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Band contests pull in the crowds despite the poor weather

Bands marching through Uppermill Square - Photo Stuart Littleford

The Saddleworth Whit Friday band contests saw large crowds turnout yesterday despite the miserable weather conditions.

Kilngreen procession walking through Uppermill - Photo Stuart Littleford

A procession of bands and church congregations marched into Uppermill before lunchtime, finishing in the village park for hymns and sermons.

The evening band contests saw a record number of bands taking part at Diggle and Denshaw this year.

A full list of all the contest results can be found on

The were no reports of any serious incidents during the event.


  • Lee Orton says:

    “no reports of serious incidents”

    Really? So that doesn’t include the appalling drunken behaviour, shouting, screaming, bottle throwing, kids thrown into police vans and the couple having sex in our garden then?

    It was a shameful Saturday night in Uppermill

  • editor says:

    Sorry to hear this but the police have not mentioned anything.

  • There were a few arrested – drunk & disorderly, and one drugs related offence. A number of others were given ‘directions to leave’. There were a couple of minor street fights in Uppermill but very quickly contained by police. Most problems were alcohol related.

    The the professional and volunteer stewarding teams did a great job assisted by the OMBC First Response staff and their operational control room.

    Numbers were well down but the weather did not help.

  • Clifford says:

    Lee…do you really class shouting and screaming as ‘serious incidents’? IF so, you should probably never leave the house. It’s a tough world out there.

  • Adi says:

    Lee Orton, that’s nothing new for Saddleworth, all you have to do is go to the Bridalway in Greenfield to see people quite openly engaging in sex, with or without booze.

  • Lee Orton says:

    Ian, you’re right, the stewarding team did a great job considering the problems they were facing. We went to a few villages and all of them, except Uppermill, we’re lovely peaceful events, particularly Dobcross.

    Going forward I believe there is a simple solution; the organisers just have to make Uppermill an Alcohol Free Zone. It works regularly up and down the country in trouble-hit boozy towns on a Saturday night, so there’s a good precedent.

    Uppermill would be easy to manage too with one exit in and one exit out. Ban alcohol on the street, ask the co-op not to sell it and bag search everyone coming in and out of the village. Most of the pubs only serve 25+ anyway, so this combination would eliminate all the teenage drinking and bad behaviour and give the event back to the people who enjoy it; brass bands, followers and local residents.

    If action like this isn’t implemented in the next year or so, I imagine the police will withdraw services, just like they did with the Beer Walk in 2010, and then we’ll all be left with a very difficult decision whether to fund policing ourselves or close the event down.

    Nip it in the bud now, I say, and let the brass band festival live on peacefully

  • Emma says:

    i feel dead sorry for the young girls who seem to come off worse with all that drinking and stuff i had to help one girl whod passed out in front of my front door on lee street + people just walked past her + I dont think its unreasonable to be annoyed about fighting and aggro, i had a drink in the Waggon at 8pm and already all the band watchers had fled except one old lady on a chair in front of the DIY shop, and the place was just drunk kids causing bother – i guess thats ok if you like that sort of thing but I reckon it ruins the day god knows wot it would have been like if the sun was out!

  • Steve says:

    This is why it’s about time Saddleworth
    joined the 21st century and stopped these
    ridiculous events. The dirge of Brass Band
    music is horrific and the closing of roads
    around the area preventing people going
    about their business is nothing short of
    scandalous. The sooner the over stretched
    Police force withdraw their support from this
    event the better. I do not pay towards Police
    funding for them to be used on these outdated

  • Emma says:

    A bit harsh Steve, I like the bands and think they should continue for as long as people want them, it’s just the drunk kids and scallies that annoy everyone 😉

  • Elaine says:

    Someone else saying an old tradition should be stopped because of the idiots spoiling it for everyone. Surely once a year of people working hard with the brass bands practising etc is not a great deal of inconvenience like I said before its the idiots who spoil it all. Steve you say you do not pay for the the police to be used on the outdated events, I dont like football, how many times and how many police do you need for these events?

