Events in Oldham

Saddleworth Whit Friday Band Contest

05 July 2020

Sunday 05 July 2020

Saddleworth Villages


"The Greatest Free Show On Earth" Is back for 2020! The ever popular Saddleworth Whit Friday Band Contest is back. 

Last year a total of 119 Brass Bands took part!

The tradition dates back to 1884 and is a series of individual contests which take place over thirteen of the eleven Saddleworth villages: Delph, Denshwaw, Diggle, Dobcross, Friezland, Greenfield, Grotton, Lees & Springhead, Lydgate, Scouthead and Austerlands and Uppermill. 

The contest is held with such prestige that Brass Bands from all over the world travel to Saddleworth in order take part in the contest! The contest attracts thousands of visitors who come to spectate and support the competitors. The contest is open to all kinds of Brass Bands including local bands, youth bands, international bands and military bands. They can even compete again some world famous bands such as Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Damdyke, Brighouse & Rastrick and Lydgate Brass Band.  

There is prize money to be won so each band usually tries to take part in each competition and then races for the bus to the next village after being rounded up by the stressed leader unless they have time for a very quick beer!!

The event usually runs from 4pm until 10.30pm with the villages closed to much of the traffic. However parking is still very bad. It is best to arrange alternative transport. 

The morning of the Band Contest is dedicated to the Whit Walks in which the local Churches and Schools march through the Saddleworth villages with banners accompanied by bands.  Many of the roads are closed between 9am and 12.30pm.

The roads are open then for a short while after then will close around 3.30pm in preperation for the Band Contest.

Entry fee: FREE ENTRY

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