Saddleworth tunes up for Whit Friday Band Contest

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 13 June 2019

Saddleworth is gearing up for the “the greatest free show on earth” on Friday.

The day - come prepared for a long one - begins when proud villagers and bands turn the traditional Whit Friday walks into a theatre of joy.

Uppermill will be thronged by happy parishioners and young children following their banners to King George V playing fields for the annual United service merging hymn-singing and prayers at 11a.m.

Reverend Doctor Janet Wootton, President of the Congregational Federation, will give the address and clergy from the other churches play their part in the uplifting event before the congregation returns to their respective villages.

In the afternoon and evening, the villages welcome the expected battalion of brass bands.

More than a hundred, some from overseas, participated last year playing in twenty different locations with contests open to all-comers.

Each contest, run by volunteers, offers prizes for the best band, best youth band, best soloists, and you could expect to hear more than 50 bands at busier venues.

Winners are announced shortly after close (10.30 pm or 11.30pm, though most popular contests can go into the early hours).

Brighouse and Rastrick brass band performing in the Whit Friday brass band contest at Grotton..

Traffic and parking restrictions are imposed by OMBC in the immediate vicinity of each contest site where necessary, as well as road closures and diversions to allow the concerts and marches to take place.

@ Contests will be held at:

Delph 4.15pm-10.30pm

Denshaw 4pm-10.30pm

Dobcross 4pm-10pm

Friezland 4.30pm-10.30pm

Greenfield 4pm-10pm

Grotton 4pm-10pm

Lees and Springhead 4.30pm-10pm

Lydgate 4pm-10.30pm

Scouthead and Austerlands 4.15pm-11pm

Uppermill 4pm-10.30pm

@ Public Transport: 

The only railway station is Greenfield. There are train services from Manchester Victoria and from Huddersfield - half-hourly in the early evening but only hourly for a late evening return. 

The station is about mid-way between the Uppermill and Friezland contests - about 1/2 mile from each.

@ Bus services from Manchester and Oldham are:

Contest                       Bus Services

Greenacres                180, 184, X84

Lees                           180, 184, X84

Lydgate                      180, 184, X84

Friezland                    180 (5 min), 184 (5 min), X84 (5 min), 350, 353

Greenfield                  180, 184, X84, 350, 353

Uppermill                   180, 184, X84, 350, 353, 354

Dobcross                   180, 184, X84, 350, 354

Delph                         82, X84, 350, 353, 354

Denshaw                   351, 354, 407

Diggle                        184, 354

Scouthead                 82, 350

More information:  for contests go online to:

@ For details of road closures and travel information during the Whit Walks and Band Contests, check Oldham Council’s website:


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