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The Greatest Free Show on Earth — The Whit Friday contests in Saddleworth & Tameside

Malcolm Wood looks forward to the greatest free show on earth this weekend — the Whit Friday contests in Saddleworth and Tameside.

Whit Friday at night
A little light night music....

The bank holiday weekend is certainly a busy one for brass bands this year, with the Whit Friday march contests in Saddleworth and Tameside followed by the All-England International Masters at Kettering on Sunday.

It's a quirk of contesting fate that doesn't happen too often, but it guarantees a long and hopefully, profitable weekend for those who come out top of the respective prize lists.

Weather or not...

If the weather replicates the recent May Day bank holiday, everybody will be happy; although if it’s as chilly as has it been recently and as predicted, it may well be time to get the thermal underwear and raincoats out again.

The great British weather may remain as unpredictable as ever, but the one remarkable constant is the dedication given by those who work all year round to organise their local Whit Friday contests.

Stwerad
Helping hands make Whit Friday work so well...

Financial support

In pretty austere times, it's an unbelievable achievement that the brilliant band of hard working organisers in Saddleworth and Tameside have been able to secure substantial prize money once more – a financial lifeline to many of the bands that come from all over the world to perform here.

Once again, the contests in Saddleworth & Oldham will be supported by Oldham Council and Saddleworth & Lees District Partnership, whilst Tameside Council has brought on board private sponsorship from 103.6FM Tameside Radio and BMS Motorist Superstore, which safeguards their central prize fund.

With both councils having to make cuts to various services, the support is testament to the importance they place on the Whit Friday contests as a means of helping to promote businesses in the local communities.

Night time music making
Caravan club....

Big Money

As always there is money to be won - with big £1,000 first prizes on offer in the usual contest haunts of Delph, Greenfield, Uppermill and for the first time at Stalybridge Labour Club.

Whilst most of the contests get under way at 4.00pm, bands can register at Diggle from 3.30pm, but cannot start performing until 4.15pm.

Following their success in enticing bands during the quiet period between 8.00pm and 9.30pm, Denshaw is again offering a £100 prize to a band that books during this time and is subsequently drawn out of the hat at the end of the evening.  Keep your eyes peeled for a tv camera crew or two with Carrbrook contest revealing that Blue Peter are due to be filming at the event.

Tweeting

Some of the contests have also taken on board the 21st century world of social networking too, and Twitter updates can be found at @CarrbrookWhitFr, @DBBAwhitfriday, @Denshawcontest, @digglecontest amongst others.

Hola Girls
Braving the elements....

Care on the roads

Oldham Council & Greater Manchester Police have issued a request for bands and coaches to moderate their speed limits around the contests.

Twelve months ago Police were alarmed at the speed some band coaches were manoeuvring between the Saddleworth villages, especially in the vicinity of Brownhill, which is the junction of High Street, Wool Road and Dobcross New Road at Dobcross.

Please keep an eye out for a bobby or two with a speed gun in his hand then....

Traditional start

The day will start with the traditional Processions of Witness in Saddleworth and Mossley at 9.00am, before the band coaches take to the roads later in the afternoon.

Whit Friday
Top dogs....

Heavyweight contenders

 As always, there is the added interest as to who will be out and about.

The reigning Saddleworth Champion, Black Dyke is not defending its title this year, but the word is to keep your eyes peeled for familiar faces joining forces with their friends from Woodfalls under the banner of the SHB Band.

Tunic time

Resplendent in their Whit Friday tunics, Brighouse & Rastrick will be led by Professor David King – as they look to claim plenty of dosh for the coffers – and retain the title they last won in 2011 under the Australian when they played 'Knight Templar'.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire Area Champion, Carlton Main Frickley will be making the journey from South Yorkshire in the hope of boosting their bank balance before a busy second half of the year, whilst rumours are also circulating that Foden’s, Fairey and Leyland will be making a few more raiding trips from their usual haunts in Tameside too.

Two regular prize winners in Hepworth and Marsden will be hoping to bag the cash before they head to Kettering for the Masters on Sunday, as will overseas challenger, Concord Brass, whilst Grimethorpe will not be making an appearance this year.

David Thornton of Brighouse
Thornton's traditional...

