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Risen again
The return of the Whit Friday march contests

Despite the challenges, the ineffable spirit of the Whit Friday march contests will hopefully be revived into joyful, supportive life as the greatest free show on earth returns.


Marching right back...

Perhaps someone should play a march version of ‘Resurgam’  at one of the Whit Friday contests this year.

Thankfully, the most famous brass band event in the world has risen from an enforced Covid-19 comatose interruption, hopefully revived in numerical body as well as ineffable spirit.

It has been one heck of an achievement for those involved – especially the volunteer organisers in Saddleworth & Oldham District and Tameside, many of whom own small businesses or run organisations that have been severely impacted over the last two years or more. 

And if those challenges weren’t enough, they are now holding contests for the benefit of the brass band community against a backdrop of huge increases in running costs and organisational requirements.  


Bob Rodgers is one great stalwart volunteers (centre) of Saddleworth Whit Friday

Remarkable

Given the financial pressures, its remarkable that they have still come up with very generous prize funds (thanks also to the support of Tameside Council and the Friends of Tameside Whit Friday Brass Band Contest Committee and Oldham Council) to battle over and enjoy.

Bands will of course be out looking for injections of contest cash to boost anaemic post-Covid bank balances of their own, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of losing sight of the bigger picture.

It has been one heck of an achievement for those involved – especially the volunteer organisers in Saddleworth & Oldham District and Tameside, many of whom own small businesses or run organisations that have been severely impacted over the last two years or more. 

Sadly a couple of contests in Tameside won't take place this year: The Albion (Dukinfield) has seen a change in ownership, whilst Stalybridge Celtic FC has building work going on in the close season.  Hopefully they will return.

It means that nine contests will take place in Tameside whilst Saddleworth remains at eleven.


The traditions of Whit Friday can still be enjoyed

Adjustments

There will be the usual frustrations of getting to venues due to roadblocks and diversions, (Junction 23 on the M60 will be busy, whilst the popular Stalybridge Street Feast takes place in close proximity to the Stalybridge Labour Club contest), the customary tales of queue-jumping requests and post contest demands to know the results before the last band has packed its instruments into its case.

It would be good to report that the return of the Whit Friday contests has also come with good grace, collective support and post-contest patience. It could make a great deal of difference.

Bands should note though that there have been adjustments to the start and cut-off times for registration at some venues – so any late-night dashes in the hope of trying to blag the old chestnut of ‘do you know who we are?’ will be in vain.  

4BR has been made aware that there are contests across both circuits where volunteers are considering very carefully whether they will continue with their involvement in organising the Whit Friday events. 


The picture postcard areas of Saddleworth provide a great backdrop for a visit

Thanks

It may be better for all concerned if people take a minute or two out of their time to thank the hardiest of souls this year who have made the contests possible (and they have been recognised with a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in Saddleworth) 

Without them where would we be?

It would be good to report that the return of the Whit Friday contests has also come with good grace, collective support and post-contest patience. It could make a great deal of difference.

It's not the end of the world if you have to wait to get your result, so hopefully bands won't pester the local organisers in the early hours of the morning to find out if they have won an extra £50.

It's not the end of the world if you have to wait to get your result, so hopefully bands won't pester the local organisers in the early hours of the morning to find out if they have won an extra £50.

Traditions maintained 

The day will start with the Processions of Witness in Mossley and Saddleworth before the contests commence from 4.00pm.  They are a wonderful reminder of the genesis of the Whit Friday tradition, and in real danger of becoming a mere memory.

It’s always good though to also keep an eye out for the bands keen to make their mark – both in financial as well as musical terms.


Which march will the National Champion perform?

Bands on parade

The Champion Band of Great Britain, and defending Tameside Whit Friday champion, Foden's will be out looking to add yet more titles to its name, whilst Black Dyke makes its return to the Saddleworth circuit (both may cross over to try and sneak a victory on each other’s turf too).

There is sure to be a strong Yorkshire presence from the likes of defending Saddleworth champion Brighouse & Rastrick (resplendent in their Whit Friday uniforms), Grand Shield winners Rothwell Temperance, Hammonds and Hepworth, whilst the Red Rose contingent will see the likes of WFEL Fairey, Leyland and Oldham (Lees) keen to pick up plenty of silverware and cash.

Further afield, British Open qualifiers Northop are making the trip over Offa’s Dyke, whilst Aldbourne makes the long trek up from Wiltshire.  Other UK bands will be making their pilgrimage, as will the welcome overseas visitors from Emmental Brass Band in Switzerland who will also participate in the Walks of Witness in Saddleworth on Friday morning. 

Essential information

Competing bands are reminded that both the Saddleworth and Tameside Whit Friday websites offers valuable information to assist them on the day.

Saddleworth has details and links to all contests, a map of the area and a contact form where bands can submit their details to all the contests before the event. This is not a registration process but will give organisers helpful contact details ahead of time.

To find out more go to: http://www.saddleworthwhitfriday.co.uk

Some contests will also post information on the number of bands waiting to play on the twitter account: @FridayWhit

Delph contest will also be tweeting information on waiting times for bands @dephcontest

In Tameside, the competing bands will notice that the overall prize money distributed in 2019 remains. 

In addition to the overall champion, financial incentives will be available for the highest placed bands who compete at six contests or more in Sections 1 to 4.

Bands and visitors to the contests are advised to check out the new website address which gives the information needed for the various contests in their area.

Go to: http://www.whitfridaybrass.org

Results

4BR will aim to publish the individual results as soon as possible, including the identity of the overall champions in Saddleworth.

In Tameside, whilst the bands will have worked out their placings and winnings, the official announcement will come after the weekend.

