Whit Friday 2006 - A one off experience


Malcolm Wood looks forward to the Whit Friday experience once more. Plenty of bands, prize money and lots of great music on a day that does have a greater meaning.

Saddleworth and Tameside will again come to a stand still this year as Whit Friday has arrived once more.  The date varies from year to year, but the traditional date of eight Fridays after Good Friday is still as firm a commitment to bandsmen and women as it is for those who celebrate its more fulfilling Christian meaning.

The nature of the event;  performing a contest march for an adjudicator that could be in front of a pub, on a football pitch or simply in a car park, before moving on to the next contest draws bands from far and wide.

Twenty-two contests will take place across Saddleworth and Oldham and nearby Tameside this year with Roundthorn having dropped off the venues list  due to a change in tenancy.  Lees & Springhead is celebrating its 70th Contest, whilst Delph reaches 60 years.  Over in Tameside, Carrbrook celebrates its Silver Jubilee by offering a whopping £1000 to the band who claims the top prize on the night.

Word has reached us that some of Yorkshire's top championship bands will not be out on the circuit.  We understand that Black Dyke, Carlton Main, Grimethorpe, Sellers and YBS will not be turning out, but Hepworth, Marsden, Pennine Brass and newly-crowned Masters Champions, Rothwell are anticipated to be out and about. 

Whit Friday wouldn't be the same without Brighouse & Rastrick and in their 125th Anniversary year, they'll be on the circuit again this year led by Ian McElligott. Meanwhile, Besses, Fairey's, Foden's and the National Champions, Leyland will be out on the night, but not Wingates, who are over in France at the French Open.

Visiting bands continue to attend sample the delights of this unique occasion.  Phil Beck, the local banding entrepreneur will be hosting Brass Band Bern from Switzerland, Armagh Old Boys Silver and Guernsey Concert Brass all over to play and enjoy themselves on the weekend.  All three of the bands will be participating in the Whit Walks in Saddleworth on Friday morning; Armagh and Guernsey will then appear in concert on the Saturday night at Uppermill Civic Hall.

Despite a few of the big names being absent this year, you'll get the chance to play ‘spot the player' as a number of players will be participating with other bands as a player or conductor.

Once again, numerous prizes are on offer during the night.  Collectively, the sponsors across all of the contests are offering nearly £50,000 to be won on the night and bands must compete at six venues in the respective circuits (Saddleworth & Oldham and Tameside) to take the first prize of £2500.

The Saddleworth circuit introduces a new prize this year for Youth Bands.  In memory of Uppermill stalwart, Haydn Bradbury who died last year, an award of £250 will be given to the Youth Band who has the highest aggregate on the night from competing at a minimum of six contests.

Duncan Beckley, Derek Broadbent, C Brian Buckley, Ray Farr, Alan Fernie, Goff Richards & Roy Roe are just a handful of established adjudicators who'll be ensconced in their caravans and tents for the night, making those vital decisions.

This year will see a London-based production company, Testbed Productions around the venues as they are making a programme to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Friday 16th June @ 11.00am entitled The Greatest Free Show on Earth looking at why Whit Friday has become what it is within the local area.

The good news is that the forecast is good with a dry, warm evening in prospect.

Results will be available on 4BR as soon as we get them on the Saturday and a round-up of what happened where will follow during next week.

The full list of contest venues is as follows:

Saddleworth & Oldham

First Prize: £650    
Prize Pot: £2800    
Start Time: 4.30 – 10.30    
Adjudicator: K Hollinshead    
Contact: R. Rodgers  01457 874354

First Prize: £500    
Prize Pot: £1825    
Start Time: 4.30 – 10.45    
Adjudicator: S Tighe    
Contact: A Baxter   01706 881915

First Prize: £500    
Prize Pot: £1885    
Start Time: 5.00 – 10.00    
Adjudicator: K. Wadsworth    
Contact: K Haynes    01457 877267

