I spent the best part of last Friday in the lovely Lancashire area of Tameside, where our band were taking part in the traditional Whit Friday Marches contest. For the uninitiated this happens every year (on Whit Friday, natch) and involves many dozens of Britain’s brass bands descending on Tameside and Saddleworth. Each band is required to march down to a contest stage playing one march before playing a contest march to an adjudicator.
This might sound really old fashioned, and it is, but it’s still very well attended. Many, many bands attend every year and all of the villages that host a contest have to put up with hundreds of hungry, thirsty bandsmen and their supporters. It’s a great event.
We started at about 4:30 at the Stalybridge Celtic football ground before ending up in the village of Denton at about 10:30. We’d played at 8 different contests during the day and we only got rained on during the last two!
If you’re ever in the area during Whit Friday then you really should check it out. You won’t find anything quite like this anywhere else.
We played the contest march Mephistopheles (by Shipley Douglas). Here’s a video of the (sadly now defunct) Rochdale Band playing the same march back in 1986: