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Marching into the future
Whit Friday preview

Malcolm Wood looks forward to the atmosphere and action that will be on show around the famous Whit Friday venues in Tameside and Saddleworth this year.

The most famous contest day in the banding world returns as the competitors look to claim a share of the Whit Friday prize money on offer in and around the villages of the Saddleworth and Tameside area.

With the Covid-19 cancellations now hopefully only to be recalled with a fading asterisk in the record books, new memories can now be created as the contests return with bands and supporters making the pilgrimage from across the world.

Friendly atmosphere

There will of course be the usual frustrations and anxieties as competitors look to squeeze their buses up small roads and byways in negotiating temporary diversions and restrictions, but it is hoped that the friendly atmosphere that was on show last year will be maintained in light of very real health and safety considerations.

The outstanding teams of volunteers need the support of the brass banding movement more than ever, their commitment to keeping the various events going a remarkable example of community-led determination (Saddleworth volunteers gained a richly deserved  Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2021). 

The outstanding teams of volunteers need the support of the brass banding movement more than ever, their commitment to keeping the various events going a remarkable example of community-led determination

The prize money on offer at a time when the cold win of financial austerity blows with an icy chill through these areas is also testament to that indefatigable spirit.

Thank you

Taking Whit Friday for granted is no longer an option – the organisation of the event takes a huge commitment as well as a financial risk.  

4BR has been informed that there are contests across both circuits where volunteers are considering very carefully whether they will continue with their involvement, so if you have the chance, a little ‘thank you’ here and there would mean a great deal – as would being patient in waiting for the results. 

Taking Whit Friday for granted is no longer an option – the organisation of the event takes a huge commitment as well as a financial risk.  

Please don’t pester – they will be posted as soon as they are officially collated.

All this and the weather forecast looks pretty good, although things can change quickly. However, if the sun is shining there is no better place to be than on the Whit Friday circuit listening to bands well into the night.  

Sadly, a couple of contests in Tameside won't take place again, with both The Albion (Dukinfield) and Stalybridge Celtic FC no longer part of the circuit. It means that nine contests will take place in Tameside whilst Saddleworth remains at eleven.

Mossley honours stalwart

There is a lovely mix of generosity and remembrance at the Mossley Contest this year in honouring the memory of one of its finest volunteers, Paul Harrison (above).

Any that competes at two contests in Tameside and in Saddleworth will be in with an opportunity of taking an extra £1,000 if they also top the Mossley contest – giving a potential pay out of £2,200.

Paul recently passed away, but in an initiative that would surely have delighted him, the organisers are enticing the Championship Section bands with the opportunity to compete for the 'Paul Harrison Memorial Trophy'.

Any that competes at two contests in Tameside and in Saddleworth will be in with an opportunity of taking an extra £1,000 if they also top the Mossley contest – giving a potential pay out of £2,200.

Adjustments

Bands should also note some contests have made tiny tweaks with changes in adjudicators and overall prize funds, as well as with start and cut-off times for registration and for Child Protection. 

For Saddleworth, bands can have the opportunity to pre-register their interest in attending contests and providing BOPA information. 

https://saddleworthwhitfriday.co.uk/contact-form/?fbclid=IwAR27z90Bx7KZcWEvTn0Dddgqdi5nQ538Uu7rXimsafUQfbvQ9xR8-_FYmOM

Transport and traditions

Whit Friday (3rd June) will also coincide with the second of three days of train strikes. 

However, Northern Trains and Trans Pennne which covers Ashton-under-Lyne, Greenfield, Mossley and Stalybridge will be running a limited service throughout the day.

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 one that is also in danger of becoming a mere memory.

Bands on parade

As always, there will be a great deal of interest as to which bands will be competing. The chase for the honours will be led by defending Saddleworth Champion, Brighouse & Rastrick, whilst Foden’s will once again defend their Tameside title.

With no Yorkshire Champion, Black Dyke, nor French Open bound Hammonds on show, the chase will surely be led by the likes of regular Whit Friday contenders such as WFEL Fairy, Rothwell and Hepworth, as well as the returning Grimethorpe (first time since 2012).

With no Yorkshire Champion, Black Dyke, nor French Open bound Hammonds on show, the chase will surely be led by the likes of regular Whit Friday contenders such as WFEL Fairy, Rothwell and Hepworth, as well as the returning Grimethorpe (first time since 2012).

There are some big hitters coming from further afield too – including the welcome overseas contingent.

Watch out for GUS Band and Welsh champion Tredegar who are making their long-awaited debuts, whilst Aldbourne, Amersham, Friary, Northop, Ratby and many more will look to catch the ear of the judges.

There is also Australian representation with Tanunda Town Band,  whilst the Swiss flag will be flying with MF Oberburg and MG Oberwil and the Norwegian one with Kleppe Mussiklaag and Mosjøen Hornmusikk.

The highly respected banding entrepreneur, Phil Beck will be hosting and looking after some of the overseas challengers and they'll appear in concerts on the run up to Whit Friday and over the weekend.

