Whit Friday


Whit Friday Contests – 20th May 2016


Tameside Overall Local Prizes

What constitutes a local band differs across the borough, but Tameside’s Local Prizes must to be allocated to a band which resides within 6 miles radius of Ashton Town Hall Steps. This was ratified by The Friends of Tameside Whit Friday Brass Band Contest in 2013.

Individual Contests – Total Prize Money

Main Prizes : £5,050 Total Prizes : £17,340

Tameside Whit Friday Open Champions

Main Prize : £2,500 Total Prizes : £6,300

Tameside Youth Champions

Main Prize: £200 Total Prize: £300


Total Prizes in Tameside

Main Prize : £7,750 Total Prizes : £23,600

Future contests:

9th June 2017

Brass Bands across the Country are fine tuning their assets in preparation for next year’s Whit Friday Brass Band Contest, the Contest, dubbed ‘the greatest free show on earth!’ attracts thousands of people to Tameside to enjoy brass band music of the highest calibre.

Each committee contributes towards awards of almost £15,000. Coupled with £6000 prize money from Tameside Council, over £21,000 is up for grabs in the Borough.

To be in line to win the prestigious ‘Tameside Whit Friday Champions’ title, bands have to perform at six of the eleven contest’s. So, not only does it test the band’s musical prowess, it also tests their discipline, stamina and organisational skills, with bands constantly on the move in their quest for the Whit Friday crown.

Please be aware there will be a number of road closures in place on the evening, including the closure of Broadoak Road between its junction with Ladbroke Road and Waterloo Road.

For more information about the event contact the Arts and Events team at the Council on (0161) 342 4144.

Details of individual contests can be found on the venue pages of this website.


The Whit Friday Brass Band Contests

Whit Friday is going to be a difficult time for some contests this year. Please see the News page.

Often described as ‘the greatest free show on Earth’, the Saddleworth & District Whit Friday Brass Band Contests take place every year on the afternoon and evening of Whit Friday – 20th May in 2016.

Lydgate Band 2008

From the earliest recorded contest in 1884, the event has grown in popularity. Last year well over a hundred brass bands participated in some twenty different contests at venues scattered around the moorland villages and towns on the western edge of the Pennines. All of the contests are open-air, many in delightful surroundings. The area has a very strong tradition of brass band music. In the weeks before Whit Friday, the sounds of rehearsals echo across the hillsides from the various band rooms and village halls. There are thriving bands in some of the tiniest villages. And the best bands are world class.

The contests are open to all-comers. So the local youth bands get to match their skills against the top bands of the country. For bandsmen, the dash from contest to contest makes for an exhilarating (though exhausting) evening. See the comments in the guest book. This is a major event in the brass band calendar and bands travel the length of the country to participate, some even turning up from overseas.

Rochdale Borough Youth 2010

Contests typically start at about 4.30pm. Bands play two pieces (marches), one on the march and then their well-rehearsed show-piece on whatever passes for a rostrum. Each performance is scored ‘blind’ by an adjudicator, hidden in some adjacent darkened room or caravan.

Each contest offers prizes for the best band, best youth band, best soloists etc. At one of the busier venues, you could expect to hear over 50 bands, before the winners are announced shortly after close (10.30 pm or 11.30pm, though the most popular contests can go on well into the early hours).

It is possible to look in at several contests during the evening. But with over 100 bus-loads of bandsmen about, with many of the roads closed to traffic and the inevitable parking problems, it pays not to be over-ambitious. (Seeone way restrictions.)

Each contest is organised by local volunteers. All the running costs and prize money are raised by local donations and through fund-raising events. Most provide refreshments. Helpers are always needed on the night. If you can spare a couple of hours at any of the contests, please email.

Each contest sets its own rules. Bands are required to play a published march, an unmarked copy of which should be handed to the Contest Steward on arrival at the signing-on point. Normally, no more than 25 players may play the contest piece, plus the conductor.

On the morning of Whit Friday, the traditional Whit Walks take place. Dobcross contest have introduced a Henry Livings memorial prize, open to bands who have played on any of the morning’s walks. Sadly the very enjoyable Beer Walk, which was organised by the local Round Table, no longer takes place on the day following the band contests.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s