Milnrow to celebrate

Grand Shield winners, Milnrow will be celebrating their recent success led by MD Kevin Gibbs, whilst Rothwell and EYMS will be looking to continue the good form shown in Blackpool.

Fairey’s and Foden’s have declared their intention to be out and about, with the 'Double’ champions intent on retaining the Tameside title. 

Fairey will once again have Garry Cutt to lead their challenge, whilst Leyland will be looking to replenish the coffers following the expense of Oslo, under the baton of Andy Warriner.

As always there will be plenty of other top notch contenders, whilst there should be a great array of youth bands (exam timetables permitting) enjoying the experience, as well as a host of scratch bands looking to bag a few quid to pay for the copious amounts of beer they will enjoy as the night progresses!

Overseas challenge

The great news is that as always, there will be plenty of overseas bands this year who will all participate in the morning Walks of Witness.

The Swiss quartet of Brass Band Breitenbach, Brass Band Knutwill, Brass Band Konkordia and Brass Band Matzendorf will be hosted by Phil Beck and will play a concert in Uppermill on the Saturday night, whilst as mentioned, look out for Danish outfit, Concord prior to their Kettering appearance.

As always there will be a familiar array of judges sat in caravans, front rooms and tents, with Simon Kerwin and Allan Ramsay making their debuts whilst Uppermill has announced that Dr Chris Davis OBE has stepped in at late notice to replace David Marshall.

Flying the flag
Welcome overseas visitors...

Be prepared

Both Oldham & Tameside Councils will be aiming to keep road disruption to a minimum but bands are advised to check out any potential obstacles on their proposed routes in advance. 

Results

4BR will aim to publish the results as soon as possible over the weekend including the overall Champions in Saddleworth and Tameside - but please be patient, they take some collating as the hard working people that run the contests will want to enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend too.


Saddleworth & Oldham District Whit Friday Contests:

Area Open Champion: £2,500, 2nd: £1,000, 3rd: £750, Youth: £250
Local Area Champion: £750, 2nd: £600, 3rd: £400

Saddleworth & Oldham Contests are supported in 2013 by Oldham Council and Saddleworth & Lees District Partnership

Delph:
www.delph-whit-friday.co.uk

Contest: 4.15pm - 10.30pm
Main Prize: £1,000 from a total prize fund of £3,915
Adjudicator: Mike Kilroy
Contact: Mr R. Rodgers (01457 874354)

Denshaw:
www.denshawcontest.co.uk

Contest: 4.15pm - 10.45pm
Main Prize: £750 from a total prize fund of £2,790
Adjudicator: A. Holdsworth
Contact: Hugh Broadbent (07795437453)

Diggle:
www.digglebandcontest.co.uk

Contest: 4.15pm - 10.30pm
Main Prize: £800 from a total prize fund of £2,245
Adjudicator: Simon Kerwin
Contact: B. Cliffe (01457 873901)

Dobcross:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.00pm
Main Prize: £750 from a total prize fund of £2,405
Adjudicator: David Horsfield
Contact: A Cockburn (01457 820960)

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: J. Barrett (01457 870612)

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

Greenfield:
Contest:4.30pm - 10.00pm
Main Prize: £1,000 from a total prize fund of £3,880
Adjudicator: Ray Farr
Contact: Frank Rothwell (07581341322)* during the week of the contests only

Grotton:
Contest: 4.00pm - 10.00pm
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £2,015
Adjudicator: Roy Roe
Contact: G. Beverley (07932 747590)

Lydgate:
Contest: 4.30pm -10.30pm
Main Prize: £800 from a total prize fund of £2,715
Adjudicator: Derek Southcott
Contact: L. Bearpak (01457 872566)

Lees & Springhead:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.00pm
Main Prize: £500 from a total prize fund of £1,710
Adjudicator: Alan Fernie
Contact: W. Cullen (0161 6267625)

Scouthead & Austerlands:
Contest: 4.30pm -10.00pm
Main Prize: £800 from a total prize fund of £3,650
Adjudicator: Allan Ramsay
Contact: D. Needham (0161 6520341)

Uppermill:
Contest: 4.00pm - 10.30pm
Main Prize: £1,000 from a total prize fund of £2,860
Adjudicator: Dr Chris Davis OBE
Contact: P Byrne (07703 348755)

Further details:

Further details of the contests at Delph, Denshaw, Friezland, Grotton, Greenfield, Scouthead & Austerlands and Uppermill can be found in the 4BR Classifieds Section.