4BR will try its best to get all the results through official channels – so just log into us throughout Saturday, Sunday and Monday and all will eventually be revealed.

Malcolm Wood


Venues:

Saddleworth & Oldham District:
Area Open Champion: £2,500, 2nd: £1,000, 3rd: £750, Youth: £250
Local Area Champion: £750, 2nd: £600, 3rd: £400
The Saddleworth & Oldham Contests are supported by Oldham Council

Delph:
http://delphwhitfriday.co.uk/
Contest: 4.00pm -10.30pm (subject to numbers waiting and Police guidance)

Main Prize: £1,000 
Prize Fund: £4,060
Adjudicator: Leigh Baker
Contact: Mr R. Rodgers (01457 874354)
Bands can contact on the night itself (07742230464)
twitter: @delphcontest

Denshaw:
http://www.denshawcontest.co.uk/
Contest: 4.00pm - 10.30pm

Main Prize: £1,000
Prize Fund: £3,690
Adjudicator: Allan Holdsworth
Contact: Andrina Baxter (07920763979)
twitter: @denshawcontest

Diggle:
http://www.digglebandcontest.co.uk
Contest: 4.00pm -10.30pm

Main Prize: £800
Prize Fund: £3,215
Adjudicator: Helen Douthwaite-Teasdale
Contact: B. Cliffe (07703184200)
twitter: @DiggleContest
Facebook: DiggleBandContest
Instagram: digglecontest

Dobcross:
Contest: 4.00pm -10.00pm

Main Prize: £750 
Prize Fund: £2,835
Adjudicator: Brian Rostron

Contact: Gavin Roberts (07877015169)
twitter: @DobcrossWhitFri

Friezland:
Third, Fourth & Youth Sections only
Contest: 4.30pm -10.30pm

Main Prize: £200
Prize Fund: £575
Adjudicator: T. Newbigging
Contact: J. Barrett (01457 870612)

Greenfield:
Registration from: 3.30pm
Contest: 4.00pm -10.00pm

Main Prize: £1,000
Prize Fund: £4,350
Adjudicator: Chris Wormald
Contact: Frank Rothwell (07802938270)

Grotton:
Contest: 4.00pm - 10.00pm

Main Prize: £700
Prize Fund: £2,465
Adjudicator: Christopher Bond
Contact: Anna Oldfieid (07799200454)
twitter: @WhitBrass

Lydgate:
Contest: 4.00pm -10.30pm

Main Prize: £850
Prize Fund: £3,210
Adjudicator: Sam Fisher
Contact: Gordon Beverley (07932 747590

Lees & Springhead:
Contest: 4.30pm -10.00pm

Main Prize: £500
Prize Fund: £1,755
Adjudicator: Alan Fernie
Contact: tbc

Scouthead & Austerlands:
Contest: 4.00pm -11.00pm

Main Prize: £1,000
Prize Fund: £4,700
Adjudicator: Jonathan Pippen

Contact: D. Needham (0161 6520341)

Uppermill:
Contest 4:00pm-10:30pm

Main Prize: £1,000
Prize Fund: £3,500
Adjudicator: David Marshall
Contact: Pam Armstrong (07851 370442)
Facebook: @Uppermillwhitfriday
Twitter: @UppermillWhit2


Tameside

Tameside Area Open Champions: £2,000, 2nd: £1,000, 3rd: £750
Overall First Section: £500
Overall Second Section: £400
Overall Third Section: £350
Overall Fourth Section: £300
Youth: £200, 2nd £100.
Local Area Champion: £750, 2nd: £600, 3rd: £400

The Tameside contests are supported by Tameside Council and the Friends of Tameside Whit Friday Brass Band Contest Committee.

Broadoak:
Contest: 4.30pm -11.00pm

Main Prize: £500 from a total prize fund of £1720
Ashton Rugby Club
Adjudicator: Duncan Beckley
Contact: Graham Hall (0161 339 8341)

Carrbrook:
Contest: 4.00pm -11.00pm

Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £1,555
Carr Rise
Adjudicator: John Davies
Contact: Kathryn Heyes (07760 274 629)
twitter: @CarrbrookWhitFr

Denton:
Contest: 4.15pm -11.45pm

Main Prize: £250 from a total prize fund of £1,255
Adjudicator: Mike Lyons
Contact: Mrs Joan Emery (0161 2925319/07939 383147)
twitter: @DBBAwhitfriday

Droylsden:
Contest: 4.00pm -11.30pm

Main Prize: £500 from a total prize fund of £1,550
The Bush Inn
Adjudicator: Ryan Breen
Contact: Lisa Greenbook (07938 995 316)

Dukinfield (Tame Valley):
Contest: 4.15pm-11.15pm

Main Prize: £400 from a total prize fund of £1,700
Tame Valley Hotel
Adjudicator: Nicholas Garnon
Contact: Sharon McDonald (07834 553 624 )

Heyrod:
http://www.heyrodbandcontest.com
Contest: 4.30pm -11.000pm

Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £2080
John Street
Adjudicator: Matthew Brown
Contact: Colette Shaw (07983 335733)

Hurst Village:
Contest: 4.30pm -10.30pm

Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £2,125
Ashton United FC
Adjudicator: Richie Howard
Contact: Cat Tomlinson (07500830583)

Stalybridge New Labour Club:
Contest: 4.00pm -11.00pm

Main Prize: £400 from a total prize fund of £1,405
Stalybridge New Labour Club
Adjudicator: Paul Norley
Contact: Cllr Sam Gosling ( 07765 766520)

Mossley:
Contest: 5.00pm -10.30pm

Main Prize: £800 from a total prize fund of £2,750
Mountain Street
Adjudicator: Gary Hallas
Contact: Paul Harrison (07876 214425)

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