First Prize: £500    
Prize Pot: £2010    
Start Time: 4.30 – 10.30    
Adjudicator: D. Wilby    
Contact: A. Clayton   0161 678 7255

First Prize: £750    
Prize Pot: £2880    
Start Time: 5.00 – 10.00    
Adjudicator: R. Farr    
Contact: J. Buckley   01457 874794

First Prize: £600    
Prize Pot: £1800    
Start Time: 4.30 – 10.00    
Adjudicator: R. Roe    
Contact: S. Wilkes   0161 622 3726

First Prize: £700    
Prize Pot: £1800    
Start Time: 4.30 – 10.30    
Adjudicator: D. Southcott    
Contact: R. Hindley   01457 874570

Lees & Springhead:    
First Prize: £600    
Prize Pot: £1925    
Start Time: 4.30 – 10.00    
Adjudicator: A. Fernie     
Contact: W. Cullen    0161 626 7625

Scouthead & Austerlands:    
First Prize: £600    
Prize Pot: £3025    
Start Time: 4.30 – 11.00    
Adjudicator: C B Buckley    
Contact: D. Needham   0161 652 0341

First Prize: £600    
Prize Pot: £1990    
Start Time: 4.30 – 10.30    
Adjudicator: G. Richards    
Contact: T. Hopkinson    01457 876010

First Prize: £150    
Prize Pot: £525    
Start Time: 4.30 – 10.30     
Adjudicator: J Newbigging    
Contact: L. Jones   01457 870081

Please note that the Friezland contest is for Youth and Third and Fourth Section band only and does not count towards the Championship placings. Bands must compete in at least six contests in the Saddleworth and Oldham area to qualify for an area prize.


Broadoak Hotel, Broadoak Road, Ashton-under-Lyne,
Adjudicator:Mr D R Howard
Main Prize:£400
Prize Pot:£1,200
Contact:Mr J Smith 0161 339 2174

Carr Rise, Carrbrook, Stalybridge
Adjudicator: Mr J Grinell
Main Prize:£1,000
Prize Pot:£2,020
Contact: Angela Kenney 01457 837834

Denton Cricket Club, Egerton Street, Denton
Adjudicator: Mr M Priestley
Main Prize:£250
Prize Pot:£1,025
Contact: Mr J Wood 0161 320 0683

The Bush Inn, Moorside Street, Droylsden
Adjudicator:Mr G Williams
Main Prize:£500
Prize Pot:£1,725
Contact:George Fairclough 0161 370 2811

Tame Valley Hotel, Park Road, Dukinfield
Adjudicator:Mr D Chapman
Main Prize:£400
Prize Pot:£1,500
Contact: Brian Hill 0161 339 0072

John Street, Wakefield Road, Heyrod, Stalybridge
Adjudicator:Mr S Broadbent
Main Prize:£500
Prize Pot:£1,070
Contact: Denise Clayton 0161 303 9827

Hurst Village
Ashton United FC, Surrey Street, Hurst Cross, Ashton-under-Lyne
Adjudicator:Mr G Pritchard
Main Prize:£300
Prize Pot:£1,550
Contact: Eric Stafford 0161 330 5253

New Bridge Inn, Micklehurst Road, Mossley
Adjudicator:Mr A Hobson
Main Prize:£300
Prize Pot:£955
Contact: Elaine Wareing 07980 532709

Stalybridge Labour Club, Acres Lane, Stalybridge
Adjudicator:Mr D Broadbent
Main Prize:£500
Prize Pot:£1,450
Contact: Colin Hamilton 0161 339 8647

Stalybridge Celtic
Stalybridge Celtic Football Club, Bower Fold, Mottram Road, Stalybridge
Adjudicator:Mr D Beckley
Main Prize:£350
Prize Pot:£855
Contact: John Hall 0161 338 2828

Upper Mossley
Mountain Street, Mossley
Adjudicator:Mr M Tweedle
Main Prize:£400
Prize Pot:£1,250
Contact: Margaret Gaskill 01457 832752

Grid References of the locations for the contests are available from the following link:



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