Essential information

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

In Tameside, the competing bands will notice that the overall prize money distributed in 2019 and 2022 remains.

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




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: £4,500
Adjudicator: Leigh Baker
Contact: Bob Rodgers (07843082582)
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: £3,140
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: Stephen Tighe
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: tbc

Lees & Springhead:

Contest: 4.30pm -10.00pm
Main Prize: £500
Prize Fund: £1,755
Adjudicator: Alan Fernie
Contact: Barbara Beeley 07890948976 or 07951125570
Twitter: @leesbandcontest

Scouthead & Austerlands:

Contest: 4.00pm -11.00pm
Main Prize: £1,000
Prize Fund: £4,710
Adjudicator: Jonathan Pippen
Contact: D. Needham (0161 6520341)
Email: scoutheadbandcontest@gmail.com

Uppermill:

Contest 4:00pm-10:30pm
Main Prize: £1,000
Prize Fund: £4,275
Adjudicator: Benjamin Richeton
Contact: Pam Armstrong (07851 370442)
Facebook: @Uppermillwhitfriday
Twitter: @UppermillWhit2


Tameside:

Area Open Champion: £2,000, 2nd: £1,000, 3rd: £750
Overall: First Section: £500; Second Section: £400: Third Section: £350: Fourth Section: £300
Local Area Champion: £750, 2nd: £600, 3rd: £400

Further details can be found at: https://www.whitfridaybrass.org/

Broadoak:

First Registration Time: 4.00pm
Contest Start Time: 4.30pm
Last Band Registration: 10.30pm
Contest Closure Time: 11.00
Contest Secretary: Graham Hall
Secretary Contact: 0161 339 8341
Contest Adjudicator: Duncan Beckley
Prize Fund: £1,700
First Prize: £500

Carrbrook:

First Band Registration Time: 4.00pm
Contest Start Time: 4.00pm
Last Band Registration: 10.30pm
Contest Closure Time: 11.00pm
Contest Secretary: Kathryn Heyes
Secretary Contact: 07760 274 629
Email: heyes.kathryn@gmail.com
Contest Adjudicator: John Davies
Prize Fund: £1,585
First Prize: £600

Denton:

First Registration Time: 3.45pm
Contest Start Time: 4.00pm
Last Band Registration: 11.15pm
Contest Closure Time: 11.45pm
Contest Secretary: Joan Emery
Secretary Contact: 0161 292 5319
Secretary Email: joan.emery1957@gmail.com
Contest Adjudicator: Gareth Pritchard
Prize Fund: £1,345
First Prize: £250

Droylsden:

First Registration Time: 3.45pm
Contest Start Time: 4.00pm
Last Band Registration: 11.00pm
Contest Closure Time: 11.30pm
Contest Secretary: Lisa Greenbrook
Secretary Contact: 07938 995 316
Secretary Email: lisaoshea@rocketmail.com
Contest Adjudicator: Chris Evans
Prize Fund: £1,280
First Prize: £350

Dukinfield Tame Valley:

First Registration Time: 4.00pm
Contest Start Time: 4.15pm
Last Band Registration: 11.00pm
Contest Closure Time: 11.15pm
Contest Secretary: Gary Mcdonald
Secretary Contact: 07912 569 365
Secretary Email: garymac17@yahoo.com
Contest Adjudicator: Nicholas Garman
Prize Fund: £1,700
First Prize: £400

Heyrod:

First Registration Time: 4.00pm
Contest Start Time: 4.30pm
Last Registration Time: 10.55pm
Contest Closure Time: 11.00pm
Contest Secretary: Natalie McEvoy
Secretary Contact: Natalielmcevoy@googlemail.com
Contest Adjudicator: Matthew Brown
Prize Fund: £2,080
First Prize: £600

Hurst Village:

First Band Registration Time: 4.15pm
Contest Start Time: 4.30pm
Last Band Registration: 10.15pm
Contest Closure Time: 10.30pm
Contest Secretary: Cat Tomlinson
Secretary Contact: 07500 830583
Secretary Email: cat.tomlinson@hotmail.co.uk
Contest Adjudicator: Jack Capstaff
Prize Fund: £2,125
First Prize: £600

The New Stalybridge Labour Club:

First Registration Time: 4.15pm
Contest Start Time: 4.30pm
Contest Closure Time: 11.00pm
Last Band Registration: 10.45pm
Contest Secretary: Franchesca Elliott
Secretary Contact: New Stalybridge labour Club, Acres Lane, Stalybridge SK15 2JR
Email: newstalybridgelabourclub@gmail.com, Tel: 07392 060982
Contest Adjudicator: Paul Norley
Prize Fund: £1,405
First Prize: £400

Top Mossley:

First Band Registration Time: 4.30pm
Contest Start Time: 5.00pm
Last Band Registration: 11.00pm
Contest Closure Time: 11.45pm
Contest Secretary: Mrs Sandra Holland
Secretary Contact: 0753 080 6977
Secretary Email: s.holland24@hotmail.com
Contest Adjudicator: Gary Hallas
Prize Fund: £4,515
First Prize: £1,200

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