Traveller's tales

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Whit Friday in Saddleworth

On Whit Friday, after the church processions and the children's activities in the playing fields in Uppermill's 'backmeadow', the brass bands begin to arrive - by coach - up to about 50 of them, adding to the general congestion of the streets, roads, squares, and crossroads of Saddleworth.

Brass band concerts - about 14 of them, though I couldn't name them all for you, and a few are just outside the boundaries, start up ar 4.30pm and go on until the conductors can't see enough of their music to conduct.

Famous names - Brighouse and Raistrick, Black Dyke Mills, Grimethorpe and local ones, Mossley Silver Prize Band, Boarshurst Band, Dobcross Band, and lots and lots of school bands, Mossley Hollins School, Count Hill Grammar School - all competing for prizemoney, and the prestige gained from winning at a Saddleworth brass band concert.

Grand tunes, some heard over and over again - the popular ones - Sentator, Mephistopheles, Knight Templar - good old marching favourites for this night of nights for band chaps and huge audiences of people, young and not so young, enjoying the greatest free night's entertainment the north has to offer.

Try to get to it this year - you will enjoy it, and you'll meet old friends who you haven't seen since last Whit Friday.

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