Saturday, 18 June 2011

Whit Friday 2011

"Whit Friday, meaning White Friday, is the name given to the first Friday after Pentecost or Whitsun (White Sunday). The day has a cultural significance in northern 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, Tameside and other outlying areas of Greater Manchester." source

Or in other words a "reet good nite out".  It has become a family tradition that we attend the band contests in the village of my "in-laws" Greenfield. Greenfield being one of the several villages in Saddleworth. Each of the others with wonderful names such as Diggle, Delph and Dobcross all hold their own, but I doubt they are as good ! So since I have known Mrs RJR I have sat at the side of the road and watched the bands. I reckon this is 20 something years now. 


How it works... Bands from all around the North, sometimes from other parts of the country and even other nations, do lots of practice, then hire a coach. On Whit Friday the villages hold contests and offer prize money. The bands drive around as many villages as they can fit in and enter as many competitions as possible. A good band with a good driver can fit in 8 or more villages between the opening at 4pm and closing at around 11pm. Along with the bands come thousands of visitors who boost the village economy ! Copious amounts of burgers chips and beer are bought and consumed.

Now despite all my years experience I'm not a brass band expert, I just go for the family fun. You will notice that things are little casual, not much in the way of crowd control. When you have younger sibling-in-laws or children of your own, you spend most of the night marching down the road with them (its not physically possible to walk you subconsciously start to march)



The walk down the closed street, is followed by the band playing a set piece in the village park, which is judged by a team of "village experts" who sit in a caravan with the curtains closed, so as not to be influenced by appearance. (A little strange to be fair)


Of course this all makes a little more sense when seen, rather than talked about so just for you this year I spent  the evening with a camera !! Of course all the family knew why ... "is this for today's blog" was the oft asked question.

I haven't added captions to embarrass but several family members will spot themselves including Mrs RJR who with her sister and friend couldn't help having a march !! The bands vary from those who take it very seriously to those who are quite a novelty act, you choose which are which !!! 

Admission is free so you get a full evenings fun, 60+ bands, all for the cost of a bag of chips, a burger, several bottles of pop, a bag of candy floss, chocolate, a pot of olives... You get the picture, I have three kids so my hand was in my pocket all night !
So here with no further waffle, but apologies for the sound quality, I present some of the bands from Greenfield 2011...


The clip that got away...



3 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like a blast! I used to be one of those band geeks here in the US.

Tracy said...

Wow, that looks like a great time! I myself, love Brass Bands so I bet you had a ball!
thanks so much for sharing!

mybabyjohn said...

And a good time was had by all....now you can nurse that hand with the "pocket burn" .

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