  • Elaine says:

    I also must add to my previous comments how much inconvenience do football matches cause? closures of road etc., but on saying all this I dont think other peoples pleasure should be curtailed because I dont like football.

  • james airey says:

    steve if you dont like it! move!!!!!!! cos there are a few thousand people who love it!
    and out of date???? think your the one whos out of date!!! just saying

  • Steve says:

    Elaine, to answer your question, football clubs
    pay towards policing and football matches
    brings vast revenues into local areas on
    a regular basis. Not that I completely
    disagree with you concerning waste of
    Police resource. This band event is
    outdated and major inconvenience for most
    so that a few people who never listen to
    brass bands from one year to the next can
    pretend to like the music. How long would
    It last if the bands actually paid for the

  • Adi says:

    Steve, it sounds to me like you’re a ‘mover inner’. If this is the case, embrace this little bit of individual culture, if this is not the case however, I’m sure Marsden would be all to happy to receive your revenue.

  • Roger Herbert says:

    This was the first time that I had attended the event in 13 yrs.Spent the morning in Uppermill to watch the procession with my wife & inlaws & they have not stopped talking about the wonderful atmosphere although it rained.The evening spent in Delph was superb & then to to top it off The concert given in the Civic Hall by the three Swiss bands was also superb.Everywhere we went throughout our 3 day stay people seem to be connected with brass bands.It is worth all the effort put in by everyone & we will never forget a wonderful experience.Well done Saddleworth Contest Bands & organisers

  • Ray says:

    The band contest is a very old event dating back to the 1800s and maybe Steve should have researched this before buying a house in the area Saddleworth has its own heritage if you live in this area you have to accept its events and ways which are truly unique
    This event attracts bands from all over the world and is something positive for young people to be involved in.
    Brass bands are a preferred taste I can listen to it once a year and drink in a unique atmosphere which attracts thousands of people providing much needed revenue into the areas businesses.
    It is difficult to Marshall and I personally thought all the police, volunteers and organisers worked hard until the early hours of the morning to ensure the safety of everyone attending the band contest.
    The last i heard there were only 13 arrests out of thousands attending this speaks volumes for all the stewards Marshalls and local authorities who managed the whole event.

  • Nicola says:

    Next you’ll be saying “cancel Christmas” because that is outdated, the shops close for a WHOLE day and it’s just an excuse for people who are not religious to go to church one day in the year and pretend to be ….. or maybe you wont because you benefit from Christmas but don’t benefit from the Band contest …. makes for an interesting opinion of yours!

  • Charlie Garth says:

    Despite the inclement weather, I thought this year’s Whit Friday Brass Band contest in Delph and the other Saddleworth villages was a marvellous spectacle. I watched the processions during the morning in Uppermill and did not see anybody drunk, fighting or having sex – although there was a tramp attached himself to one of the parades. But what a pity, in these days of multi-culturism, that there was hardly a brown or black face to be seen. No doubt this is because African, West Indian and Asian cultures don’t really embrace our brass band tradition. Therefore might it not be a good idea in future years to drop the “brass” and just make it the Whit Friday Band Contest? That way there could be Caribbean steel bands, Asian pipe bands, Mexican mariachi bands and perhaps even Scottish fife and drum bands. Just think of the fun such an “inclusive” event would be for everybody.

  • maureen lees says:

    IT is the first time in 75yrs my husband missed Whit friday this was because he lost his brther and sister in law in a matter of weeks. Whit friday is a special time for family to get together and to enjoy a free show. You have to pay a fortune to see B
    Black Dyke and Brigg house nomaly. So well done to Saddleworth and Greenfield
    Maureen Lees

  • Barbara Hodgson says:

    This is primarily a Christian event. Whit Friday being a day of Christian witness. Each church with its own band or bands to lead the individual procession. The contest is an add on which has been and hopefully will be enjoyed for year to come, each church this year had its own marshals who did a tremendous job. The speaker at the ecumenical service this year was wonderful. Long may this outward sign of Christian witness continue.

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