Tameside Whit Friday contests:

Area Open Champions: £2,500, 2nd: £1,000, 3rd: £750
Local Area Champion: £750, 2nd: £600, 3rd: £400

Tameside Whit Friday Contests are supported in 2013 by 103.6FM Tameside Radio and BMS Motorist Superstore.

Audenshaw:
www.clubbz.com/¬club/¬4633/¬manchester/¬aldwinians_rufc_brass_band_contest_2010

Contest: 4.00pm - 10.30pm
Aldwinians Rugby Club
Main Prize: £700 from a total prize fund of £2,525
Adjudicator: Paul Holland
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: Duncan Beckley
Contact: Robert Frost (0161 3302764)

Carrbrook:
www.carrbrookvillage.users.btopenworld.com/¬band.htm

Contest: 4.30pm - 10.30pm
Carr Rise
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £1,515
Adjudicator: John Davies
Contact: Tony Williams (07792070504)

Denton:
Contest: 4.00pm - 11.15pm
Main Prize: £100 from a total prize fund of £1,275
Adjudicator: Mike 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 £2,300
Adjudicator: Adrian Morris
Contact: George Fairclough (0161 3702811)

Dukinfield:
Contest: 4.45pm - 11.00pm
Tame Valley Hotel
Main Prize: £400 from a total prize fund of £800
Adjudicator: Dave Chapman
Contact: Brian Hill (0161 3390072)

Heyrod:
www.heyrodbandcontest.com

Contest: 4.30pm -10.30pm
John Street
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £1,745
Adjudicator: A. McLaughlin
Contact: Bob Lear (0161 338 2003)

Hurst Village:
Contest: 4.30pm - 11.00pm
Ashton United FC
Main Prize: £300 from a total prize fund of £1,300
Adjudicator: Gareth Pritchard
Contact: Denise Pinder (0161 308 4076, 07785 531221)

Stalybridge:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.30pm
Stalybridge Labour Club
Main Prize: £1,000 from a total prize fund of £2,600
Adjudicator: Paul White
Contact: Councillor's George Roberts & Kevin Welsh (07970456026)

Stalybridge Celtic:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.45pm
Stalybridge Celtic FC
Main Prize: £400 from a total prize fund of 1,250
Adjudicator: C. Evans
Contact: Gordon Greenwood (07770 433336)

Upper Mossley:
Contest: 4.30pm - 10.00pm
Mountain Street
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £1,875
Adjudicator: 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.tamesidebrassbands.org/

Further details:

Further details for the Tameside Contests are available from: 0161 342 4144



Tredegar Town Band - Mussorgsky meets Mozart

Wednesday 20 June • ROYAL BIRMINGHAM CONSERVATOIRE, Birmingham City University, 200 Jennens Rd, Birmingham. B4 7XR


Black Dyke Band - Halifax Choral Society

Saturday 23 June • Victoria Theatre, 2 Fountain St, Halifax HX1 1BP


The Marple Band - The Marple Band presents Music from Musicals

Saturday 23 June • Stockport Grammar School. Buxton Road. Stockport SK2 7AF


Elland Silver Band - Elland Silver Band

Saturday 23 June • Blackley Blackley Church Prospect View Elland HX5 0TD


York Railway Institute Band - Dan Thomas - Euphonium

Saturday 23 June • Central Methodist Church. St Saviourgate. York. YO1 8NQ YO1 8NQ


Torbay Brass Band

June 19 • Torbay Brass Band is looking for trombone and cornet players to join their current set up. We are a friendly hard working group who really would welcome such players into our fold. So if you are looking to join a band or returning to playing....?


Crewe Brass

June 19 • Crewe Brass currently have vacancies for Eb and BBb Bass, Baritone, and Cornet. We are a friendly, social first section band with a good mix of concerts and contests, and rehearse on Monday and Friday evenings in Shavington, Crewe.


Hade Edge Band

June 19 • An opportunity has arisen at Hade Edge Band for an Eb bass player to join our very friendly First Section Band. We rehearse on a Tuesday and Thursday evenings in Hade Edge Band Room, Greave Road, Hade Edge from 8pm to 10pm


John Maines

BA (Hons)
Presenter, compere and conductor