Whit Friday Band Contest

(Post updated 12th of June 2022 to include Greenfield Brass Band contest Results at the end)

The 10th of June 2022 was the first, post Covid, annual Saddleworth Whit Friday Brass Band contest. Held around the several villages of Saddleworth. As a family we traditionally attend Mrs RJR’s home village of Greenfield.

The video below condenses an evening of bands into 4 minutes, just to give you a taste!

The mix of not being held for two years and excellent weather brought out spectators in their hundreds. They lined Chew Valley Road and filled Ladhill Lane park to capacity. The bands too were in abundance, with 68 turning up to compete.

Greenfield band contest 2022
Greenfield band contest 2022
Greenfield band contest 2022

There was added significance to this years contest, as it’s a centenary year. The first Greenfield Quickstep Brass Contest being held on the 9th of June 1922. To mark the occasion a plaque was affixed to the wall!

Greenfield band contest 2022

The contest has had many winners, the two most prolific being Black Dyke Band and Brighouse & Rastrick Band. Perhaps fittingly the two went one after the other in the closing hour.

Greenfield band contest 2022
Previous winners

For those who have never attended, bands from around the country and sometimes further afield gather in the normally sleepy villages of Saddleworth. Each band charters a coach and tours as many contests as they can. There are also contests in Mossley and Tameside. Many roads are closed as the bands play 2 pieces. One whilst marching through the main street. The other gathered in makeshift bandstands. The later judged blind by a panel hidden in a curtained caravan or motor home.

Greenfield band contest 2022
Coaches waiting for their bands

Generally the marching piece is a crowd pleaser. Many bands choosing arrangements of well known songs not normally associated with brass. The second static piece being the more traditional, technically challenging one.

Greenfield band contest 2022
Greenfield elevated bandstand
Greenfield band contest 2022
Greenfield band contest 2022
Signed in bands

Due to the volume of bands there are usually 3 or 4 signed in and waiting to play at anytime. The board above is at the start of the marching piece and the picture was taken about 9pm.

The event is incredibly well organised and billed as “The Greatest Free Show on Earth” and its amazing to consider the standard of entertainment offered at no cost to the audience. Along with music there were various food options, including fish and chips, burgers, scona pizza, cakes, pulled pork muffins to name a few. All provided by local traders. But the best selling refreshment was probably liquid!

Just to make a very British event even more quintessential, there was even cricket !

Greenfield band contest 2022
Greenfield Cricket ground

If you missed the band concert this year there will another June next year. So put the 2nd of June 2023 in your diary. Come enjoy the Saddleworth Whit Friday Band Contest.

Whit Friday

What is Whit Friday?

The day has a cultural significance in North West England, as the date on which the annual Whit Walks are traditionally held. By convention, the Whit Walks coincide with brass band contests, held in Saddleworth, Oldham, Tameside and other outlying areas of Greater Manchester. Traditionally, children and their supporters from Anglican Sunday Schools ‘walked’ on Whit Monday, those from RC Sunday Schools on Whit Friday, and there was an element of competition in general display, dresses and banners. Outside Manchester city centre, other Sunday Schools walked on Whit Sunday and in surrounding towns on other days during (or in the weeks following) Whit Week. This period marked the height of their year’s activities for many local brass bands. Whit Week would be traditional cotton mill shutdowns / holidays.


Update 12/06/22

Greenfield Brass Band Contest Results 2022

The results are in under the direction of Adjudicator Chris Wormald (source)

1. Black Dyke — £1,000
2. Brighouse & Rastrick
3. WFEL Fairey
4. Marsden Silver
5. Chav Brass
6. Milnrow

Best First Section:
1. Marsden Silver
2. Longridge

Best Second Section:
1. Lostock Hall Memorial
2. Diggle

Best Third Section:
1. Rode Hall Silver
2. Wardle Academy Youth

Best Fourth Section:
1. Skeie Brass
2. Penrith Town
3. Littleborough

Best Youth:
1. Wardle Academy Youth
2. Dobcross Youth

Follow RJR Daydreamer on any of these

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