

Greenfield:
Contest: 5.00pm - 10.00pm
Main Prize: £1,000 from a total prize fund of £3,380
Adjudicator: Mr Ray Farr
Contact: J. Buckley (01457 874794)

Grotton:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.00pm
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £2,015
Adjudicator: Mr Roy Roe
Contact: S. Hodgkiss (07842 7888340)

Lydgate:
Contest: 4.30pm -10.30pm
Main Prize: £775 from a total prize fund of £2,020
Adjudicator: Mr Derek Southcott
Contact: C. Brierley (01457 872566)

Lees and Springhead
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.00pm
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £2,385
Adjudicator: Mr Alan Fernie
Contact: W. Cullen (0161 6267625)

Scouthead and Austerlands
Contest: 4.30pm -11.00pm
Main Prize: £750 from a total prize fund of £3,630
Adjudicator: C Brian Buckley
Contact: D. Needham (0161 6520341)

Uppermill:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.30pm
Main Prize: £700 from a total prize fund of £2,195
Adjudicator: D. Marshall
Contact: T. Hopkinson (01457 876010)

Further details:

Further details on Whit Friday can be found on www.whitfriday.brassbands.saddleworth.org

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